Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday Scenery

As I was looking through photographs saved on my computer, I stumbled upon this one of the beautiful pines along Florida Trail in the Osceola National Forest.  So lucky to have this stunning landscape as (practically) my backyard!  Enjoy the trails, wherever you may be, this weekend!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The 29th of November

November 29th, the day of my birth, is a day when I  remember one of my favorite Floridians.   Not Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, but Al Burt, the great Florida author and columnist.  Burt passed on the 29th a few years back.  I highly recommend anything and everything that he wrote about Florida.

The Tropic of Cracker survives in myth, memory and love of natural Florida. It exists more in the mind than in geography, more in the memory than in the sight, more in attitude than in the encounter. It thrives in the sprinklings of people who still honor a multifaceted heritage rooted in the appreciation of a place and the understanding of customs that harmonized with its peculiar blessings. It tolerates and explains the humanly dimensioned heroes and the heroically flawed rogues who give it voice. (Tropic of Cracker)

Well said.

Article by another of my favorite Floridians, Jeff Klinkenberg.

The pace of my twenty-third

A year ago, after I finished twenty-two miles for the very first time in celebration of my twenty-second birthday, I had no doubt I would be running twenty-three at the end of the next November.  Maybe I could even hit faster mile splits during the second half and run on 3:20 marathon pace.  Well, some things just don't go as planned.  This year, I walked.  Not twenty-three miles, but forty-two minutes.


I drove to a new (for me) access point to the Florida Trail in the Osceola National Forest, left my car on the side of the road, and bounded down the trail. I am not a slow walker, which is likely why long walks still leave me in some pain. What I'm realizing is that I am covering very little distance, and I am still adjusting to that.  Slowing down, well slowing to more than 8:15 miles, is allowing me to truly take in my new home.  Cypress trees are few, pines are plentiful.  So much for the sandy paths that seems to drag my feet downward.  These trails are hard packed, lightly covered with a layer of pine needles.  My legs and hips are quite grateful for that.  Time seems to pass quickly when there is so much to see and learn.


Just as my watch ticked 42:30, I returned to my car parked alongside the quiet road. The wind rustled the needles at the tops of the pines, the sun casting long shadows of the trees on the palmettos below. I am so glad that this is my home. Most twenty-three year olds who I know, just out of college, it seems, would much rather move to large cities and enjoy the busier, faster way of life. Well, I am quite happy with my pace in my small town.

As I ate some good, small town BBQ that I picked up on the way home, I though 23 miles can come later.  I suppose I have 365 days to get it in. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stretching, stretching, stretching, abs

I was really pleased with the people who work at the orthopedic office where I am receiving physical therapy.  All seemed very knowledgeable, understanding, and just easy to talk with.  I was unsure of how it would be, since all of the therapy I have received in the past was from the athletic trainers at my school who knew me and my history very well.

The majority of my therapy is stretching, for now.  I am so happy to have the 'ok' on stretching, since I was told to put it on hold by my doctor about a month ago.  The good news is that I didn't lose much flexibility, and now I can work on it even more.   I am also able to do some very simple ab workouts (no leg lifts and other movements that would strain my pelvis).  My goal is to strengthen the region around the pubic symphysis and start to gain some stability.

I am going to continue my therapy on my own for about three weeks and then I will check in with my orthopedic and physical therapist.  I'm glad that I am able to start doing something.

Honestly, it just feels good to put on running clothes again.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Three miles for which to be thankful

I am a planner. I always have been, and the trait has served me well. As much as a planner I can be, I have my times to be spontaneous. Over thinking art and the artistic process process has never worked well for me. Usually, I have better results if I jump right in, experiment with the materials, and see where it takes me. My approach to distance running is remarkably similar, which may be why art, running, and nature are so closely related in my mind.

Despite being told to 'limit my weight bearing activities' by my orthopedic, I still decided to go for a walk at J. B. Starkey Wilderness Park when home this Thanksgiving holiday.  I cannot resist watching a good sunrise on the west coast.  The problem that surfaced when I was waiting at the gate for the park to open was where?  I am used to being able to meander across acres upon acres in just one outing, and then do it all again the next.  This was my one shot. 

Where would I make the most of my one morning here?  The large field?  Western horse trails?  The big scrub?  The 1.9mi loop?  I went through all of my favorite shorter routes, but as soon as I stepped out my car and my feet touched the damp crushed shell lot, all planning disappeared. 

