October 12, 2013- I hit the trail as soon as i woke up this morning since I had to head home today to accomplish some stuff. I decided to head out to some new trails I have never done at Ludington (even i am surprised i havent ran them all yet, over the years). The one on my mind starts at the base of the dunes, takes you to the backside of Hamlin Lake, and I assumed just made a big loop back to the start. At least thats what the map said.
Let the run begin.
I hit the sandy trail and followed it as it rolled over some shallow dunes. I quickly found myself running along the river, up to the dam, and to the backside of Hamlin Lake, just as planned. I climbed some very steep hills to make it to the trail on top of the ridge, where I could see nearly all of Hamlin Lake as I ran along. The color on the trees is near perfect right now, and they were reflecting off the glassy water below to create a stunning view. leaves fell gently around me, and this was undoubtedly one of those moments that makes you think “this is why I run.” I followed the ridge trail around Hamlin for another mile, and it quickly turned to go back toward the woods. There were a few spots where the trail got very thin, but I followed along, because, what the heck, why not. Eventually, I lost the trail completely. No GPS watch to backtrack, and it turned out I had been following my imaginative trail for a little while because I couldn’t find it! I knew that I wasn’t hopelessly lost, but still, I had 4oz of water left, and I wanted to get back.
I stood there and listened. I could hear the waves of lake Michigan very faintly. I knew if i ran that way, I would make it back to M116 and have anywhere between 1 and 10 miles back to the campground. I started to run in that direction. Not much later I came to a large hill. I climbed it and found myself on top of a dune, with a little tiny dune on top of itself, if that makes sense. I continued to the top to attempt to get a view of where I was. Upon cresting the hill- I knew. Ahead of me was roughly 2 miles of dune and sawgrass in every direction. But hey! M116 was there as well! *sighhh*
I stood there and contemplated what i was about to do, and did it. It was the worst hill workout ive probably ever done. It took me half an hour to make it to the highway, and I was running in saw grass the whole time. My knees looked like i put them in a blender, and I could have started a sandbox business with everything I poured out of my shoes over the two miles. I ran out of water by the time I reached M116. Luckily, I was about a mile and a half from the campground when I found it, so that made life a bit better.
I got back to the camper, took in some coconut water, bananas, and a big bowl of greek yogurt to recover.
It was quite an adventure, and I loved every second of it. Even the part where I ran through saw grass. It’s a life experience and it’s what I love doing. I just wish I had more water so I could have got a bit more lost 😉