Newaygo North Country Trail Section 6 – 40th St. to Centerline Rd.
By Bret Brummel
Distance: 6.28 miles
Anna and I were determined not to make the same mistakes we had made on the last section of the trail. The weather was hot and humid so we both drank lots of fluids and I double checked the maps before heading out for our run. As they say, “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance”. We had run 4 miles of this section last fall and were looking forward to seeing what the last 2 miles had to offer.
Trail running is so much better than running on the road. You don’t have to worry about traffic, angry dogs protecting their territory, and the scenery is much more unpredictable. This section began with some winding single-track trails that had a nice variety of hills and flat ground and keeping up with Anna seemed easy. After 1.5 miles, we both agreed this run was going great. I stopped for a picture when we came upon a large oak tree with a weird growth facing the trail. It resembled a face that reminded me of the tree Ents that lived in Fangorn Forest in J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Beyond our tree Ent, there was a small section of large trees that created a canopy that trapped the air inside. This dense area had a wet smell of decaying vegetation that had that ancient forest feel. It was something you don’t experience running on the road.
As the trail crosses 28th St., there is a sign describing the Coastal Plain Marsh. This area has unique plants and animals not normally found in Michigan. It was another nice change of scenery. The trail continued, and we were nearing a foot bridge that would mark the end of the familiar part of this section of the trail. We snapped our race selfie and headed into the unknown. We had just passed another bridge when I heard some rustling in the thick undergrowth on my left. I assumed it was a just a squirrel. Suddenly, a small fawn darted into the trail behind me and began chasing me as we ran. It took about 10 feet for the fawn to realize that I wasn’t his mom. It dashed off into the woods giving us a good laugh.
The last two miles were relatively flat through some wetland and some planted pines. With a mile to go, Anna began picking up the pace. I was happy I was able to keep up until the last quarter mile. We reached the van both satisfied with our run and looking forward to the next section.