Saturday, January 19, 2008

Kendall Lake to Rt. 303

This weekend was forecasted to be a very cold one. Today the high temperature was only going to be around 20 and tomorrow it was only going up to around 10. So, my brother and I figured we'd pick the lesser of the two evils and get our run in today. We wanted to start our run from somewhere where we don't usually begin, so we headed over to Kendall Lake in the Cuyahoga Valley and began our run at 1pm.

When we started running we weren't really sure where we wanted to run to or how far we wanted to go, but a lot of times that is the best part of our sport... not knowing what exactly may happen but always knowing that it will be a great time! As soon as we left the Kendall Lake parking lot and crossed over Truxell Rd./Kendall Park Rd. to head onto the trail Jeff stopped abruptly and pointed out a deer that was pretty close to us on the hill. This was the exact same spot where I had a very close encounter with Bambi on a run last August with my friend Derek - Click Here to read about it.

So... at this point we decided to head off trail to see how close we could get to the deer. This one was a lot smarter than the one I saw last year though and it took off in a hurry. Once Jeff and I got to the top of the hill we looked over to our left and spotted another 3 or 4 deer running through the woods. This was when my brother decided to label this "The Deer Run". His blog post can be read here.

From this point on we decided to see just how many deer we could spot as we ran along Camp Manatoc's trail system. The last time we ran these trails was with Jim Harris and his son Heath on New Year's Eve - Click Here to read about it. That was a very fun run, being able to explore new trails that we hadn't been on before, and we were looking forward to exploring a little bit more today. I think for the most part these trails are marked with little colored markers on the trees. The ones we ran on today were the yellow, red, and orange sections. To view a complete map of this area - click here.

These trails take you through some nice valleys with beautiful views from the top when the leaves are down. Check out the slideshow at the bottom of this post for more pictures. We weren't really sure where the trails that we were on today were going to take us, but we were having such a good time that we figured eventually we'd run into a major road or landmark and we could find our way back. It wasn't long before we reached Lake Okchanya which is near Rt. 303 and the main entrance to the Boy Scout camp. After we left the camp we paid homage to Chief Wahoo and then decided to run a short section of Rt. 303 until we reached the Happy Days Visitor Center.

Once at the visitor center we then followed the trail up to the ledges and then took the trail over to the overlook before making our way back to our car at Kendall Lake. We really ran the last mile or so pretty hard since it is primarily downhill once you reach the top of the ledges. I will never complain about a downhill finish! Back at the car we hurried to put on some warm clothes and then headed over to Tequilla Pancho's next to Rt. 303 and Rt. 8 for some mexican food. It's a great restaurant to check out if you're ever in the area. Today's mileage - 6

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