We have a couple of healthy trail-running groups in the Kansas City area, but both conduct the bulk of their group runs on the Kansas side of the state line or south of the river, on the east side of Kansas City. That puts any of the group runs a minimum round trip of 1 hour and 20 minutes from my front door, and that distance usually keeps me from participating. I have to say that sometimes that bums me out.
There are advantages to being a trail runner in the northland, however. Most of the time, for example, I get the trails all to myself.
This morning I was due for a long run, but couldn't bring myself to plod 10 miles on pavement in the drizzle and fog. The trails at Smithville Lake, maintained by the Earth Riders Trails Association, would likely be closed due to mud. That left one little gem of trail running goodness: Wallace State Park.
|Rocky Ford trailhead|
|The rocky ford|
Crime Scene in the Woods
This was a fun little scene that distracted me from my run. I am given to occasional bouts of intent nature study:
|Small-animal tracks in every direction, blood spattered and pooled in a swath of about 40 feet. Someone had a wild party here.|
|More blood. I never saw any fur or feathers, which makes me think the kill came from the creek (fish or frog, maybe). I also didn't see any different kinds of tracks that would have been caused by struggling mammalian prey.|
|Close-up of the predator's tracks. About 1.5 inch wide.|
|Another close-up of the tracks. I am going to guess that the perpetrator was a mink.|
|Human "sign" in the woods (made by me).|