Trail Running at Eno River State Park

St. Petersburg 096While everyone else left Durham either on Sunday night or early Monday morning after Winnie’s wedding, I wasn’t flying out until Monday evening. After flying ALL DAY on Saturday from St. Petersburg to Durham, the thought of immediately getting on a flight, even a short one, was repugnant to me. Winnie and I planned on having lunch together before I left. I was on my own for the morning.

I did a little bit of searching and found Eno River State Park, a half hour north of where I was staying. The great reviews on Yelp convinced me that this is where I should go running. I wasn’t the only one with this idea. At one of the trail heads, I ran into a family of trail runners, where they quickly disappeared into the woods like frightened deer. I studied a posted map and had a vague idea of what I wanted to run. This plan evaporated once I was running on the trails because I was no sense of direction and quickly had no idea where I was.

St. Petersburg 099Instead I decided to relax and savor the experience of running out in the woods. It was a bit humid, so I was grateful that I brought an empty bottle with me and found a water fountain at the trail head. Because I had to meet Winnie for lunch, I knew I needed to get back to my car  by 10:30, so I would have enough time to get back to my hotel to shower, change, and meet up with her. Other than that time constraint I had no expectations of how many miles I would run nor how fast I would run. That day was about having fun with running in the woods.

St. Petersburg 100I got thoroughly lost. I found random trails and ran on them. Sometimes they ended in a dead-end, so then I would turn around, run back, and try a different trail. Sometimes they were loops that brought me back to exact same location that I was trying to get away from because I wanted to head back to the car. I was really really lost.

I never panicked or worried. Every once in a while another hiker was also on the trail with me. I knew if I ever got really desperate, I could ask other people. Plus Eno River State Park isn’t all that big, so it is possible to just run up and down all the trails until I figure my way out.

Serendipitously I recognized a trail junction near where I had entered the park right at 10:30. A few minutes later I was back at my car, happy with the 7 miles of trail running completed.

The trails at Eno River State Park are really nice and I liked the changing scenery from rivers to steep hills to meadows to woods. I ran the north side of the park, but I would definitely love to go back and run the southern end.


I didn’t run two different hills, but the same hill twice.

There's a lot of zigzagging that can't really be seen with this type of display.

There’s a lot of zigzagging that can’t really be seen with this type of display.

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