Ice, Snow, and Adrenaline

Sunday I went out for a trail run along the Grand River. I figured I would get a final run in before the river starts its typical springtime flooding, and all the trails go underwater. I lucked out; the river needs to rise about 3 more inches to swallow up the lower trails, which I am guessing will happen whenever we have the next warm day. (knowing Michigan though, we may never)

I took the trailhead entrance about one mile, where, as predicted  the trail was already underwater. The small footbridge that crosses a stream was gone, and the surrounding area had at least a foot of ice and water covering it. I backtracked and too the high trail around, and then dropped back to the lower trail to see what was left of it. I came to another stream (there are four total) that was flooded. I really wanted to complete the stretch of trails and end up at the other end, which ends at a park, but I had to find a way around all the ice.

The normal trail had packed snow on top of it (about a foot) that resulted from a winter of skiing, snowshoeing, and running on it. This packed snow has since became like ice, and it lay on top of other ice, with water underneath. I found some long sticks or branches, and, while walking on the 8-12 inch wide trail, used the sticks to spear through the ice to give me a balance point and to make sure I wasn’t over anything too deep. When I got to where the actual stream bed was, which is now about 4 feet deep, I found a downed tree and crossed using that, again, with the sticks.

I repeated this process twice more, and once used a vine on a tree on the side of the river to climb up from the bank. At worst, I stepped in icy mud, but had no issues with water. It was an adrenaline packed run/hike for sure. Ultimately, I made it to the park, and ran the roads back to make for 8 miles.

Later that evening I went on a sunset run for about 5 more miles. I went on the dirt roads and ran into the sunset on a street named “Bliss”, which I thought seemed appropriate for the “blissful” sunset run I was on.

See you on the trails-

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