I have done lots of running in the Kettle Moraine Southern Unit. Scuppernong and Lapham State Parks are only 15 to 20 minutes from my house. The Nordic ski trails are about a 35 minute drive. I've logged many miles on those trails, and the Ice Age Trail from Whitewater Lake to Scuppernong.
Saturday, Aug 15th was my first trip to the Northern Unit. The Glacial Trail 50K/50M takes place in this neck of the woods on October 11, 2009, and I am considering the 50K. So, I wanted to check it out at least once before it's time to sign up.
I plan my route to start at the Greenbush picnic area, which is just south and west of Plymouth, WI, about an hour and a half from home.
I talked my friend Dennis in to joining me for this excursion. We left my house just after 5am, took only 1 wrong turn, and arrived at the picnic area, and started running just before 7am. We headed south on the Ice Age Trail.
Though we were treated to great scenery, this turned out to be a fairly lousy run. Let me put this in perspective... you've all seen the bumper stickers that say "A bad day fishing is still better than a good day at the office." Same is true for me and running. I can have a lousy run, but still enjoy the excursion. First of all, I always enjoy running with Dennis. Second, putting in 20+ miles on a trail is always a good way to start a day.
The run was brutal. The temperature was hot. The Ice Age Trail through the Northern Unit is more rugged than the Southern Unit. The horseflies were out in force. I thought they were supposed to be gone by mid-August, but apparently, they disagreed. Parts of the trail were over taken by raspberry bushes that were as high as my head. Lots of rocks and roots took their toll on ankles and ability to stay vertical, causing contact with body and ground.
We got to our turn-around point, and I was just ready to be done. Too bad we were about 11.5 miles from the car. We were both pretty spent. So, we had our gu's and headed back for more of the same abuse.
Our return trip took about 20 minutes longer than our outbound trip. I finished feeling quite humbled. We enjoyed cheeseburgers at Culver's on the way back, and compared our war wounds - swollen ankles, scrapes from raspberry bushes, recovering toenail injuries.
Looking forward to going back and doing it again. But hopefully without the horseflies.