Move over Lake Fork Trail. There is a new kid in town. Favorite trail that is. Discovered during a recent adventure to Glacier National Park. Specific location listed as classified! This new trail? Nothing short of a breathtaking surreal trail running experience.
Picture this – a dense forest canopy high overhead created by ancient cedar trees – where little sunlight pokes through this seemingly impenetrable roof. If a ray of sunlight stole past and landed on the forest floor it was only for a brief minute before being escorted skyward. Moist underbrush comprised of green ferns adorned the single track trail laden with a carpet of soft fallen pine needles cushioning each step. A little up a little down. A few short curves a few long curves. Total silence. Nothing seemed to move while on this run except for my feet striking the soft trail. With predators in the area (read grizzly bears and mountain lions) senses are on high alert. Quite an exhilarating run.
Just a few years ago while hiking in the same area my then 14 year old daughter read the landscape perfectly and exclaimed “this could be Middle-earth”! She was right. Her connection to J.R.R.Tolkien (The Hobbitt, The Lord of the Rings) and his adventures with Mr. Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship, Elves and Dwarves came to life. Ever since that day I have always wanted to return for a trail run. And during the summer of 2012 I got that chance. I went out with two other daughters (while camping there) for an early morning training run on my new favorite trail.
Early morning temperature – cool. Humidity – moderate for that area. Mist – rising from the forest floor wet with moisture from a late evening thunder storm. Water droplets hung on the edge of the ferns and when bumped by your legs created its own miniature rain storm cascading downward. The forest smells – unique to this mix of old growth cedars. This small piece of the Crown Jewel (GNP) is a world all to itself. What was most amazing was the seemingly lack of energy required as you cruised through 5 – 6 – 7 miles in another world. Trail traffic? None. Effortless? Not quite but close. Easy? Yes – to the point the run ended way too prematurely.
Got a favorite trail run? Then get out there! Winter is coming. Enjoy the time spent moving it down the trail amidst early fall colors.
If you go – don’t rush time while in this forest. Even if your legs beg you to. Slow down – and you might just hear Legolas, Gimli or Aragorn chasing orcs. Or meet an Ent. I am already excited about a 2013 return trip. Or two.
Until next time – enjoy the run!