Pokagon State Park–Trail Running

Trail running can be intimidating but it doesn’t need to be scary if you know what to expect.  I’ve ran the trails at Pokagon State Park multiples times now and have found it to have some of the best trails in Northeastern Indiana.  Why?  The trails are accessible year round.  There are a variety of trails from easy to hard, with varying surface types.  All  trails are short and within close proximity to a road, or the Pottawatomi Inn.  Trails are well groomed and wide enough to run with a friend.  Best of all, the trails are marked well.

Hells Pt_sign

And if weren’t paying attention to the last couple of signs, then look at the “You Are Here” maps,  or notes/maps on particular points of interest, which are scattered throughout the trail system.

Hells Pt_map

Pokagon is a place you can go with your family for hiking, swimming, camping or horseback riding.  Or you can run for fun or even train for a marathon or ultra.  It’s good for short distance runners AND long distance folks.  I’m particularly excited to get Aby and some of her Cross Country friends up there this summer!  

I usually park at the Potawatomi Inn and start on one of the trails which begin at “The Inn”.   If it’s dark, I run on the roads within the park until the sun comes up.  Got a great pic last weekend of some of the holiday lights.


At this time of year, there is little traffic in the early mornings.  It’s a good time to tour the campgrounds, roads and paved trails while there isn’t too much hoopla.   Bathrooms are still open but lacking toilet tissue.  There will be a few scattered campers and park workers moving about in their vehicles.  And the Inn will always have guests who are coming and going. You will not be alone. 

The two trails which are easiest to connect with are those which lead to/from the Pottawatomi Inn.  Trails 1 & 3.  Trail 1 is easy to find by going down by the beach and it picks up to the side of the playground.  A nice easy trail that is in the woods with views of Lake James and some of the houses which surround the water. 

trail 1_start      trail 1

Good trail for beginners or seasoned trails runners.  A couple hills but nothing scary.  If you have a young Cross Country runner, or a new 4 legged friend to train, this would be the perfect trail developing an excitement about trail running while still keep everyone close to people, park roads and The Inn.  Well traveled trail.  Bonus, if non-running family members want to go with you to the park, they can play on the beach and playground while you take a short trail run.  Big win for everyone!!  Trail 1 & 3 highlighted in yellow below.


Trail 3 starts in the parking lot of the Potawatomi Inn, in the Northeast corner.  You can park your car and be on the trail in 30 seconds.  In my opinion, Trail 3 is the heartbeat of the entire trail system at Pokagon.  You can access every trail in the Park, plus the Beechwood Nature Preserve loop via #3.  If you ever get lost, run towards 3 and you’ll eventually start seeing signs for The Inn which is why I suggest you park your car there.  The trail starts in the woods, runs across some wetlands with a few cute bridges with benches for sitting.  Great trail, not too technical. 

trail 3_metrail 3  trail 3_benchestrail 3_benches2

Then #3 leads wherever your heart desires, just check the map and go!!  Since most of the trails are loops, if you have a long run to do, you can run most of the trails without backtracking or even thinking too much about what to do, or where to go.  I see a sign for a trail, I just take it.  It generally loops me back to the trail I was standing on when I saw the sign.  Super easy trail system, I promise!!

Hardest Trail  – #9.  This trail takes you up, Up, UP and eventually overlooks Interstate 69 before going back down to reconnect with Trail #3.

trail 9  trail 9_interstate 69

Point of Interest – Hell’s Point, on Trail #3.  I expected it to be harder to get to with a name like Hell’s Point but it wasn’t too difficult, just follow the signs and run the trail.  Fun set of stairs and a nice view from the lookout!

Hells Pt Hells Pt_look out

Hidden gem – Beechwood Preserve Loop, which is not part of Pokagon but accessible from Trail 8.  Lots of wildlife.  Short loop which is good for walkers.  Super secret parking lot off of 127 to access this area and make it a family friendly adventure (no strollers).  Even has a half loop sign if you want a shorter route.  One big hill if you do the full loop.  Yeah, I walked that hill!  Smile

Beechwood loop_off trail 8

Easiest Trail – #7.  Grassy loop with a nice view of a wetland.  Lots of water fowl in this area.  Benches everywhere to sit and rest or watch the wildlife.

trail 7

Biggest attraction:  Toboggan Slides.  Open from the Friday after Thanksgiving thru February.  Yes, I’ll be taking the kids.  Looks super fun and slides pick up speed of 35-40 mph.  Sounds terrifying and exhilarating!  Image source


Pokagon State Park is amazing, go check it out cuz I know you’ll love it as much as me!  It offers over 1200 acres of fun from water activities to hiking and trail runs.  Great fun for the entire family!

** I’ll See YOU On The Trail ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

Spring Fever…. already?

