A beautiful, snowy vacation

Trail running in December doesn't get much prettier than this. I ran with an old friend, Denny Gordon (shown here), along the Buckeye Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, near Peninsula, Ohio.

I saw this Hallmark scene on the Towpath Trail, just north of the Ira Road trailhead.

I'll never get tired of seeing this sign.

A wintry scene along the Cuyahoga River.

Mrs. Trail Boy is all smiles as she finishes a hike on the Dogwood Trail at Sand Run Park.

It's amazing how a little snow can make the woods so beautiful. Why would anyone run anywhere else, if they had a choice?

I have miles to go before I stop running trails.

 Ask and you sometimes receive.            

Last week, I moaned  about the brown, bare, depressing woods in December. I hinted that a bit of snow would make everything look and feel better.              

What do you know? We got a few days of light flurries. And now everything looks beautiful again.              

To make it even better, I spent the last four days in Ohio, visiting family and friends. We ate a little. We drank a little. We laughed a lot. We hit the trails. The snow put me in a great holiday mood.              

The Cuyahoga Valley looked spectacular: about an inch of snow on the hillsides and the trails and meadows. It was picture perfect.              

So I took a few pictures. Here’s a bit of what we saw and did.              

On Sunday, the Trail Boy family hiked the Dogwood Trail at Sand Run Park. The boys did some snow-boarding on the coasting hills, and had fun running up and down the ravines.              

On Monday, I ran about six miles on the towpath, between Botzum trailhead and Bolanz Road, and back.              

On Tuesday, I met an old friend, Denny, at the Boston Store trailhead, and we ran a favorite course: south on the towpath to Pensinsula, east up the steep hill on Route 303, and into the woods at the Pine Lane trailhead, for a hilly, scenic run back to the starting point on the Buckeye Trail.              

Here are a few shots of a very fun visit.              

Steven rides his snowboard down the Hawkins Coasting Hill. Another inch of snow would have helped!

Jake finds a ice-covered straightaway.

Steven looks for a new challenge: taking his snowboard down a steep section of Dogwood Trail. Mrs. Trail Boy follows behind.

My boys were made for the outdoors. Here, Steven mugs for the camera, before hitting the trails.

Jake prepares to lead the way.

Mr. and Mrs. Trail Boy, still dressed in our Sunday church clothes. Who has time to change clothes when the beautiful winter woods are calling?

I think winter is the most beautiful, peaceful season for a run or hike on a trail.

Denny hops over a fallen log on the Buckeye Trail, near the Pine Lane trailhead.

Denny and Trail Boy in the woods. What's not to smile about?

This long uphill was good for a few endorphins, even if Trail Boy had to downgrade to a power hike on these steps.

Then it was back to Indy, to return to the real world of work, last-minute Christmas shopping and home life.              

But we have snow on the ground, so for the moment, all is right with the world.

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