Newaygo North Country Trail Section 10 – 6-mile Rd. to W. Pierce Dr.
By Bret Brummel
Distance: 5.45 miles
It has been 2 months since Anna and I had completed section 9 of our quest to run the Newaygo County portion of the North Country Trail. Anna has been recovering from mononucleosis and has been slowly getting her stamina back to where we could continue. An encouraging performance at the Spartan Cross Country Invitational gave her the confidence to tackle another section of the trail. So, our Sunday long run brought us to where the NCT crosses 6-mile road near Loda Lake.
We began our warm-up stretches and were immediately greeted by a swarm of mosquitos who were glad we had come for a visit. With a quick application of bug spray for each of us and our mandatory race selfie, we were off. The first mile of the trail had a few more hills than we would have liked. That being said, the change in elevation did make the run more interesting as we went from one marsh to another. The biggest concern came from the mature oak trees we would run beneath. They were dropping acorns like it was a hail storm. Once I had to laugh as Anna put her hands over her head to protect herself from the falling missiles. Fortunately, we never took a direct hit.
When running on the trail, it is a challenge to take in all the scenery while making sure to keep an eye out for any tree roots sticking up on the path. At the mile and a half mark, we saw the sign for a trail that led back to the Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary. Unfortunately, while looking at the sign, a root grabbed Anna’s foot bringing her to the ground. She assured me she was fine and instructed me to take the lead. It actually sounded more like “I’m fine… just go!”. So, I went.
At the 2.5-mile mark, the trail exited the woods and entered an open grassy area filled with scrub oak trees about four feet tall. Some of the area looked as if it were remnants of a wildfire. It was a unique landscape we had not experienced. That portion lasted a mile and a half before entering another section of mature trees that led us to our van.
The instant we stopped running, the swarm of mosquitos reappeared. I quickly unlocked the van, we both jumped in and grabbed a water bottle. It felt great to get back on the trail. It felt even better knowing that Anna was healthy again. Thanks to all who expressed concern for her while she was sick. It was appreciated. Three more sections to go to reach our goal!
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