We all know that South Dakota has state parks. 

What we forget sometimes is just how great the parks surrounding Sioux Falls really are.

Big Sioux Recreation Area, Newton Hills, Good Earth at Blood Run, Palisades, Lake Alvin and Lake Vermillion are just the close ones. There's plenty more out there if you want to explore.

I was at the Newton Hills Ultra trail race on Saturday and it was flat out fabulous. What a gorgeous setting. We showed up at about 6:30 a.m. for the 30k race. The 50k racers had already left at 6 a.m. And the 20 racers launched at 8 a.m.

You know what that means in late October? About 17 degrees and pitch black.

I've been there many times but it's always stunning in the fall.

Trail racing is just like it sounds. Running around on the trails of the state park for a bunch of miles. The quick math is 50k is about 32 miles; 30k is about 18 miles; and 20k is about 12 miles. So it's a lot. And because it's Newton Hills it's extremely hilly.

Good times.

I didn't actually run this one. I tended the fire. Because it was cold this was pretty good duty.

But the lesson is: Our parks are amazing.

Get out there and enjoy them however you can.

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