Plum Creek Greenway Trail

After attending the reopening ceremony at Goodenow Grove in Crete, IL and getting a peak at the new Plum Creek Greenway Trail, we were very anxious to go back to run the entire trail.  Since my young partners are in the midst of a very successful Cross Country season, I didn’t want them to run the out and back (3.08 miles each way) so enlisted Hubby’s help to drop us at the far end, near the turnaround.  This way we could run the full length without having to double the mileage with a return trip.  Here is the map of Goodenow Grove, the Plum Creek Greenway Trail is marked in orange.

Goodenow Grove Map_2012The northeastern portion of the trail crosses Bemes Road about a quarter mile from the actual turnaround, it was very easy for hubby to drop us at that point.  As with most new trails, it does great things for the community and I noticed that Bemes Road now has shiny new asphalt which is a major change from the bumpy, rough, mess of potholes it was a year ago and is well marked in regards to the terrain and the approaching trail.  It was super easy to find!

There is no parking at the trail crossing at Bemes Road and it is very rural with most of the traffic being residential.  We basically just jumped out of the car and took off running while hubby & Michael went to the other end to wait for us at the trailhead parking lot on Goodenow Road.  I think he said it took him about 6 minutes to drive to the other end, going the back way, very slowly on our country roads.

Since trail running is an adventure for us, we did run the quarter mile up to the turnaround to officially begin our journey.  And yes, it was a journey.  The girls were squealing with delight almost immediately and were constantly remarking about the “pure awesomeness” of the trail.  To be honest, although I have ran many a trail in my run life, I too was very excited.  The weather was absolutely perfect, with a bit of chill in the air, a light misty rain which managed to stop just as we hit the trail and beauty everywhere we looked.  There were lots of bridges too and I love bridges!

Goodenow Grove_kids run to bridge_9-21-12          Goodenow Grove_kids hug on bridge_9-21-12

 Goodenow Grove_kids bridge_9-21-12         

Twists and turns to keep things interesting:

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The trail was well marked and there was never really a question as to which way we should go, we just followed the gravel.  Once in the main section of the park, there are a few shorter paved trails but its quite obviously that those trails are not part of the Plum Creek Greenway Trail.

We saw bathrooms at 3 locations along the route, the first at the campground, the second by the Plum Creek Nature Center, and the last one was at the last curve heading into the straight away toward the parking area at Goodenow Road.  Although we could see all of these bathrooms, they were not right on trail and would require a short walk/jog to reach them.

The trail is still soft and will be much easier to maneuver as it gets packed down.  We definitely took home kicked up some minute crushed gravel pieces.  There was also evidence of recent horse traffic left behind in the gravel.  Since the gravel isn’t packed tightly at this point, the horse did leave some decent divots that we had to avoid but overall it was an amazing run and we look forward to returning.  Here is the straightaway to the Goodenow Road parking area:

Goodenow Grove_straightway by parking_9-21-12  

Sara, Aby and I running out of the woods:   Goodenow Grove_coming out of woods_9-21-12

Great trail, definitely worth making the trip to Crete, IL to enjoy this newest running/biking trail.  Hope to see you out there!

** Happy Trail Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

Breaking New Trails – Goodenow Grove

I love finding new trails to run.  One of the ways to keep running fresh, exciting and NOT let it feel like a job is to frequently change things up.   Running a new trail is an adventure.  When I take the kids, they think we are exploring and they are right!  We are exploring!  So if your run routine has become stagnant, go somewhere new to run this weekend.  Yes, you may need to step out of your comfort zone get into your car and drive there but it will be worth it!  Go, explore!

This last weekend, the kids and I went exploring at Goodenow Grove in Crete, IL.  This Will County Forest Preserve has been closed for an entire year as they revamped the nature center and cut new trails.  The main attraction for the kids is always the massive hill that they can run and/or roll up and down. 

Goodenow Grove_kids on hill_9-15-12

The main attraction for the runner in me was the new Plum Creek Greenway Trail.

Goodenow Grove_Plum Creek Greenway_9-15-12

This new trail begins on Goodenow Road, just west of the Dutton Road access and is 3.06 miles in length (one way) as it weaves thru the Grove and ends just north of Bemes Road.   The new trail is crushed limestone and very soft at this point since it hasn’t yet had the weather and traffic to pack it down.  The kids and I absolutely LOVED this trail. 

Goodenow Grove_kids run away_9-15-12

I couldn’t even keep up with the kids as they excitedly raced ahead to see what was beyond the “next” curve.  I was constantly calling them back and stressing, particularly to Aby and her friend Sara, that they had already ran hard that day at a local Cross Country Invite and they needed to walk.  They didn’t care or listen, just kept running.  Begging me to go further. 

Aby, Sara & Michael at one point running back to me.  Yes, Aby even runs in flip flops.  And Michael runs everywhere particularly when he has the opportunity to chase pretty girls.

Goodenow Grove_kids run_9-15-12

I think its a sign of a good trail when you can’t get the kids to go back to the car.  The terrain was soft, had lots of open area with wild grasses and flowers, shaded wooded areas, lots of curves and a few hills to give it variety.  There were also spots not too far off trail in the main section, near the Nature Center where water and bathrooms were available. 

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I think I’ll be heading back this weekend to run the entire length of the trail with the girls.   I’m anxious to cover the entirety of the trail and the girls begged me to take them back.  I’ll have a more in depth post with a map since I lost mine soon but I just wanted to put this new trail on your radar because who doesn’t want to try a cool new trail that is close to home? 

Where are you running this weekend?

** Happy Trail Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz