Running off

Samuel Wagner

Spring is finally here. Minus a few days of weather detours, of course.

Now, I always enjoy winter, and moving here led to one of the best winters I’ve ever experienced. Being cold, but not too cold, and having the sun out on plenty of days makes a big difference on enjoying the outdoors. I went out snowboarding enough to at least feel confident about it and have some fun. All in all, a successful season.

However, I think the warmer months are really where I’m going to shine.

Back when I lived in a bigger city, I took up running as a way to sort of explore the area. I figured I hadn’t gone out much beyond my three or four square blocks and it’d be nice to get some exercise. I always liked running just for enjoyment, but could never get into using a treadmill or a track.

After a while, you find the certain routes you like, passing a certain park, a nice pond or a particularly rowdy bar. But the chance to just go where you want was the most appealing to me.

Moving here, I can tell that it’ll be a similar idea, only bumped to the next level.

It’s a wonderful feeling just picking a trail and heading off. My phone can guide me if I really need it, I feel safe enough in the trails and hills just around town and, if I do get lost, I feel confident enough to retrace my steps. You can simply walk for a while, bump into a few others enjoying the day and then see a gravel path off to one side leading down to a bubbling river. A short distance away leads to pristine wilderness, the faint chirping of birds in the distance and a pair of ducks who assumedly decided to get here before the crowds.

And this is only the start of the season.

Being able to explore and discover the area almost reminds me of childhood, wandering through forests, following streams and climbing steep hills until your hands get dirty. (Although, unlike my childhood, I now avoid going through the “No trespassing” signs.) The landscape becomes a playground, a treasure hunt, the reward being a lovely view — perfect to first take in and then to post on Snapchat.

As the season progress, I’ll feel more confident in where I’m headed, and will definitely find some well-worn trails to take if I’m trying to run a certain distance, but it’s sometimes nice to walk wherever the path takes you, and see how far you can go.