I was drawn to the dark, more enclosed path with the thin rays of light just beginning to peak above the horizon.  As if the forest knew I was coming, the morning was cool and clear, and a thin layer of fog nestled low amongst the lakes.  This is my favorite kind of morning. 

Just as I decided to take the short path to the edge of one of the many lakes, I stumbled upon a new trail.  This path did not exist a few months ago, and somehow I found it on this one morning.  The fairly wide trail meandered along the edge of the lake, and ended at a recent campsite.  There was a small opening in the clearing.  It was like a window made to watch the sunrise, so I did.

With just a three mile or so walk, I was thankful I could do what I love.  Although I limited the distance, I was able to explore.  I had my own adventure.  It felt good.  It was exactly what I needed.  I had missed the freedom of running.  Perhaps that is why when I am not running, I paint landscapes incessantly.  I have a need for spontaneity.  I cannot wait until I am once again able to fill that need with my brush and my feet.

Physical therapy begins tomorrow!  Let's see what I am able to do...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Walk Along the Florida Trail

About a week ago, I gave into the temptation of  the Osceola National Forest.  The vast, stunning landscape sits just a few miles from where I live, and it has been unbelievably difficult to restrain from long walks and runs.  I knew the pain would be too great if I visited as often as I would like. 

I started at the trailhead down by the Oulstee Battlefield.  I took to the Florida trail, where the single track route meanders through the seemingly endless acres of pines.  The sun was starting to lower in the sky, casting beautiful shadows over the landscape.  After about a mile and a quarter, I turned around to head home.  I knew that a longer adventure would leave me in pain for longer than the weekend.  Just two miles and change was my final total, but it was enough.  The light, the smells, the breeze.  I missed it all.


I am fortunate that I was able to get in my short walk, because a few days later after my appointment with my orthopedic, I was told to teach, go home, and do nothing.  Well, I was told to 'limit my weight bearing activities,' to which I responded "which would be?"  I'm honestly doing nothing and it's going to drive me crazy. 

Surgery causes many more problems then it would help, so I must continue to wait.  I've been waiting for six months, but my body needs more time.  I will start physical therapy in a little over a week, although I do not know what I will be able to accomplish.  All I know is that it likely will not be as exhausting and fulfilling as a few good LT (lactate threshold) miles on the asphalt or a solid twelve miles in the woods. 

Soon.  Hopefully.  I know I will be able to run again, I just pray that that day is not over a year away.  North Florida is stunning, and I can't wait to get back out there.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New Town, New Doctor, Old Injury

Now that I am settled in my new old little town, I have found a new orthopedic.  Yes, I know that I am twenty-two years old, and one of the most upsetting parts about moving from home was leaving my orthopedic.  
I recently had new x-rays which, again, confirmed my previous diagnosis of osteitis pubis or inflammation of the pubic symphysis.  This inflammation first appeared two years ago when I had an MRI for my hip injury, however, I did not experience pain until the end of track season this year.  After five months of not running, no improvement was visible.  I am essentially waiting for bone reabsorbtion and my body to heal itself.

But, I like my doctor here, maybe even more than my previous doctor.  He has done his research on my "difficult" problem, asking for advice from doctors throughout the state who are known for their abilities to solve a good challenge.  Hopefully the next step in this process will give me some relief. 
The good news is that I can walk, I can go to the grocery store, and, on most days, I can teach without pain.  Months ago I was worried about how I was going to live on my own since I could not manage to walk the length of Publix.  Although I can do some normal activities, I cannot lift, even a gallon of iced tea, without pain.  Turning over in bed and getting out of bed still bothers me.  I can't bike, row, swim, walk long distances, or do sit-ups.  Who knew such a small joint could cause so much pain?  But enough with what I cannot do right now.

I'll keep dreaming of running.  The parks are calling me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

New Beginnings

I know that I have been away for a long, long time.  I am still here, although also still injured.  Hopefully I'm getting over it, but I am not yet running regularly. 

There have, however, been significant changes in my life.  I am now the art teacher at an elementary school in a north central Florida town.  I live nearby in a quite little area with good open spaces that make for beautiful driving, and beautiful running soon.  I love where I am living.  I can see the sky and the stars in the black sky.  The land rolls, and the fog settles by the lakes in the early morning.  Things like that make me happy.