As the we countdown to the end of the year, it is also a countdown for early bird registration to a lot of major spring races.  And while spring means spring cleaning, sweet weather, budding flowers & March Madness to some, as a runner, we are thinking about our race calendar.  Specifically, do we schedule a spring marathon or not?  Normally, I would be coming off an amazing fall racing season so the answer for me would be NOT.  However, 2012, while absolutely amazing, was not so amazing on the running/racing front.  Therefore, I too am stalking the spring marathon calendar.   And I found one. 


The Lansing Marathon.  April 21, 2013.  Multiple events:  5K, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay, Kids Race and Marathon.  Charity component:  Lansing Moves the World Foundation.  Close to Chicago, Ft Wayne & Indy.

More details to come but before you get swept away in registering for something this weekend before the possible price jump, take a look at the Lansing Marathon.  That’s where I’ll be and I’d love to see a few of you there too!

More details to come.  A free entry & prize pack to the Lansing Marathon is also on its way.  Hmmm…..maybe I’ll see you in Lansing this spring?


** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

1st Annual ENHS Alumni Fun Run

This weekend was one which myself and a few of my high school alums have been looking toward to for quite some time.  We planned our very first Alumni Fun Run!  Ironically, those of us in the planning department were all out of towners so we erroneously scheduled it during the local spring break, which “possibly” attributed to poor turnout.  Those of us who did show up came quite a way to make an appearance.  Steven (AL), David (IN), Jenny (OH), Adella (IN), Melissa (Indianapolis, IN), Me (IL).

Thankfully, Jenny was one of the planners which brought her two brother and father or we would have been very low on numbers!  Family Photo:  Steven, Dad, David & Jenny.

Thanks Dad for cheering us on for this fun run just like you used to during our cross country and track days.   Your support was much appreciated then and also today!

The day was perfectly overcast with temps in the low 40s and very high spirits.  Jenny, Adella & I arrived a little early to mark the course.  We chose the Bixler Lake Trail in Kendallville, IN because that is where we went to high school and well, that was our only option.  It was a 3.5 mile loop with a few hills but mostly flat.  Approximately one mile was thru the woods on the south side of Bixler, then the rest thru the park and around the lake for a return to our starting point.

Adella kindly took a picture of my ass me marking the trail.

The big hill was very root heavy.  We tried to mark out most of the roots for safety issues.  I really loved this hill and they were “kinda” laughing at me.

Our day:

We had a great day catching up, talking about the past/present/future and just hanging out doing one of the things that we love most, running.  I am so thankful to all of you who came and I am sorry that so many others missed it.   This was truly a great time.  A few of us did 3 loops for a 10.5 mile day, including Adella who logged her longest run EVER!  Great job, Adella!  And a few did 2 loops for 7 miles.  I challenge the Kville locals to go run the trail within the next couple of weeks and email me a photo.  In return, I will mail you a hat from our fun run and you can count yourself as a virtual participant!  I marked the trail on the grass, except for a few spots up in the campground area where I was blonde not thinking and marked the road instead.  It is easy to follow, the markings will last quite awhile and it really is a nice jaunt around the lake.  Go now and become our virtual partner for the First Annual ENHS Fun Run and then hopefully we will see you in person next year!

For more photos of the Bixler Lake Trail, feel free to review the January post where Adella & I did a scouting trip on a snowy afternoon HERE.

Today is my birthday so the kids and Grandma were busy baking and crafting while I was out playing running.  I returned to much excitement and lemon bars for my birthday treat.  Then later mom & I made a spinach, artichoke, roasted red pepper pizza!  Yum!  Obviously I like to eat as much as I like to run!

Happy Birthday Song over my morning yogurt!

I managed to squeak in a Birthday Recovery Run this morning too and knocked out the Jelly Bean 5K and 10K through Run with Jess for a total of 9.3 miles.  Although the Jelly Bean is billed as a Virtual Race, I am considering it to be more of a Challenge.  This week will be super busy with two Track meets for Aby, a busy work schedule, a midweek midday date with hubby and the Good Friday Waterfall Glen Run.  Yep, I signed up for all four events:  5K, 10K, Half Marathon, & a 13 mile bike.   I realize with the current schedule that I will have to sacrifice my swim this week.  And I need the bike Gods to make sure my bike computer comes in at the Trek Store this week so that I can get it installed, have the maintenance issues taken care of and be ready to ride by Saturday.  I have a very narrow window for the bike, Saturday.  That’s my window.  Period.  Worst case scenario, I can pop out a guesstimated 13 miles on the trainer but I’m tired of guesstimating my miles and have totally lost my motivation to bike on the trainer.  I need the computer now.  Pathetic, I know but it is no fun riding without knowing how far and how fast I’m traveling!

What was on your plate for the weekend?  Any virtual racing for you?  Any real racing?  Anyone going to run the Bixler Trail to participate in our Fun Run virtually?  Let me know!

Happy Running,                                                                                                     Amanda – TooTallFritz