Nestled against the shallow banks of Lodi Lake, the Lodi Nature Trail is a tranquil trail run, well known to local runners as an easy and flat loop. Endomondo tracked my run at 1.3 miles, but it’s listed with Alltrails.com as a 2.5 mile loop. I obviously took a wrong turn or missed a trail marker. Either way, it’s a great trail run for someone new to trail running, or just looking for a short, easy afternoon run.
At the trail head, the road is wide and paved, which is perfect because it joins up with the exercise and hiking trail, and tends to bustle with outdoor enthusiasts of all types. Even at this early stage in the run, you’ll experience the soothing sights and sounds of wildlife in this riparian area of the Mokelumne River. It’s not uncommon to see box turtles sunning on rocks and logs on the shallow banks.
Deer forage for acorns and discarded bark in the tall grass of the monochrome meadows lining the north east banks of the winding river.
As you run deeper into the loop, you’ll notice the sound of gravel crunching beneath your feet, as the trail converts. Sun peeks through the wooded canopy in slivers, highlighting old growth, downed logs, native ferns and tangled Crownvetch.
The wooded trail twists along the river channel, offering brilliant views of the lake around most every turn. Even now, the quiet body of water offers itself to little boys hoping to catch an occasional smallmouth bass or catfish.
I found myself enjoying the natural elements of the Lodi Nature Trail far more than the usual endorphin-laden exhilaration of my traffic-dodging runs on concrete. Mile time wasn’t important… pace be damned. I stopped frequently to snap a picture and take in the view. I found myself breathing deeper and slower, wondering why it has taken me nearly three years to discover trail running.
I am curious if you run trails in your neck of the woods? (pun intended) If I get serious about this, should I get different equipment? What tips do you have for a successful trail run? Leave your comments below.
Editors Note: Photos courtesy of Chuck Douros
Editor's note: Photo, courtesy C. Douros