Sometimes having a Friday off is a real treat, even if it does mean I have to work on the weekend. Everyone else is at work, and you kind of feel like you're playing hookey out on the town. Or, in my case, since I don't like going into town, it means having the trails all to myself.
I packed up my awesome hydration pack, the Ultimate Direction Wasp, and headed out toward the Arb with camera in my front pocket and plenty of GU gels to keep me going. I promised myself that I'd just run to enjoy myself, no specific workout or distance or time required. I planned on going for anywhere from 10-15 miles, however my legs felt, and snapping some shots of my favorite local trails along the way.
Started things off in the Arb, where the trails were slick from the snow and rain, but those conditions produced this atmospheric fog that made the place seem alive with magic.
The Arb is chock full of hills, and though they aren't long, after a couple loops your legs begin to feel that incessant pounding of constant ups and downs.
I finally started listening to the audiobook of Born to Run by McDougall, and though I have some major issues with his writing and a few of his claims in this book, I loved hearing him talk about Ann Trason, the legendary ultrarunner, and her philosophy that distance running is all about getting to know yourself. That's what this run felt like.
Love that green of the valley floor all year round.
If you click on the Fairy Woods pic, you can see the mini troll and fairy huts that kids have build near the base of these pines.
Eventually I'd run all the best trails at the Arb, so I decided to explore Cedar Bend park, the oldest in Ann Arbor, and I discovered some new trails and some wicked hills. These trails haven't been maintained much in recent years, so everything feels really raw and old, which it is.
Not many people want to run or hike on trails along ravines or up washed out trails, so it's also the most empty park I run in. In essence, it's everything I want in a park: tough, steep trails, near to my house, with no one else out there.
This ravine goes straight down to the Huron River, and in the Winter you get these incredible views of the very bend in the park's name.
Cedar Bend used to have a road through it, but that's been closed for decades, so now it's become a wide loose stone path (not pictured) that meets a dead end road with trails coming off it. I was up on this road, looking back into history when suddenly I realized I was 10-20 feet from this group of deer. So, naturally, I took some pictures of them, afterward realizing I'd invaded one deer's privacy as she was relieving herself. D'oh!
It was a great day, topped off by a stop at Leslie Science Center, where I chatted with this Peregrine falcon in one of the outdoor cages.