Fall: A Majestic Time to Run

by Jeff Burtka

My sometimes avid running dog enjoying the crisp fall air

Of the four seasons, fall is my favorite for running. Running becomes easier as the summer's humidity wanes and the temperatures drop to more manageable levels. Unlike winter, the roads and sidewalks aren't impassable with snow or dangerously slick with ice. And in Michigan, except for May, spring is just a miserable extension of winter with a lot more freezing rain.

My only gripe with the fall is the reduced daylight hours and having to run mostly in the dark during the week. But that's a small price to pay for the true glory of fall running in Michigan--the colors.

In mid-October, my family and I visited friends in Traverse City and got a preview of the colors that we'd be seeing two weeks later in metro Detroit. During an 8.5 mile run, I stopped to take a few pictures. The lakes near my friends' house was circled by trees afire with color.

I also saw this bucolic farm. The sun obscured the fall colors a little, but peacefulness like this is one of the many reasons I run.

Back home, I live in an area full of lakes, marshes, and good parks. One neighborhood is full of canals that are connected to Cass Lake, the largest lake in Oakland County.

The West Bloomfield Trail is a roughly 7-mile rail-to-trail that meanders through wooded areas with a few lakes and marshes. It's part of larger trail system that is always improving. This boardwalk is my favorite stretch of the trail.

Marshbank Park and Bloomer Park are beautiful parks with some short trails that I incorporate into longer runs. Marshbank is on the shores of Cass Lake, and Bloomer is on the shores of Middle Straits Lake.

Fishing dock at Marshbank Park

Running through the marshes that give Marshbank Park its name

Bloomer Park's view of Middle Straits Lake

Looking up at Marshbank Park

Even when I'm not running on the West Bloomfield Trail or through one of the parks, my fall runs are full of vibrant scenery.

A leaf-covered bridge

A smaller inland lake

A small canal on Upper Straits Lake

With winter on the horizon, I feel blessed to have these moments of solitude, listening to leaves rustling under my feet and basking in the radiant colors.