Winter getaway: sweet and simple


This is my kind of winter getaway.      

Wake up. Get dressed. Step outside. Walk about 100 yards to a trailhead.      

Start running.      

Does it get any more sweet and simple than that?      

I didn’t have to spend 10 minutes scraping ice and snow off my car. I didn’t have to waste time driving to and from the trails on slick roads. I didn’t have to pack a bunch of extra clothes or food or think about where to park or hide my keys.      

My transit time between stepping outdoors and beginning my trail run: about 60 seconds.      

I’m pretty sure that’s a new PR.      

This was my Sunday run, through the snow-packed, rolling trails at Pokagon State Park in northeastern Indiana.      

I was up there with my family for a fun weekend with some friends. Our weekend agenda: hiking, tobogganing, bird-watching, playing on the frozen lake, having a few meals, playing board games, reading and relaxing. It was a fun, low-stress weekend.      


The highlight for me, of course, was hitting the trails.      

I had never spent much time at Pokagon before. It’s one of the most popular parks in Indiana for winter getaways, the main attraction being the refrigerated toboggan chutes, cross-country ski trails and a scenic lodge overlooking a lake.      

On Saturday afternoon, after a few hours of tobogganing and fun in the snow, I happily spent an hour or so hiking the trails, doing reconnaissance for a Sunday morning run. I also wanted to stretch my legs, enjoy the scenery and take a few photos.      

I had nine or ten short trails to choose from. I hiked parts of four of them. They were well-groomed and not that challenging — no singletrack or tough climbs. So it would be a laid-back hike on Saturday and run on Sunday.      

Mrs. Trail Boy and I just power-walked up a long hill and climbed 40 or 50 steps to get to this lookout point, where the cold air hit us in the face. Do we look pooped?


That was fine. I didn’t need to kill myself. This was supposed to be a fun getaway. I enjoyed my hike and got ready for dinner.      

On Sunday morning, my prep work paid off. I ran for about 90 minutes, cobbling together three different trails. One ran through the woods. Another wound through rolling meadow, around a lake. Another took me through a marshy area, on a boardwalk.      

I was in trail heaven, inhaling chilly air, listening to the woodpeckers, watching the deer and feeling my feet hit the ground.      

Sweet, sweet trails.       


CHEAP THRILL: Playing on a frozen lake 

Here’s the biggest surprise of the weekend. Of all the activities, my boys got the biggest thrill out of running, jumping and sliding on the frozen lake.     

Sure, the toboggan rides were fun.  So were the swimming pool, hot tub and sauna. And what boys don’t like a video game room or a ping pong table or a nature center full of snakes and turtles?     

But the frozen lake was the runaway hit.     

Steven runs across the frozen lake. The lodge is in the background.


Here is the same view during summer.



      The ice was several inches thick, and the boys spent nearly an hour horsing around, while the wind blew in their faces.     

It was a cheap thrill. No fancy equipment required. Just boys and nature. Sweet and simple.      

Kind of like trail running.

One Response to “Winter getaway: sweet and simple”

  1. you are the best Dad! so glad iIdo not have to run in ice/snow not certain I am that driven!

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