Monday, June 21, 2010

Tuesday Trails: Park (Minnesota) Point, Duluth, MN

Hello Minnesota runners! Like many of you (probably over 10,000 or so), I am sore and still tired from the Grandma's Marathon and Half weekend festivities. I ran the full on Saturday. I may not have had my best time in the race, but I had a great time over the weekend celebrating running and runners! It was a great weekend, and so much fun to cheer and support so many MDRA and other finishers.

So, like many of you, I'm not wanting to think too much about running this week, so I'm not up for a big trails blog post. So instead, I'll toss out a "trail" I've never run on, and see what you all think. I'm drawing my inspiration this week from Grandma's Marathon and this week's trail report takes us to Duluth: Park Point (a.k.a. Minnesota Point).


Background

My familiarity with Park (Minnesota) Point stems from many quick vacations over the years to Duluth. With its easy access from Canal Park just over the famed and historic Aerial Lift Bridge, Park Point is the logical place to go to access the rays and enjoy Lake Superior.

Park Point Beach is a great place to play in the sand and sun...

This past weekend the weather in Duluth was phenomenal! After the marathon we sloooooowly shuffled over the bridge and had a picnic on the beach right under the shadow of the lift bridge. We even walked in to ice our aching muscles.

...and an even better place to ice sore muscles after a marathon!
Sunday was even better! We drove back and went to a larger beach area and relaxed on the beach for a few hours, working out the singlet tan lines from the day before.

Park Point may be better known by the locals as a place for high schoolers to chill and start illegal bonfires. A couple years ago, post-Grandma's, we tried to do the same thing and were politely scolded by local cops.
Basics
According to Wikipedia, Park Point is 7 miles long on the Minnesota side, and 3 miles long on the Wisconsin side, making it the largest freshwater sandbar in the world. The beach really is spectacular and reminds me more of an ocean beach than a lake beach. I have been told that the entire beachfront is public access, in spite of all the homes that front the sand dunes.

This leads me to believe that at 7 miles in length, Park Point is a 14 mile round-trip beach run waiting to happen. I don't know about you fellow Midwesterners, but I LOVE running on the beach. I've run on beaches in California, Virginia, Argentina, Uruguay, Puerto Rico and Mexico. I have not, however, run on any beaches in Minnesota, mostly due to lack of length. Park Point seems an obvious place to beach run. Anyone out there try this?

Impressions

The beach is amazing, really reminiscent of ocean beaches. The dunes are beautiful and are undergoing restoration and revegetation. It's usually pretty windy along the beach, but this past weekend, there wasn't any breeze and the lake was the calmest I had ever seen it.
Race Venue?
I'm not sure there are any races on the beach itself, but apparently Grandma's sponsors a 5-miler on Park Point in July on the paved road on the peninsula. This year's race is July 16.
Whether racing, running or relaxing, Park Point is worth a visit!
Enjoy the trails!

1 comment:

Frank said...

Argentine beaches are really nice!
I found an apartment rental Buenos Aires and in the weekends I go to Mar del Plata or Villa Gesell.
I love to spend as much as I can in the beach, even though now is winter...