2019 Running Travels: Exploring the Chapel Branch Nature Trail in Seaford

Here’s a shot from one of the trails in the Chapel Branch Nature Area. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I set a goal to run in a new-to-me location each month during 2019, and by March 30, I still hadn’t run in a totally new location in March. I did run on a new-to-me part of the NCR Trail when I ran the entire trail, which I do think counts.

However, I didn’t go there specifically for the 2019 Running Travels series, and since that was a separate goal, I felt like I should still go somewhere new.

Here’s another view from my run. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

So after volunteering at a 5K in Delmar that morning, I headed up to the Chapel Branch Nature Trail in Seaford, Delaware, where I’d never been. There are several trails that make up the Chapel Branch Nature Area. I’d heard about the trail in the fall when a colleague who knows I run told me about a 5K there. I didn’t make it to the race, but I did want to check out the trail.

I wasn’t expecting such a technical trail environment, so I tried to take it extra easy since the Salisbury Marathon was only a week away when I ran there. Thankfully, I didn’t have any problems, although if I’d been running faster or stepped the wrong way, I certainly could have.

Early in my run, I took a selfie on this bench. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I arrived at the parking lot and there was a sign that said the trails were home to the Seaford High School Blue Jays Cross Country Team. There was also a little sign attached to that sign that listed five trails.

I headed straight out and came to a clearing, where there was a bench and some signs for the different trails. There were signs attached to some trees. I basically just explored the different trails without too much of a plan. I’d originally planned on eight miles, but I decided to run five instead because I was running pretty slowly and I didn’t want to wear out my legs on trails because I haven’t been running trails too often.

Here’s an example of the signs that mark trails at the Chapel Branch Nature Area. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

Although the trails were somewhat technical, they were easy to follow and cleared out. There were also some roots that were marked in orange.

Another trail view!

I repeated some of the areas I’d run, and I didn’t really track it, but I think there are at least three miles of unique, non-repeating trails out here. A common surface of the trails was pine needles, and there was a very short boardwalk section. Another part of the trail had a steep decline and a nearly-water crossing with a log.

It was fun exploring some new trails, and it would be nice to run these when I don’t have to worry as much about injuring myself before a big race.

Where should I explore in April, or make sure I get to this year? Although I’d love to explore the country, I have the most likelihood of exploring within a reasonable drive from Salisbury, Maryland, or in the Baltimore area while visiting my family.

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