One of my all time favorite activities is trail running. I love being out in the open, exploring new trails and running in new
to me places. Last year, I missed out on my post-Chicago Marathon, fall trail running because my foot was rehabbing and I was just starting to run again. I did go to new trails last fall but made sure they were only ones which had hard surfaces. Pavement and asphalt preferably, in order to provide stability for my foot/ankle. This year I am healthy and READY TO RUN some amazing trails!
First up, Bullfrog Lake & Pulaski Woods in Willow Springs, IL at 95th and Wolf Road. The Bullfrog Challenge is at Bullfrog Lake each October and they have an awesome map, which I added below. They also have a Facebook page HERE.
One of my favorite things about trail running is the sense of exploration that I feel when I’m out. I feel like a kid, carefree, lost in the moment and excited. I’m ready to run anywhere the trail will take me without any concern for pace or distance. It’s more about the experience than the “workout” or the miles.
In my giddy excitement, I just hit the trail as soon as I saw it and run straight UP the single track! True single track. I had to fight a few fat tire bikes for some space.
I was so excited to run the single track that I neglected to run the entire way around the lake. So I missed what was labeled as the “steep hill” just south of Archer Avenue. Yes, I’m actually sad about this because I went to find the hills and I expected more! Way more!!
The Bullfrog Lake Trail is part of a much larger network within the Palos Trail System in Cook County, IL. Once I ran up the single track and away from the lake, I immediately stumbled on the bigger network of wider, groomed & well marked trails.
In order to
not get lost be consistent, we stayed left at each “fork” in the trail. That’s my trail running buddy, Don F at one of the first decision points intersections.
I’m used to trails like those at Swallow Cliff where one trail will transverse many miles. However, Pulaski Woods had a lot of different color coded trails and they kept changing. Each fork in the road brought in a new trail. I did have the map and everything was super easy to follow but the “left by default” theory made it very easy to find the way back to the car!
Best Trail Running tip that I can offer? Don’t get lost. Have a system. Stick to it. If there is one discernable trail which you can follow, do it. Carry a map. Don’t freak out. Better yet, go with a friend who knows the area.
The Bullfrog Lake & Pulaski Woods area was beautiful. Nicely groomed and well marked trails. Soft but firm surface of packed dirt and some stone. Light traffic which was on foot, horseback & mountain/fat tire bikes. A few bathrooms but only in the parking/recreation areas. No trash cans, so if you pack it in, pack it out! A few hills but nothing too crazy
that I stumbled across. The weather was perfectly cool and crisp and the sun was shining. I’d definitely go back and be a bit more adventurous with some of the other trails now that I have the area somewhat mapped out in my head! Go give it a try and let me know what YOU think!
** I Love Trail Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **