Newaygo North Country Trail Section 9– 3 Mile Rd. to 6 Mile Rd.
By Bret Brummel
Distance: 5.22 miles
With the White Cloud Trail Trot 5k race the following day, Anna suggested we run this section at an easy pace. An easy evening run on a beautiful sunny day sounded great to me!
Leaving 3 Mile Road, the trail was the familiar single-track through the forest heading north. There were a few small hills, but the terrain was relatively flat. At the half mile mark, the trail turned to the West and for two miles we were running toward the setting sun. The trees kept us in the shade most of the time, but the sun would break through the canopy lighting up Anna like she was under spotlight on stage.
Up ahead, I noticed a clearing in the woods where the trail led us to an open marsh. The trail would follow the perimeter of the marsh, then head back into the forest. It was a nice change of scenery. After a quarter mile and few twists and turns, another marsh would appear. Once again, we would follow its border and turn back into the woods. As the length of the run increased, this pattern continued. Unfortunately for Anna, I began joking about it. Each time we would see an upcoming opening in the trees, I would say “Oh, look it’s another marsh!” I can only imagine the eye roll she was giving me as she ran.
Around the four-mile mark, we came to what I would call a small lake. The trail was on a hill adjacent to the lake and gave us a nice view. From somewhere on the lake, I heard the call of a loon. Of course, Anna didn’t hear it and the bird never made another sound once I had brought it to her attention. If we been hiking, I probably would have stopped to get a glimpse of it before continuing.
The next portion of the trail snaked through some recently logged pines. It had enough twists and turns that it reminded me of some of the switchback trails we had taken in the mountains of Tennessee. The undergrowth in the logged area had grown up in spots and bordered the trail as if we were in a corn maze. With Anna running ten yards ahead of me, she would occasionally disappear rounding one of the turns. Thankfully the trail was wide enough the plants were avoidable.
With a half mile to go, we stopped for a picture at a bridge crossing Mena Creek. I commented to Anna “The elevation on this trail is nice. I don’t think the hills are that bad.” Within 50 yards of saying that, the trail led us up a steep hill at least 100 yards long. Midway through the ascent up the hill, I confessed “I think I probably shouldn’t have said those comments out loud.” Anna’s response “You think?”, followed by some grumbling I couldn’t understand.
We finished both thinking it had been a good run. Good enough, that a trip to Tiny’s Tasty Treats on the way home would be a great way to refuel after our workout.