There are parks nearby, including state parks and also the Osceola National Forest.  I have hundreds of thousands of acres to explore, but right now I am waiting.

I know it will be wonderful and worth the wait.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Often when I find myself painting more, it means that I am running less.  I haven't run in a week and a half because of some pain that I have been experiencing.  It could be related to my various previous hip issues, but it could also be completely new.  Since for the first time in over eight years I'm not training for something specific, I took the time off.  I am going to get better and not drag whatever this is on.  (I learned that lesson the hard way...)  Hopefully a little rest and a visit to my orthopedic will get me back on the trails soon.

Here's what I've been working on in the meantime.  The painting's current state:

Monday, May 7, 2012


J.B. Starkey Wilderness Preserve- Serenova Tract

Florida is renowned for its beaches and stunning sunsets, however, I believe the lesser-known sunrises from central Florida deserve equal recognition.  For me, it is the all-encompassing nature of the rays by the time it strikes the tops of the pines and then falls to the scrub.  Out on the trails, the sunrise is not merely watched, but experienced.  Even while running through the densest of cypress strands, shafts of brilliant light will still catch me. 


After having been away from this part of the state for months, it is the light and the specific colors it produces that have struck me.  They vary slightly every morning, but I can always place my trust in their brilliance.

There is a sense of home in the warmth and overwhelming power of the color that I haven't found anywhere else.  Every time I return, I am even more struck by the beauty.  I hope that everyone is able to have a similar feeling about a treasured place of their own, and if not, I believe these sunrises can be even more beautiful when shared.



Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mystery Flower

Does anyone recognize this type of flower?  I saw it on my run yesterday along a rocky path through a nearly dry cypress strand.  It was beautiful and bizarre.  Sorry about the picture being so blurry. I didn't realize how bad it was until I got home.

Is it a white spider lily?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I am now a college graduate.

As my college's president expressed during his opening speech at the ceremony, commencement  is both an end and a beginning.  Just as the seasons shift, this is a natural change in my life.  I knew of its occurrence months, years, in advance and did what I could to prepare for it, although I could never have predicted the precise outcome.  I could never have dreamed of such wonderful years and people to spend them with, and I'm still unsure of how I feel about the change.  What I am sure of, however, is that I will be studying at the University of Florida for graduate school.  I will also search for teaching positions in hopes of beginning my career. 

This marks the end to my running on a competitive team as much as it marks the end of my undergraduate education.  Despite these endings, I will continue to run and compete and I will continue my education, but simply in other locations.  A new location to call home also means new old lands to explore, learn, and appreciate, something I am exceedingly excited to do. 

To end my undergraduate schooling and running, I logged one last long solo run in Guana River WMA.  The paths were familiar, and I traversed many of my favorites.  The observation tower at mile 2.5, the still-dry prairie trails, down to the sticky dark mud at the water's edge.  As I returned to the parking lot, I managed  to make a few new discoveries.  Eleven young alligators waited, heads resting on the water's dark glassy surface, for my exit.  Others looked on from the banks, as if wanting to say goodbye.

I will return, and I know these runs, this point in my life, will not be the same, but the thrill of the new is pulling me forward.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


It is spring break in the local public school district, which means it is time off of work for me!  My college had its spring break a few weeks back, but since I am interning in the public school system, I now follow their schedule.  I would have taken this break to log some serious miles at parks along this side of the state, but because it is time to taper for  track, I have been resting more than I have been running.  My final collegiate race is this weekend. 

Today, I made it out to Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine.  With an admission price of just four dollars, the state park makes for a great little vacation.  Even though I live in Florida, I rarely find time to go to the beach, but I was determined to do so over my spring break.  Actually, I've been to the beach a few times already this week.  In a few months, I will be moving inland, away from the salty coastal breezes, to attend the University of Florida for graduate school.   I will miss the runs that I have completed along this beach and nearly around the entire peninsula, known as Conch Island.  This trip was just for relaxing, however, so I grabbed my book of short stories by Marjorie, read tales of young women, cockfights, and relationships, and soaked in the sun's rays. 

