"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- WOW-- What a Ride!"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fall Virtual Trail Tour - North Ottawa Dunes

Welcome to another installment of the Fall Virtual Trail Tour.  This week I visited the North Ottawa Dunes county park in Ottawa County, Michigan.  I couldn't have asked for a better day.  The sun was shining and the temperature was about 45 degrees.  For late November in Michigan that was fantastic.

North Ottawa Dunes consists of very old sand dunes and quite a few blowouts.  A blowout is where the wind has carved a bowl out of a sand dune.  If you zoom into the map below you can read about the dune system.  It is a pretty unique place to run.

The trail surface is sand.  The sand varied from packed as hard as concrete to the consistency of flour, but it was all sand.  These trails are not very technical in nature.  There were a few tree roots to deal with and no rocks.  This would be a really good place for the barefoot runners as the surface was nice and soft for the most part.

I ran about 8 miles which included a couple of side trips to the beach and running a little in Hoffmaster State Park to the north.  Behind the dunes there was no wind.  As I would break between the dunes or climb to the top the wind was blowing pretty hard.  I'm surprised there were no surfers in Lake Michigan.  The surf was definitely up and the lake was roaring.  The one thing I could hear the entire time was the roar of the waves from the beach.

The map

Steps going up the back of a blowout
The view from the top of the blowout.  The building below is a bath house on the beach.

Leaf covered trail behind a dune

Ferns!  In late November!

The trail snaking through the trees along the top of a dune

Crossing into the state park

Cowabunga!  Surf's Up!

I love runs that end in views like this


Rose (Hacker Half Marathon) said...

What a beautiful route!

Life as a Convert (Khourt) said...

Totally cool! Ive never seen real ferns in the wild... Only in pots on porches lol

Mallory said...

What a beautiful place to run!!

Jen said...

What a beautiful spot to run. Just full of awesomeness. Thanks for sharing.

Angela said...

Wow! Beautiful scenery, not sure I could handle that terrain, though.