Thursday, April 15, 2010

Home Trails


Why it's taken me so long to "discover" Battle Creek as a running resource eludes me completely. Thirteen or so years ago I was struggling on my hands and knees with a chain saw for months, 10-hr days, cutting and removing invasive shrub and tree species in this park as part of a restoration effort. The bluffs were challenging then and they remain so. Only now, the challenge is linking the while mountain bike trail section with no walking on the hills. After two runs, a 12 and an 8 miler, I'm not there yet, but I figure 3-4 more trips should get me there.
This a a wonderful area and a nice primer for attemtping to run the entirety (all hills) at Afton SP's 25K loop. It's track is mostly single width and you can add on as much wide, casual, yet still plenty hilly, cross country ski trail to add distance. It's difficulty is somewhere between Afton and Highland park, making it challenging, but doable.
I LOVE having such resources right in my back yard (oK, 10 minutes away)! I once read that the best trails are those right at home. I'm beginning to see why.


  1. I didn't know Battle Creek had such a good network of dirt trails...and for 4 years I lived a few blocks south of it. I will admit though that as a woman, I would be a bit leery of running there by myself. One night I was heading south on McKnight past the park and saw at least 8 cop cars on the east side alone pointing their cars into the park...I never did find out what happened. Life seems easier for guys in some're less vulnerable for predatory reasons. Have fun in your new playground!

  2. Hey NJ,

    I have heard similar comments from several of my women running and climbing partners and it is truly unfortunate.

    I did see a few women, not running, mind you, but out for a stroll, some with dogs, some without. I'm not a woman so can't be tuned into everything you are when considering an area to run. However, I think if you found a partner or have a dog and went a couple times you could evaluate the safety level when considering a solo run. Either way, with a partner or if/when comfort dictates, solo, I'd highly encourage you give it a go. There's wide open cross country trail and narrow, challenging single track that shouldn't be missed. A really nice area to warm up to the hills of Afton while harder than Lebanon Hills or Highland Park.

    Let me know if you make it out there!

  3. Shawn, I'll definitely be checking those trails out once I'm back running again. Hopefully, that'll only be a few more weeks. Thanks for the tip! Namaste!