This was my 2nd attempt running the Fort Ransom State Park Loop. This is a very fun trail, but, at the point where I started the loop (Pederson Hills Trailhead, running clockwise), the first half of a mile is "straight up" (ie, from a flat Fargo point-of-view ... ha). I didn't realize ND had switchbacks! Haha. The trail started with a dirt single-track with lots of dry leaves covering the path (Nov 6, 2021), but I seemed to still have good footing, watching as best as I could for the few rocks and roots on the trail. Then, there were some very nicely-groomed wider cut-grass sections once you reach some of the high-points / plateau. A pool of water existed at 2 or 3 trail locations; each was about a 6 to15 feet stretch of water completely covering the trail several inches deep, but the very edge of the trail was still dry and very traversable. No messy mud was seen for any other part of this entire trail. I hit another fairly steep grade (for a flatlander) while heading up from the Redetzke Ridge Trailhead. Running along the Sheyenne River while on the North Country Trail is a nice way to finish off my loop (based on where I started near the Pederson Hills Trailhead).
On my first attempt, I saw 1 person in the entire park near the Visitors Center. On this attempt, I saw several groups of people, and I had to pull over to the side for 2 nice groups of horseback riders to let them go by from the opposite direction. I also ran past a couple different hikers along the route. No one ran with me for any period of time, and I had no water or food along the entire route. I ate and drank plenty beforehand.
Overall, I loved this route. It was a lot of fun, and, despite the uphill, the downhill was very runnable. It was mostly clear skies with 62 degrees F, 41% humidity, and wind 7.2mph from SSW.