This stretch of the beach in the state park is much more peaceful that part past the peer, just a few hundred meters south.  There are no hotels, ice cream shops, or beach towels placed so close together that the edges touch.  It's a pleasant escape.  The quiet gave me time to close my eyes and think about the upcoming race and graduation, but also my next possible big studio project.  I plan to print a copy of Cross Creek, create a cover, bind the book, and illustrate the text with my line drawings screen printed on the pages.  One of my good friends recently took Bookmaking, a studio course at my school, and I have been itching to make this book for a while now.  I added a few more sketches to my collection today.

Those were certainly the best four dollars that I have spent in a while.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Good Mornings

All of them were good mornings.  How could they not?  The Guana River Wildlife Management Area is one of my favorite parks to run in on the east coast of the state.  Vast natural spaces are difficult to find in the populated area where I live most of the year.  The land in the WMA is diverse, open, and breathtaking, and I treasure my mornings there. 


Alone on the trails in bitter temperatures and seemingly endless land to explore is an ideal situation.  I live for these mornings.  It was twenty seven degrees and a brutal wind raced atop the scrub, leaving my cheeks pink and chaffed.   The sky was a brilliant clear blue as only a January Florida sky can be.  Dressed in full length tights, for the very first time in my state, a long sleeve top, and warm black gloves, I set forth.  Despite the many times that I have traveled parts of this park, this was the first time that I took to the paths alone.  I did not have a time limit to return to the college van waiting in the parking lot or a group of runners by my side, fearful of getting lost.  I had freedom on the trails, and I took full advantage of it.  It was a good morning. 


As the steady rain fell, I made my way to the open paths, following the trails of shallow water.  Winter means my chance to explore closer to these low waters, designated as 'Seasonably Wet' trails on the park map.  I meandered the open plain.  The path and the water were almost indistinguishable, and I could only plan a few steps ahead.  The earth still wet, despite the season, but that  has never bothered me.  I'm not one to try and run trails and stay clean.  The gritty mud splashed up to my thighs and stained my new white trainers.  It was a good morning. 


I arrived for my ritual weekend run of thirteen miles in Guana River WMA.  Today, I wanted to travel north as far as I could with my prescribed mileage.  My real goal was to find the Lake Ponte Vedra observation tower, which required a good eight miles of new trails.  I was optimistic.  I've never gotten lost, yet.  Not only did I discover the observation tower, I also found perhaps my favorite stretch of trails in the park located near Graveyard path.  Along the way, I stumbled upon numerous lakes and a beautiful flock of fifteen to twenty roseate spoonbills huddled in the center.  Even though I planned the majority of my route, it was the little surprises made it most memorable.  I could never anticipate anything that wonderful.  I was a good morning.


I arrived at Guana River WMA for my fourth weekend in a row, this time with the college van full of members of the men's team.  I assumed I would be running by myself, again, but I didn't mind.  There is always plenty to explore.  When we began, the men's pace was slow and I kept up with the group of guys fairly easily.  They weren't going to make it a hard run, so I stuck with them.

We made our way out to the Capo observation tower like usual, and then one of the guys announced he wanted to "get lost in that direction."  Pointing northeast, he invited us to join.  I am all for getting lost and proposed sharing a few of my new discoveries in that area.  Naturally, they were up for the adventure, so we made our way down the narrow meandering paths along the pines and down to the prairie.  Even though the other seniors had been exploring the WMA for nearly four years, they were shocked by this new world of partially submerged paths.
We had fun splashing through the sticky dark mud.  The sun was shining in the clear sky after a long night of hard wind and rain.  It was beautiful, and we constantly reminded each other as the phrase slipped out of our mouths again and again.  As we ran on the soft footing, we told stories, made inappropriate references, and had a good time like teammates do.  Wading birds looked on, clearly puzzled at this group of energetic twenty-somethings frolicking though their usually quiet home. 

After reaching higher ground, the group divided a bit, others wanting to take different paths at different paces.  I understood.  The land often pulls me places, too.  The core group remained, however, as we took lesser known paths and discovered new loops together.

We made our way back to the park entrance as the last few minutes of our run time were ticking away.  Taking more of the low paths discovered on my last run, and making one of our own near the Big Savannah Pond, much dryer in the winter months but still good for a bit of splashing, we returned to the parking lot. Sharing my own discoveries with my adventuresome team and making ones of our own will always be a memory of mine.  It was a morning that affirmed my love for this sport, the land, and these people.  Covered in dirt and sweat, little streams of dried mud still stuck to our legs, we all understood that this was a great morning. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Feb. 2012- Guana River Wildlife Management Area

In the past few months, I have written about beginning to feel like myself again post-injury.  The act of running, no matter what the distance, has helped me feel like my old self, however, something was still missing.  Running and running like myself are two different things.

