Put on some sneakers, bundle up and head off into the woods for a trail run. The second annual Bluff Country Hiking Club's (BCHC) Lost Creek Hiking Trail Run will be held on the Lost Creek Hiking Trail, located west of Chatfield.

"It is a chance to enjoy fall conditions on the trail when the ground is still free of snow. It may not be snowing by December, but you never know," said BCHC member Jenny Bradt.

A bus will depart the Groen Park parking lot early that morning and deliver hikers and runners to the trailhead, and from there, it's up to them to get back to town.

"It's open to anyone who would like to challenge themselves with a hilly hike or run six miles long," Bradt added. "We will be dropping off runners and hikers at the Ninebark trailhead and everyone will make their way at their own pace back to Groen Park."

There will be an award of sorts for anyone who can complete the length of the trail in under one hour, she also explained.

"That is quite a challenge due to the terrain. At the finish, a soup lunch will be provided for participants, for a free-will donation. Anyone who finishes the full length of the trail at any pace can purchase a shirt stating 'I Survived the Lost Creek Hiking Trail'."

The run is happening, rain or shine, and hikers should wear layers and something that can get muddy.

"There will be no rescheduling. This is an annual event, and this is our second year. Last year, we had great weather and a couple dozen participants. We picked the last week of October because the trail is officially closed in November due to the firearms season - the first weekend is usually the firearms deer season opener, even though it is not this year, however, our policy is to close the trail in November."

Additionally, the club chose to host the run in October because it offers an opportunity for autumn scenic views. "Fall is such a beautiful time of year. The trail can be somewhat rugged in parts, and most runners training for a marathon or a racing season may not want to take the chance of turning an ankle, but by this late in the season, most marathons have been completed, so the run can be completely for fun and not part of a training routine."

She related, "I see something new every time I am out on the trail. There are some beautiful maintained prairie and quiet wooded areas. With the leaves mostly gone, the views emerge once again. You realize that this beautiful valley that we live in provides spectacular views."

Furthermore, Bradt noted, "The trail changes every season. I encourage everyone to make it one of their favorite places to go when they want to be outside and get some great exercise."

Bradt cautioned prospective participants to consider their physical well-being before taking on the trail run.

"The trail is quite challenging and not recommended for those who are beginning to hike or run," she explained. "However, for aging runners like myself, running on soft ground is a relief after years of running on hard pavement. It is tougher on the ankles, however."

She continued, "For experienced runners, running 6.2 miles in under one hour might be something they do a couple times a week, but it is not so easy to do on the trail."

Bradt noted that the hills are steep in places, so for those wanting to take the hour challenge, she recommended making a plan in advance. She asked, "Do you run up the hills, recover when running down the hills; or walk up the hills and run the rest as fast as possible? It is not easy."

Transportation is only planned to take participants out to the end of the trail. If someone can't finish, Bradt said they will certainly give them a ride back to Groen Park. However, she noted, the first place where there is an easy road to access runners is three miles into the trail.

"So, we do want people to arrive prepared to complete the whole 6.2 mile distance," she added.

In spite of the possible challenges the trail could pose, the event allows runners and hikers to convene with one another and converse with nature.

"It is fun to get together for an event that is not timed or competitive," Bradt said. "It is a chance to meet people with similar interests. We will have some good food, too!"

The Bluff Country Hiking Club Lost Creek Hiking Trail Run is slated for Saturday, Oct. 26. The bus leaves Groen Park at 9 a.m., so Bradt requested that participants please be there by 8:45 a.m.

There is no fee to join the event.

"We are a group of volunteers who maintain the trail and put on a few events each year, and we are always looking for people to join us. We do our best to keep the trail easy to navigate and clear for hiking. If you hike the trail, please sign our guest book, at either end of the trail. We appreciate comments on trail conditions so we can give difficult areas attention as soon as possible," Bradt concluded.

If one has comments or would like a copy of the trail map, visit bluffcountryhikingclub.org.