October 11, 2008

Murphy Hanrehan


Those of you who run at Murphy Hanrehan on a regular basis.... where exactly do you manage to run without being turned back by closed trails? Last weekend I decided to give the Surf the Murph course a try, only to find a locked gate and "trail closed for your safety" sign at marker #8. This was only 3.7 miles into a loop that is supposed to be 7.75 miles long. I ended up having to cut back to the start for 5.5 miles (which brought up a question with another trail runner as to the actual length of the official course loop). All of the other trails to the south end of the park were also closed, which meant that I was stuck with a very short loop at the north end.

Today, I decided I would try to get 3-4 laps of the 5.5 loop in for 15-20ish miles on a beautiful fall day. Nope! Today, the gates were locked so that I couldn't even get to marker #4, resulting in an extremely short loop of less than 3 miles. Then I realized that the water to the drinking fountain had been turned off for the season, so my single hand held was all I had. Dayam! Decided to drive to the horse trail parking lot and try to get the south end of the course loop in, but the parking area was already overflowing. Seriously thought about driving to Afton to do my own little hill workout at Nigel's and Campground, but eastbound I-494 was closed for road construction.

Bottom line: I ended up with a 3 mile run instead of 15-20 in preparation for a 50K in 3 weeks, and haven't run more than 10 since Moose. Crap.

On a happy note, today's short run was gorgeous, and I really would like to know where the open trails at Murphy are ;)


Mindi said...

Yes, that stinks! My least favorite time of year is when they turn off the water (and lock the bathrooms at the parks) on the trails. They did that to me this week - while I do not usually run on the trail, I often stop at the trailhead for water.

Consider it a recovery day and try again tomorrow. I hear your frustration though!

Londell said...

Great photo's... Make me wish I was not so swamped in the work that pays the bills and I just can't get out in the daylight... Almost all the running/walking i have been doing is in the dark... So thanks for the beauty! And three miles of that scenery, must make you feel great...

Shane said...

I live a mile north of Murphy, so I'm very familiar with the trails. You can combine the long and short hiking trails for around 8.5 miles. None of the side trails are open for summer access. I hate running the horse trails in the summer, but they are great for snowshoeing in the winter.

I usually run the mountain bike trail, which is a multi-use trail and is around 9.5 miles. Not nearly as steep as the hiking trails, but very scenic. Just don't plan on using your iPod and always step off the trail for bikers.


phillip said...

You mean "Trail Closed" signs mean you can't run on it??

NOW you tell me . . . .

What are they going to do . . . arrest you for trail running?

Kel said...

Shane, thanks for the info, although I'm not sure what you mean by the long and short hiking trails? I agree about trying to avoid the horse trails, especially on a busy weekend. That was the same reason I stayed off the mountain bike trails too (I didn't realize that they were open to hikers).

Phillip, they have more than just "trail closed" signs - they also have locked gates (some with barbed wire). Apparently there are a few rare bird species that nest there over the summer, which is why they are "winter only" trails. That particular section of the park is the only place in the state where one species even exists, so I respect the closure signs.

Shane said...

They've changed the maps a little on the Three Rivers Park district website. There used to be two distinct trails. Both of them start at the trail head. The short one follows markers 1, 2 , and 3. The longer one follows 11,10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 9, 10, 11 and back to the trailhead. It looks like they've recently opened up the no summer access trails between the two trails at markers 2 and 3. The longer trail used to be the old mountain biking trail and is now hiking only. They still have yet to open up the trails between the upper hiking and lower horse trails between 11 and 12.

How's that for confusing. :) On the other hand, the mountain bike trail is open to hikers, is well maintained, and probably one of the nicest runs in the metro. I just make sure I keep my ears open and step off the trail when the bikers come by. I've run it quit a few times and everyone has been very courteous.


Wayne said...

Nice pictures, Kel. Maybe this was a blessing in disguise -- should be more fully recovered from Moose Mountain now! :)