After cross country season ended in November, I decided to continue running, only dropping my weekly mileage in order to give my legs a break.  In no way was I ready to voluntarily take two weeks off after so recently having a forced nine months off.

It was the right decision.

In the past month, I have finally started to run like myself.  I am able to run tall and strong, hit even splits, and recover more quickly from workouts and during intervals.  My pace has dropped significantly since the season ended.  During cross country season last year, my workouts were all over the place.  I could never predict how I would feel, and that frustrated me beyond belief. 

After an entire summer and cross country season of struggling with running, it seems that I finally overcome the months of near inactivity.  I am not one to bounce back into shape because I am not a naturally athletic person.  I will be the first to admit that I have to work at running in order to compete decently in races.  I'm now stronger, physically and most certainly mentally.  Actually, I have started to think of the injury as a blessing in disguise because it forced me to reevaluate what I do and why I put myself through it.  Persistence, and not to mention a coach with incredible knowledge and similar determination, has brought me this far.  I love the sport, the people, and the feeling, and I'm not going anywhere.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Marjorie's Manuscripts

Occasionally I scroll through the articles on the St. Pete Times (now Tampa Bay Times) website to catch up on the events at home.  Today, I stumbled upon the newest Jeff Klinkenberg article:  "UF archivist preserves priceless manuscripts of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and others".  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Alumni Weekend Running

Last weekend was a cross country alumni weekend of sorts.  Many runners, past and present, competed in a local 5k, racing on either the current runners team or the alumni team.  Our scoring was cross country style, naturally.  The remainder of the weekend was spent eating, eating, reminiscing, and running, since, well, we are cross country runners.

On Sunday, the team visited the Mala Compra Trails (I've also heard it called HOBOS Trails) which was designed as a mountain bike trail.  I am not much of a biker, and I really have no idea how many trails like this exist in Florida, but I can say that I have never seen anything like it.  The trails twist and turn, rise and fall suddenly and constantly for the five and a half mile wooded loop. 

A few miles in, I got separated from the others since it was mostly the men's team.  I ended up exploring most of the trails alone.  Somehow I ran my first loop in about thirty minutes, so I clearly took a wrong turn somewhere.  It was difficult to get my bearings because of all of the little twists and turns, but on my second loop I eventually ended up on the other side of the park by a road and another entrance where a large map was posted.  Once I took a look at the image, it all made sense.  I hopped on the large and generally straight hiking trail and made my way back to the start. 

The run ended up being around 10. 5 miles, which was a little short, but my legs and hips certainly felt it.  It was a unique, fun, and challenging run.  I recommend going with a few people who are around your speed so that you can stick together and enjoy the crazy course.  It's great for distances from 5-8 miles, but a bit repetitive for much more than that.  Even though it was relatively hot outside, the trail stayed cool because it is completely shaded by oaks.  I can imagine that it would be very nice in the summer, as well.

Here is a video of someone biking the trail.  You can get an idea of how crazy parts of it are.

At the end of the weekend, it was sad to see everyone go.  Even though I had just met these people,  I felt like I knew them well.  We have many, many shared experiences, from running the same old routes, to trying Celebrex for hip pain, and ultimately knowing what it is like to be part of something so unique.  Only these few people know what it is like to wake up every day and be a member of this cross country team.  I am very excited to be racing with them next year and keeping in touch until then.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Winter Part II

Winter in Florida?  People may laugh and mock the typically mild southern weather.  Many move to Florida in order to skip the season all together.  The good news, in that case, is that where I live the temperature will likely rise to the upper seventies tomorrow.  Many others know, however, that despite the sunny skies and January beach weather, Florida most certainly has a winter. 

All one has to do is open his eyes.

When the crisp yellow-greens fade to deep ochre and lovely terre verte, I know the season has changed.  The early morning fog acts as a grey backdrop, making the oranges and deep greens even more vivid.  The greens still hold their familiar yellow undertones, but they have changed over the months that I have been away. 


