Soldiers Delight a runner’s delight

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Here’s part of the Serpentine Trail at Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area. I turned around to take this picture after running this part of the trail. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I grew up less than 30 minutes away from Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area, but I never knew it existed until I did a Google search looking for trails in Carroll County.

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Here’s a view from the overlook at Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I went to the western shore for a Friendsgiving gathering on Saturday, and after staying over with my mom and stepdad, I wanted to run on a new trail on Sunday before returning to Salisbury. Soldiers Delight, in the Owings Mills area, was pretty much on my way back. It’s not in Carroll County — it’s in Baltimore County — but it wasn’t far.

I parked at the visitor center. When I was talking to one of the people at the desk and told her I was planning to run on the trails, she mentioned they were very rocky. I said that was fine — I didn’t mind slowing down some.

I didn’t realize just how rocky the trail would be. The amount of rocks on the trail was insane.

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This is an example of how rocky the trail is. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

But it was fun to be in tune with nature, and like I had told the woman at the desk, I really didn’t mind going slow.

I had originally planned to run 10 miles, and because of my pace and the tough terrain of the trails, I decided to do seven instead.

My pace was just under 14 minutes per mile, but I didn’t stop my watch to take photos or when I walked. I did stop it once, at an overlook.

Living in Salisbury, I’m also not used to the hills. According to my watch, I gained 442 feet of elevation during my run, which also included some walking.

Early on in the run, I took a wrong turn and ended up being stuck by a sticker bush or something similar. I was left with some scratches, mainly on my right knee, but nothing that stopped me from continuing my run.

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Here I am at one of the creek crossings. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I followed the Serpentine Trail first, then went to the overlook — which was most of the way through that trail — and crossed Deer Park Road, where I ran on the Choate Mine Trail, Dolfield Trail and Red Run Trail. (Here’s a trail map.)

On the Serpentine Trail and later, there were times when I had to cross small creeks by using rocks that were sticking up above the water. I also ended up getting into some mud, and my shoes and socks were full of mud by the end of the run.

 

I felt connected with nature as I was on the run, so it was very strange when, near the intersection of the Dolfield Trail and Red Run Trail, I came across the backs of townhouses.

While I didn’t go up there, it was crazy to think that people live so close to what seemed like a natural wilderness.

When I continued from there, I made my way through deep leaves.

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Here’s a woodsy view from the opposite side of Deer Park Road than the Serpentine Trail. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

Although it did feel somewhat remote, I didn’t feel unsafe, because I saw different people hiking the trails, and there were a decent amount of cars at the visitor center and overlook. It was also pretty open, not tight woods.

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Here I am near the 1912 cabin near the end of my run. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

By the time I got back to the visitor center, where I had parked, I wasn’t quite at 7 miles, so I went toward a cabin that had a sign on it saying it had been built in 1912, which was cool.

I’d been wanting to do a trail run recently, and my wish was fulfilled with this run. I’m glad I decided to do that Google search and came across this new nature area.

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My muddy shoes and socks after the run. (Vanessa Junkin photo)
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