Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve Trail Run

Me, Jim, my brother Jeff, and Heath

This morning Jim and his son Heath picked up my brother at my parent's house in Warren and drove over to meet me at the Happy Days parking lot in the Cuyahoga Valley for a trail run at 7:30 AM. When I got to the parking lot about 5-10 minutes early I noticed they were there which surprised me. It was already getting pretty light outside even though the official sunrise time wasn't until 7:50. This was going to be a good day to run as the temperature was around the freezing mark and the skies were clear for the first time in I don't how long.

After getting our clothing and gear ready we headed out onto the trail behind the Happy Days Visitor Center. I knew I was going to get a good workout in today since all 3 speedsters were present. We took off at a pretty quick pace but luckily we were headed to the hills over by the ledges which would slow everyone down some. At the first intersection we took a right and followed the trail with the ledges on the left side of us. These rock cliffs are steep and pretty awesome looking. At the next turn we made a right and started heading to the Kendall Lake area. However, when we reached the intersection at the Pine Grove trail we took the trail to the right and eventually continued over to explore the trails at the Boy Scout camp - Camp Manatoc. While searching for the camp website I also came across a mountain bike race and event that I didn't even know existed. It's called "The Big Valley Race" and it features clinics, group rides, open riding, races, a swap meet, demo test rides, and the chance to win over $8,000 in bike swag. Pretty cool stuff...
On our way to the Boy Scout camp Jim was looking around at the valley we were running by and noticed all the sweet drainages that existed. So before you knew it we were off-piste and climbing up hills and sliding down them. Here is a photo that I took at the top of one of the tougher hills we did. You can see the stream that passes through this area...

Once we were done playing around in this area we then headed over to the trails near Camp Manatoc which I don't think we've done much running in before. These trails, which I assume are maintained by Boy Scouts, were marked with small yellow, orange, and blue markers. Click Here for a great map of the area. We were pleasantly surprised by how cool these trails were. They're not the most groomed trails like the ones that the Cuyahoga Valley takes care of, but they're pretty good and pass through some neat places. As we got closer to the boy scout camp the trail followed along a high ridge that overlooked a small lake near the camp. The views here were pretty sweet, especially with the sun getting higher...

As we ran downhill towards the lake we came across a couple Indian totem poles. I believe that these are some of the same ones that my friend Mike ran into on his "Indian Run", which you can read about if you click here and scroll towards the bottom.

Everyone admiring Chief Wahoo

Is this guy choking himself ? (notice the hand on the bottom)

Cool picture of us by the lake

Looking across to the other side of the lake we noticed something that looked like Thomas the Tank Engine so we decided to run over there and check it out. As we got closer we noticed it was some kind of gas tanker that was next to a big army truck.

Thomas the Tank Engine on drugs

From here we went back to the trail that runs along the high ridge by the lake and then followed the boy scout trails back to the Pine Grove trail. We then crossed over Truxell Rd. and made our way over to the Kendall Hills area. We went up and down a few steep hills and then turned around to head back to our cars the same way we came. At this point everyone was pretty tired and we were happy when we finally made it back. Our total mileage for the run according to my GPS watch was 13 miles.

Hope everyone has a Happy New Year and enjoys some Cristal tonight!!


Kim said...

Good run! I like the silhouette pic! You're going to be up there with the master pitcher taker soon!

Anonymous said...

Awesome! I want to go run all those trails at Camp Butler now! We should meet at the Kendall Lake parking lot and try to run all those trails in one run!

Brian said...

Kim - Thanks..I am the master picture taker!

Mike - I like the idea! We'd probably have to bring that map though to make sure we completed all of the trails.