Saturday, March 10, 2012

Adventures at Coon Hollow

This past week, my fiance, Danielle, and I were road-tripping out to Laramie, WY.  After contacting local trail master, Mike Krsnak, we decided to go for a run on the Coon Hollow Trails just outside Rapid City, SD.  I had run at Coon Hollow this past summer so I figured I knew the trail well enough to navigate it's 4 or 5 mile loop with ease.  The run begins well and we climb a few hundred feet above the trailhead.  All looks familiar for about 3.5 miles and I begin anticipating the final, loose-rock covered hill that descends to the trailhead, signifying the end of the run.  Well, it doesn't come.  I keep running.  First, because I am enjoying the trail.  Trails like this don't come along too often in Eastern South Dakota.  Second, because I hate to be wrong and turning around would mean admitting defeat.  However, I do know how to give up when I am ahead.  The breaking point came when I reached a fork in the road and a sign telling me of both destinations informed me that I had no idea where I was.  I stopped for a quick bathroom break and gathered my thoughts.  Not only did we take the wrong trail, I didn't know how to get to the right one.  I would later discover that I had missed a turn which would have ended the loop in about a half mile.  Instead, I ended up on the Flume Trail, headed towards Sheridan Lake.  After the bathroom break, I ran back to find Danielle.  She had only wanted to run the 4 or 5 mile loop so she started walking after that.  The hills were taking a toll on her calf and Achilles that she is just getting over.  I find her and explain the situation.  She is much more patient then I would have been in her position so I thank her for that.  We decided to walk on a path that we had seen a mountain biker travel.  We walk for about a half mile and see a building far down a steep hill.  We decide to travel down the hill and see where it takes us.  We end up at a camp that she had attended in junior high.  We had seen the sign near our trailhead that let us know that the camp was 1.7 miles away.  1.7 miles doesn't seem like much but these were no ordinary 1.7 miles.  First, it is melting season and the road was a red-clay mess.  It was wet and sloppy and our shoes were soaked and dyed red in no time.  And second, it was all uphill and we were already tired from running the hilly trail at altitude.  After a half hour, we arrived at our car and continued our 5 hour travel to Laramie.

Black Hills National Forest Map

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