The holiday season is that time of year when we tune into the things in life that we are especially grateful for. Most of us are fortunate to have family and friends whom we cherish, as well as all the necessary day-to-day material comforts.
As a trail runner and outdoor person, I am reminded daily of just how lucky I am to live in Durango with the abundance of trails right outside my back door.
Whether running alone or with friends, there is solitude in being out there that helps clear your mind and fill your spirit with all the beauty surrounding you. For me, it is nature’s psychiatrist, giving me space and unscheduled time to think about life and try to resolve any issues that may be troubling me.
Recent Durango transplant “Rocket” Nelson is an avid trail runner who moved here from Breckenridge where she enjoyed the experience of running snow-packed trails in the winter.
“Running trails is peaceful and quiet and having scenic views along the way is a bonus,” Nelson said. It is a challenging and permanent part of my life. A fresh layer of snow atop snow-packed trails is like running through a cloud.”
Since moving to Durango her favorite local trail is the Fort Lewis College Rim, because it is readily accessible from her home and has great views.
As we age, many runners find that trails are easier on our joints; the repetitive motion of running on pavement can be painful and unforgiving.
Durangoan Wendy Bailey ran on roads for many years when she was working full time and lived in areas with a lot of snow.
“Running trails feels a lot easier on my joints and knees,” she said. “I also think trails are more interesting and inspiring than paved roads, and I feel closer to nature.”
Bailey doesn’t have any single favorite trail, as she enjoys the variety of trails close to town and loves to get up into the high country in the summer to expand her repertoire.
Some of the local trails that she frequents are Overend Mountain Park, Perins Peak wildlife area and the Animas City Mountain trail.
“I like Overend Mountain Park because there are tons of trails you can loop together and the Perins Peak wilderness, when it is open in the summer months feels so remote and is beautiful.”
Patti Snodgrass has been running trails only for a couple of years, and while she still pounds the pavement occasionally, she really enjoys her trail experiences.
“When I run trails, I feel like I am really getting away from things,” she said.
Snodgrass likes the Animas City Mountain trail, as it has a fast and steep downhill finish. Her favorite out-of-town trail is Highland Mary Lakes near Silverton for the scenery and especially when the wildflowers are in bloom.
“I feel really grateful to live in a town where there are so many great options,” Snodgrass said.
We runners can all be especially grateful this holiday season to the volunteers at Trails 2000 for the incredible work they do to build and maintain Durango’s unique and abundant trail system.
Reach Marjorie Brinton at firstname.lastname@example.org.