Sometimes I need a little extra inspiration to lace up my running shoes and go for a jog. With the scorching summer temperatures giving way to cooler weather, I changed into my running clothes after a recent day of work and headed out to the Museum Park. I grew up visiting the Museum, but the farthest I had ever gotten into the Park was the theater.
Eager to get outside and squeeze a bit of exercise into my schedule as a journalism student at UNC-CH and marketing intern at the Museum, I chose the Explorer Trail. The scenic 2.3-mile path winds past the Museum, beside the newly terraced pond, along rolling hills, and through shady woodlands, offering a comprehensive view of the Park.
Dramatic works of art scattered throughout the grassy fields and along the tree-lined trails make the Park a unique setting for running. I stretched on benches constructed from remnants of the former youth prison that once stood on the grounds, pounded across pavement tattooed with floral designs, and ran between skyscraping circles. The art kept the run interesting as the works appeared in the distance, serving as an incentive to push forward. A monumental human form sprawled across the top of a ridge, while another one curled up into a ball in the woods. Towering sculptures like surreal tree trunks made for a dreamlike landscape. I had seen many pictures of the Park before, but the pieces were much more powerful in the natural setting. And for a tired runner, they offered a great excuse to rest and take a breather.
The trail was fairly quiet, with the occasional bicyclist whizzing by me on the downhill and a few fellow runners passing by with a casual wave. The scenery and seclusion the Museum Park offers is just the incentive I needed to get out and enjoy this refreshing fall weather.