When we all showed up blurry eyed and groggy at 7:20 a.m. at Run Hub Northwest, we didn’t know what the morning had in store for us, but we did know a love for trail running had brought us together. As we loaded up our cars and started heading east on Highway 126 towards the McKenzie River Trail, my car full of loose acquaintances immediately bonded over conversations regarding running, food, and inevitably, bowel movements. I think it was at that moment, that I knew it would be a good day.
Our first stop was at the Horse Creek Lodge, where Alyssa Ander Brownlee and her husband, Gary, graciously invited us to visit and had arranged a shuttle bus to take us to the trailhead. Their lodge is absolutely beautiful and they were simultaneously hosting the Disciples of Dirt from Eugene for a trail maintenance event. After our last sips of coffee, final bathroom breaks and talking shop with the bikers, it was time to depart. We piled into the cutest small bus you’ve ever seen, dropped off the return vehicles and headed towards Trail Bridge Reservoir.
Waving goodbye to our awesome private shuttle bus, we did a few dynamic drills, and then had nothing left to do but finally start our run. Single file line, we started almost immediately downhill and then just as immediately, ascended uphill. After the initial rolling hills, the trail flattened out (relatively speaking) for most of the run. It was a perfect day on the trail, overcast and 70 degrees.
The narrow trail forced us to string out early, which also boded well to all the different paces we were running. Good conversations, a couple of rolled ankles, a tumble or two, running parallel to many rafters, our run was full of excitement. When we finally gathered at the end of our runs, we took a dip in the river, destroyed some blueberry muffins, and continued to converse in our post run bliss.
Our final stop for the day was to refuel at the local restaurant, Takoda’s, in Rainbow, Oregon. After many burgers, fries, and pizzas were devoured, one car full of satiated runners headed back to Eugene while the other went to the new bike shop and outdoor center, opened by Blazzin Saddles and Horse Creek Lodge.
Keep your eyes peeled for our next destination trail run on the last Saturday of August! Location TBD.
P.S. Did you know we have a whole page on our website dedicated to the many fabulous trails in and around the Eugene/Springfield area? Check it out!
Written by Run Hub Staffer Jordyn Smith