3 Runners, 1 Trail, 30+ Animals, & Burgers

What do you do when your best ultrarunning friend lives more than 2 hours away?  Find a trail halfway between your houses and meet there for a long run of course!  For Jen and I, that meant the Horseshoe Trail that runs from Harrisburg to Valley Forge. Jen brought her brother Kevin, who is a wealth of knowledge for me as a new ultrarunner, as he has a few hundred milers under his belt!  We met at the Pretzel Hut  in Lititz, PA which ended up being a perfect way to start and end our run.   The owners were very welcoming as I got there before they opened and they let me use their restroom!

When Jen and Kevin arrived, we layered up for the negative temps and started looking for the trailhead.  Turns out you have to open the petting zoo gate in the back of the Pretzel Hut, and walk past a bunch of turkeys, chickens, goats, and pigs.  I mean, have you ever started a run in a petting zoo?  Haha!   There’s a first time for everything!

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You can see the gate and parking lot where we started.  
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Trail runs parallel to the red fence.  You will pass a few animal pens with goats, more turkeys, a pig, and maybe some other animals that were too cold to greet us today!  The pinkish building in the background is the Dance Hall.  LOL!
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I think this guy wanted to come out and run with us.  Or else he smelled our running snacks and wanted some?

Once we were past the animals, we just had to follow the yellow blazes.  We ended up off the trail by accident in the first mile or two, and decided to see where it led.  We ran past a campsite and through some pricker bushes before turning around and reconnecting with the yellow blazes again.  Jen and I both realized we had one too many layers on so we stopped to adjust before continuing on.  From then on we were running comfortably and enjoying the beautiful scenery.  It’s always fun talking about running while running!  Kevin had a lot of experiences to share and it was really a great time.

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Some of our fuel on the run. I must find these endurance bars and order some.  Perfect size and delicious date and cranberry flavor.  Jen brought those and I brought the waffles.  Haha!

We ran about 5 miles out from the Pretzel Hut and enjoyed a nice long climb in the last two miles, although it took us out to a paved road.  We ran a good way up the road and were not happy to continue that way without knowing how long it would be until we were back on the trail again, so we turned around and decided to head back.  The view of power lines and metal fencing is not appealing when you could be surrounded by nature.   The only disappointment of the day!

 

On the way back we stopped at Eagle Rock Lookout.  What a gorgeous day to share with friends on the trails!

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Jen, me, and Kevin.  
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Check out the view!
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All photo credits go to Jen, as my phone was apparently full and then frozen (just like the water in the straw and bite valve of my hydration vest)!  

 

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So peaceful.  Just enough snow on the trails to make your footsteps feel soft and muffled.
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Gorgeous blue skies today!  
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This dude was happy to show us his tail feathers upon our return to the petting zoo.  I guess he wanted to let us know that he is boss.  
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And this chick followed Jen everywhere.  A new best friend.  Haha!  Jen, I bet she will remember you next month.

 

When we got back to the Pretzel Hut it was lunchtime and the place was getting packed.  The menu had so many yummy possibilities.  We all went with burgers and fries this time.  My California Bison Cheeseburger, fries, and black tea with cherry pomegranate were just what I needed after the run.  The ice cream flavors and cones looked delicious, but since I couldn’t stop shivering after the run (despite changing clothes) that will have to wait until next time!

Thanks, Jen and Kevin for a great morning!  Looking forward to many more miles with you both 🙂

 

 

 

 

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