I live in the Town of Pierce. It is a thriving suburb of the big city of Kewaunee. OK – I live rural. Everyone has their local runs. The Ahnapee Trail is close to my house and I enjoy my walks, runs, and bike rides on the trail. It is nice and flat. At this point I do not need to wear my GPS watch to know where the mile markers are. It is safe, away from traffic and it allows me to get into that calm running trance that only a protected trail can provide.
One does not fall out of my house onto a nice flat city sidewalk. That’s cool with me. Over the years, I have developed 4,6,7 and 10 mile loops near the house. The hill that our home is built into makes for great repeat hills – you know speed work. 10 reps of about 10 seconds each can do some real good. At my age, I don’t hit a sprint. The goal is just to get up on the balls of my feet and run for about 10 seconds. Walk down the hill. Repeat. They can be added on to the end of any run – or for that matter a kayak trip.
Without a doubt, the 7 mile loop is my favorite. It starts less than a quarter mile uphill walk from the house. The loop starts out west on County FF and almost immediately heads down the “bowl” hill. The problem with a bowl hill is that as soon as you hit the bottom – it starts heading uphill. The hill starts out pretty steep the slope decreases after about a quarter mile. The slight uphill grade continues almost to the 1 mile point of the run. The nice thing is that after the steep upgrade the view improves. To the east you get a view of the Kewaunee River valley.
After you make the turn onto County E – or what us locals call River Road – you get a nice long down hill stretch back to the river. Of course immediately after crossing the river – you have it – another uphill grade. This one is steep, but it is short. After that uphill you get a nice easy downhill towards the city. The next mile or so is the only relatively flat mile on the loop. You skirt past the harbor and over the river for a second time.
That is when you see THE hill. The one that everyone knows on Highway 42 heading out of Kewaunee north towards Algoma and Door County. The good new is if you turn around at the top of the hill you get the view of everything – the river, harbor and the lake. Thankfully, it is also the last hill on the route.
This loop is easily accessible from the Ahnapee Trail Head in downtown Kewaunee. If you would rather have the less challenging trail – feel free. If you are looking for a challenging 7 miler you have that too. What I like most is the ability to vary my runs. It is my opinion that the more you vary your running the better runner that you will become. Even better is the chance that you will stay a runner, not for one season, but for a lifetime.