Over the past two and a half months, I have thru-hiked across the greater U.S. Southwest desert. Over some 1,400-or-so miles I have connected the Gila Mountains of southern New Mexico to the Henry Mountains of southern Utah. I walked through the snow and out into the blooming Sonoran desert of Arizona following the warming temperatures north into the canyons. Right now I am tired, but am eager to return home to the mountains around where I live in Silverton, Colorado and run without the weight of a heavy pack on my back in the cool mountain air.
[Author’s Note: I started in early March, just before the world shut down during the pandemic. I asked friends and family in the medical world, local people, and other hikers if continuing to hike was okay and they all told me to keep going. I altered and shortened my original route to hike through public lands which remained open and I limited my interactions in towns to only resupplying.]
This hike for me was just another way of getting to know the southwest area that I call home. I’m equally as curious to hear what kind of routes, runs, or places everyone else is dreaming up now that so many races are off the calendar. Maybe there is a loop you’ve been scheming out your front door or in your nearest mountain range? Maybe it’s going to the top of that mountain you can see from town but haven’t gotten around to? Or maybe running every single street in your town like Rickey Gates? Or maybe it’s not running at all and you are taking the time to pause and work on other projects like fixing up your house, picking up a new hobby, or simply just relaxing?
While racing is the social aspect of running, it goes without saying that we don’t need races to run. The COVID-19 situation has shown that no matter what, we run. It’s that simple. Running is unique because it requires nothing but a pair of shoes and you can do it anywhere—even if it’s circles in your driveway.
That being said, I like dreaming big. I have my own hopes to return someday to Nolan’s 14 (and sneak in under 60 hours this time)—if my knees can hold up—or scramble some peaks in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains like Jagged or Dallas that I know would push my limits. And I would like to get some speed back, something that I’ve lost with hiking. I also have dreams to be more balanced. Maybe stay home long enough to hold down a job or a relationship or learn to fix the things that need fixing in my house.
Whether it’s running projects or personal projects, it always feels exciting and adventurous when you’re about to do something a little different than you’ve done before. And I hope that, as part of this, we’re all using our same adventurous spirits and energy to stand up for each other and fight against the inequalities in our world.
Call for Comments
- So, what’s your next adventure in running?
- And how about the next adventure of your life?