Today was a picture perfect day, and I threw on the trail shoes to go seek out some adventure. I was able to run the road (again, finally) to the start of the trails, which follow the banks of the Grand River. My plan was to start at what is dubbed as “Crew Hill”, take the trails into the ravines, and find my way along the bank to the covered bridge at a park 2 miles away. Normally, in the summer, the route takes 20 minutes to do. The trail goes up the sides of some very steep ravines, and along the tops of some ridges, with the Grand River below. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Crew Hill plowed, at least as of recent. I planned on running into snow, but it saved me a lot of time getting to the trailhead. Once the trail started, I was able to hop on top of snowshoe prints for the first quarter mile until they disappeared completely, going off on a fork in the trail. It was just my own tracks to be made from that point on, and I decided it would be like making my own “passage” to the North Ravines park.
I soon found myself trekking through snow past my knees. I was no longer able to run, so embraced the scenery and accepted the task as an adventure hike. I’ll make a quick shout out to Dirty Girl Gaiters here- I recently ordered some snow gaiters for running from them. I didn’t have a flake of snow even think of getting in my shoes the entire time. At 20 bucks, they are a solid deal and come in tons of designs as well. – Back on topic- I came to a stream crossing about a mile into all of this. I was unsure of how thick the ice was, so went and snapped some sizeable branches off from a downed tree. After spending time trying to jam the branch through the ice, I figured it was thick enough, and decided to make a leap of faith across. I broke off a few smaller ones to use as icepicks, just in case, although I know from experience the water would be no deeper than mid-thigh if the worst would happen. Nothing happened. I made it haha. Those same sticks-turned-icepicks helped me make it up the side of the ravine I was at the base of. Again, in summer, it is a steep, yet do-able climb. Today, the snowdrifts were stomach high, and I had to jam the sticks ahead of me and pull myself up the hill to get to the top. It was a heck of a workout up the hill. I did this twice. Going down the sides of the ravines was much simpler- like sledding, but with your body.
After 50 minutes of trekking, I saw the covered bridge. I had covered a mere 2 miles in this time, but it was a fun bit of adventure, and the weather was perfect to get a little lost in the woods. After getting topside of the ravines at the park, I followed a cross country ski trail out of the woods and back to the trailhead at North Ravines. I took the asphalt back home, not wanting to have to use myself as a snowplow back the way I came.
My total run came to 6 miles, taking an hour and twenty minutes. I’ve never had to fight snow like that on my runs, but I had a blast doing it. I find adventure to be what drives me to get out of bed in the morning; its what I’m made of.
See you on the trails-