Saturday, December 8, 2007

West Branch Trail Run

Jamie, Jeff, Bob and I
Last night my sister told me that her and my brother were planning on going for a trail run at West Branch State Park this morning. So I decided to join them, especially since the weather forecast for Sunday and the rest of the week shows a mix of rain, sleet, and snow with highs in the upper 30s... yuck!

Shortly after waking up I gave Bob a call and left him a voice message. I figured he was probably still sleeping but would just wait and see if he would happen to show up at West Branch. Sure enough he was there at the parking lot ready to go! The weather today made for a great winter run. Started off cloudy around the freezing mark but then eventually the clouds broke free and we enjoyed some peeks of sun.
At the beginning of the run I stopped to practice writing my name in the snow in preparation of the URINEO 50 Miler, which will take place next Saturday the 15th.

Today we were planning on running the approx. 10 mile loop that goes counter-clockwise through the woods and then circles back to the lake and eventually back to where we started. The beginning of the run starts out on a flat, grassy path that is wide enough for about 2-3 people. Upon entering the woods you then have a couple expert mountain bike trails to pick from. These sections are highly technical (as you can see from the picture below), especially when there are leaves or snow covering them.

Continuing on our run we then came across the infamous "Toilet Bowl Trail" which is one of the many trails established here by CAMBA, a local mountain bike association. My sister decided to pose for the camera this time. Brrrr... that seat looks cold!

About midway into the run you come across a very scenic portion of the trail that includes a stream crossing and some pretty neat rock shelves down in the valley.

A view of the trail before we make fresh tracks

Around this area there were also a lot of long sturdy vines to play around on. Here's a picture of Jeff up in a tree and a video of Bob bouncing around like a monkey...

A little bit later we were on a trail that we weren't sure where it went. Eventually it looked like we could see the Michael Kirwan lake, which is near where we parked, but it ended up being a very large open field with some farming. As we got close to the backyard of someone's house we decided to turn around and head back to the trail we were originally on. These last 3-4 miles of trails back to the car always seem to last forever since there are so many switchbacks. Just when you can see your destination and feel like you are close, you head back into the trail for some more. Today was a tough day of running with all the fresh snow on the ground but definitely a good strength builder for the legs.

Getting close to the finish

Snow Angel

Jeff busting a move to Rod Stewart

On the way back home I stopped on the bridge to take this photo of the lake...

What a great day of running and a good week overall of running for me. Earlier in the week Bob and I started our neighborhood runs again that we used to do when I lived at my parent's house in Warren. Basically its a 5-6 mile road run through the Warren park system that we hope to do at least once or twice a week to keep ourselves training during the winter months. On Wednesday our N.E. Ohio Trail Club had its monthly group night run in which we travel off trail, climbing up hills and sliding back down them. That was a solid 3 hour effort and my body was still feeling the effects on Friday. I made it a point though to get over to my apartment's fitness center the next day to bike 10 miles and walk for a half hour to keep up the training. Then today's run which capped things off. Tomorrow I'll probably take a day off, but then get back at it on Monday.


Maria said...

OMG! Your pictures are fantastic! It looks like you have such a good time on your runs ☺

Good luck next weekend!

Brian said...

We have a blast! You should join us sometime!

Thanks.. Each loop of the course is 8 miles and you can do however many you wish. More details can be found at

Mike said...

Now Jeff dancing, that is funny, I don't care who you are! That looked like a good day to run.

Rob "Buckeye" Powell said...

Great post! Loved it.

Kim said...

ACCCK!!! That sure looked like Laurel Highlands out there!!!

Brian said...

Kim - I know, brings back memories huh?