Trail Monday: Minnesota River Bluffs Trail

Today, I had the odd combination of needing to do both my trail run and my long run.  I considered various options.  It seemed highly unlikely that I'd run around the Pike Island loop three times.  It'd rained last night so both Baker and Elm Creek seemed unlikely candidates.  I had strongly considered the Lake Minnetonka LRT Trail but there is way too much construction between me and the trail head to make that viable. I settled on an old favorite, The Minnesota River Bluffs Trail

Trail: It's a dirt trail, but long enough to get in a full 10 miles.  It's paved right at the beginning and then again near the bridge up/over 62.  The rest is beautiful packed crushed limestone.  I've been on the trail several times, and am getting more and more familiar with it.  My favorite parts are around the lakes which are always quite scenic.

Hills: The only real hill of note is the one leading up to the overpass over 62.  I walked up on the out and the back, mostly in honor of keeping my heart rate low but also as an excuse to eat and take a drink.  Yes, miracle of miracles, I packed food and water today.

Ease of Running: I almost feel bad calling this a "trail run" because it's not nearly as dramatic nor technical as where I typically go.  It's a crushed limestone trail on what I assume to be an old railroad bed.  This trail has the distinction of being my first foray into running on a non-paved surface.

Animals: There were some birds, no deer.  There was a dead frog.  When I see frog road kill on the bike bath, I tend to blame the frog and not the biker.  This path is actually unusual for the number of people I see when I'm on it.  There were a few runners and loads of bikers.

Will I come back? I've missed this trail and it was nice to be on it again.  This is actually a great trail for winter running because it's so nicely cleared.  The horse trails turn into snow mobile trails and I assume they are off limits to hikers.  Logistically it's a bit different now for me to come here.  I used to come some days after work but my territory has changed slightly so I don't get down to Hopkins anymore.  In addition, all of the roads between me and this trail head seem to be closed, bridges out, under construction, etc.  It took me a while but I was able to work out a back roads way of coming and going, so the fall and winter running here is looking positive.

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