What almost became #nowinter came with a bonus this year. The extra time of warm weather in December and January let me step out onto the Water Works Park Trails, something I previously failed to take advantage of while living in Des Moines. Having no snow until this past Wednesday suddenly became one of the best ideas mother nature ever had.
Judging by the activity, there’s plenty of others who’ve been doing the same for a lot longer than I have. Last week, after sunset and the woods becoming completely dark, I realized I wasn’t the only who decided to keep at it on the trails. There was probably 50+ people who were still out with headlights on bikes, radios, flashlights, or just chilling. Outside of being blinded by the bikes coming by, this was a cool experience to be a part of.
According to the Des Moines Water Works website, there’s about 1,500 acres in the park; a mix of woods, field and trails. It’s broken up by the Raccoon River (park is on both sides), a series of railroad tracks, and even a horse farm along a portion of the north end. It’s pretty unique to have a park this size in it’s natural habitat within city limits. Thank god for whoever protected this years ago before it became housing development!
There’s still plenty of the park I don’t know yet. The off-road trails have helped so far as I attempt to train for Tough Mudder Twin Cities this spring. There’s been no twisted ankles on the slopes, however my ego is slightly diminished by the 12 point bucks that step out in front of me and embellish the fact I’m not hunting them.
Overall, this place is a treasure and totally worth that driving inconvenience (you know, like when you’re on the Southwest side of town in rush hour and it takes forever to get back up Fleur or 63rd street!). I’ll take it though, green rules.