Photos from the Kansas River Trail, which was conquered

You could make the argument the last time Nick and I ran the Kansas River Trail we saved someone’s life. A twiggy teenage boy with pasty eyes ran until he was turned around from the endless switchbacks. He was separated from his running group and didn’t have the slightest clue where he was.

We took to the trail and the make-shift parallel bars Sunday afternoon.

By chance we crossed paths and he asked if he was running west. He was running east. We pointed him in the right direction and told him about a shortcut that would lead him to the trail’s parking lot about two and half miles away. The temperature was encroaching on 100 degrees and his last drink of water was hours before. We later found a search party looking for him. He wasn’t the only victim of the heat and humidity. Nick and I both started to feel dehydration hit us as our water ran out on the 12-mile trail. We both saw stars and limped home.

Sunday was nothing like that. For one, we could tolerate wearing shirts. Two, there weren’t any teenagers looking for a tree to die under.

Like most trails, the Kansas River Trail is great. The Huck Finn topography forces you into intervals and climbs. It strengthens your stability muscles, your ankles, your core, and it always keeps you guessing. You also get to wear trail shoes, if you have them, and that makes you feel tougher than you are. The only addition to this run that would have made us feel extra 127 hours-y, would have been our CamelBaks. We weren’t running long enough to need those, so they stayed at home.

At the entrance/exit to The Kansas River Trail is a set of pull-up bars and dip bars. They’re shoddy as hell, but also awesome for those same reasons. We’ve nicknamed this spot the “Terrorist Training Camp,” for their resemblance to grainy Al Qaeda videos of guys playing around on monkey bars. At the end of the trail (we only ran five to six miles of it, not the Full Monty) we hammered out some pull ups and dips.

I brought my iPhone along to snap some photos of the trail so I could share it with you all.

There are downed trees, roots, animals and other magical forest wonders along the river trail.

This is one of the shallower embankments. There are some serious ridges along the way.

This is one of the turnaround points. It was a good afternoon for a run.

There are steep inclines that arrive without notice. On this trail, you only see the path about 20 feet at a time. Foliage, hills and turns keep you guessing.

I was thankful for that orange tape. Also, I promise I have a neck.

Pretty standard footing.

This was a pretty rapid descent that required good balance.

This is one of the last inclines before the exit.

As you can see, these pull-up bars differ starkly from those at the gym. These are far more badass.

We popped open Camera+ for these dip photos.

Nick says he dips too low. Nah.

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