As the temperatures drop to freezing at nights, I notice the pure whiteness of sandy trails.  Like snow, the sand crunches underfoot, instead of sucking my feet downward, making my stride more laborious.  With the new lightness of my feet, my eyes focus ahead.  Somehow, the sunrises seem even more brilliant against the cooler colors of the bald cypress and live oaks.  The changes in color may not be as noticeable as the dramatic fall foliage of the north, but, to me, it is equally as beautiful.

I have missed winter in the woods.  I missed the colors most of all.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Winter Part I

While home for a few days in December, I dealt with camera problems and then computer problems and all of the things that come with technology.  I didn't add new posts, even though I was out on the trails literally every day.  This is part one of two (likely) summarizing my winter adventures. 

When I return home, I find myself only revisiting the places where I have spent the most time in the past.  Even though I know the land, and I could easily drive a bit further to another park, there is comfort in returning to these woods.  In the end, I always manage to find something new to experience, so in a way, even the familiar can lead to adventure.

One Sunday morning, I set out to find a trail that I knew ran north to south, and then take it until it turned back west and hit the powerlines.  It was one of those foggy mornings when your eye lashes feel heavy because of the weight of the air.  Everything was the softest blue in color and even the sand was damp underfoot.  I took the path, but never found the bend, likely because it was overgrown.  What I did find, however, was much more exciting.

Just past where the main marked trail turns, a muddier path runs straight.  About one hundred meters ahead rests an abandoned bridge.  This bridge crosses the Anclote river.  The ramp on my side of the bridge was missing, long removed, to deter those on foot and vehicle from crossing.  Naturally, I climbed it.  If anything, I thought, I would rest for a moment and take in the view.  After admiring the slow moving river and the creatures in it, I pushed my way through the overgrowth on the opposite side to see what it was like.  The area had clearly been traveled, although the path of pressed grasses was not a maintained park trail.

I knew that crossing the bridge meant abandoning the planned route, but how could I  find a bridge and not see what was on the other side?  Well, it took me deep into the Anclote Tract of the Starkey Wilderness Preserve.  Once I was about a mile in, I knew generally where I was, but was convinced that it would meet a path I had explored a few years back.  It did.  But I turned around because I already hit nine miles or so and had only planned on running eight.  The path ahead, which would meander around  the park boundary following the fence line, was tilled by a tractor and I had no idea of the length back to the powelines.  It could have been a mile or five, if at all.  I decided to turn back.  There was no point in stressing my hips when the path back was generally compact with only a few miles of sand.  Watching the cars whiz by on SR 54 made me want to retreat back to the isolation of the woods anyway.

When I crossed the bridge and returned to the paths I know well, I literally crossed paths with an old friend.   My former coach and my brother's teacher was hiking alone on a trail not often traveled by those on foot.  I was so surprised  to see someone there, let alone someone I knew.  We said hello with pleasantly shocked expressions and went on our ways.  I would see him a week later on another path.  I guess we have similar ideas on how to spend our weekends.  There is no better way to spend a Sunday morning than deep in seemingly familiar woods. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lora Lane

I had heard that there were more extensive trails in the Brooker Creek Preserve at the end of Lora Lane, a few Streets away from the Brooker Creek Preserve main entrance and education center. 
The trail head was very easy to find, as it was literally at the end of the dead end road.  One side led to hiking trails, the other horse trails. 

I started with the hiking trails, which were off limits to horses and dogs.  They were primarily single track trails covered with pine needles.  They meandered around quite a bit and it was hard to get into a rhythm, but generally were easy to follow.  The loop ended up being just under two miles.  I still had quite a bit to go to get to five, so I took to the horse trails.  They were like Starkey's horse trails in that they were sandy, wider, and more open.  I preferred these, as I did a short out and back route and make it back to my car parked at the dead end street. 

The end of the road wasn't busy at all, so I was able to do a few strides to finish up the workout.

Typical to Brooker Creek, the trails are almost over marked.  It's not the place to get lost and wander, but if you are afraid of getting lost, then it is perfect since the loops are small and contained.  I'm not sure if they really allow runners on the horse trails, since they seem to only be for horses.  I felt fine running them on a week day in the early morning because no one was there.  I would not run there on the weekend when I'm sure it is busy.  It is some beautiful land and worth checking out.

I wrote this a while back, but my camera died and I didn't have photos, so here it is now with images (not the best since they are from a phone, but it gives you an idea of what it's like).