This morning I decided to stick somewhat closer to home and hit Elm Creek to get a good track of the entire northern horse trails area. I knew that they had some water on the trails last week, but I figured by today it would be more sloppy and muddy than truly wet.
I headed out from the Horse Camp parking lot on an extended loop, and enjoyed a beautiful morning. There was a low fog that made the park seem ancient more remote. The first part of the run was uneventful, and I managed a slow but steady pace as I circled. Around mile 4 I crossed the one-lane bridge that was currently closed to cars. The creek under it was very high, so I figured I might get a bit wetter than I had planned. As I turned to enter the trail again, I saw my path covered over completely with water.
I assumed it wouldn’t get that deep, so I plowed forward. Very quickly I realized that I was pretty much crossing a stream at this point. The water was shin high all the time, and occasionally it went to my knees. My run was slowed to a virtual crawl as I waded along the path. Eventually, I found dry ground again, which was good because the water was cold and my feet were freezing by the time I made it through.
I started running again, and warned an oncoming runner of what they would face if they kept going. I crossed the bike path again and started the northward part of the loop. Suddenly, I found myself once again up to my knees in water. This time, it actually came over my knees at certain points, making me wonder if I would even be able to physically make it through. This flooded section took forever, but once again, dry land found me eventually. I was relieved that I had probably seen the last of the water.
But alas, it was not to be so. As I ran past the mountain bike parking lot I approached a bridge over a pond, which had turned into a river, and the trail was once again knee high water, this time rushing across my path. I carefully waded across, hoping this was the final wet section, as I didn’t know how much more freezing water my feet could handle.
Thankfully, this was the last section of swimming, and I completed the 9.75 mile loop in just over two hours. Thankfully, my sandals were in my car, so I was able to strip off the wet footwear and dry my feet off before heading for coffee. Overall, a wild adventure for what was supposed to be a simple morning run.