Stay on the freaking trail!……please.

I just about lost it the other day, guys. Just about flipped my lid, gone ballistic, hit the ceiling. Lost it.

There I was, deep in the throws of a runner’s high, jogging along, minding my own business. As I stepped to the side to let a biker pass, I looked up ahead. In the distance, I saw a handful of people off the trail, down the side of a steep, grassy hill. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I thought, “Maybe someone slipped and the others were helping them out.”

I kept on running and they got back on the trail. I was getting closer and closer to this group of people and as I rounded the last turned toward the parking lot, I look to my right and find them off the trail again.  They were cutting that last little bit of trail back to their car.

Seriously!?

First of all, they literally only cut off less than a tenth of a mile. Second, THERE’S A FENCE! A WOODEN FENCE purposely put up so that people WOULDN’T cut the trail right there. Both ends of their “I don’t give a fuck”  trail, their shortcut,  is fenced off. AND, their car was at the other end of the parking lot, where the REAL trail spits you out.

I rarely have outbursts but aloud said, “Stay on the trail, people. If we keep doing stuff like that we’ll not have nice things anymore.”

The just looked at me and kept on walking through the tall grass. I wanted to say so much more, but unfortunately, I don’t think it would have made a difference and I probably wouldn’t have done it appropriately. I can’t even express how much this bothers me.

Seriously, if people keep doing this, over and over, we wouldn’t have any trails or beautiful grass fields to hike and run through. It would be all one giant dirt hill and that wouldn’t be any fun. It would be boring and ugly, not to mention all the plants and animals that would be lost. This particular trail is Green Mountain in Lakewood. It is a great place to train on while being really close to work. It’s across the street from where I coach track. Talk about convenient. But just because it’s near the city, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be treated just like all the rest of the trails.

“Stay on trail.” There are signs, they are clearly visible, and there are FREAKING FENCES!

Staying on the trails isn’t just a silly “rule.” On a well-used trail like this one, it’s the only thing from keeping the whole thing from eroding out. Don’t even get me started on social trails or walking parallel to a trail when it’s muddy. (Singletracks becoming double, and getting wider and wider every year.)

This is an example of erosion at Green Mountain after people walk to the side during the mud. Before you know it, the grass in between will get worn out and it’s not twice as wide. Then the process repeats.

Walk through the mud people. Better yet, if it’s really, REALLY muddy, just stay away!

And I totally understand that some cultures just don’t have the same values for nature and our planet as others, but then again why are you even out on the trails in the first place!? Language is not a barrier when THERE’S A FREAKIN’ FENCE!

I don’t know why this makes me so mad. Maybe it’s because I can see the signs of overuse, not picking up trash, and trail cutting in the areas nearby to where I live. They have even closed down a popular Evergreen park because people wouldn’t pick up their dogs’ poop. (Oh, I could go on for hours on poop bags. You KNOW you are not going to pick it up on the way back; don’t leave it there. At that rate, just let your dog poop out in the open. That’s better for the environment than a plastic bag!)

This is not from the trail I was on. Maybe it needs to be, because clearly a fence is not enough.

With more and more people moving to Colorado and visiting every year, it’s important to educate people. Just saying “don’t do this, don’t do that” isn’t enough anymore. Deep in my heart, I’d like to think people want to do the right thing but don’t because they can’t see the effects of their actions, or out-right don’t know, they don’t follow the “rules.”

Hmm… maybe I should have stayed on the conservation biology track. Or maybe I can help out on my own through my blog, social media, and word of mouth.

Excuse me, I’ve got some brainstorming, planning, and work to do.

#SorryfortheRant

#LeaveNoTrace

Sign at a different park.

#60HikesDenverChallenge – Alderfer Three Sisters Open Space: Ponderosa Sister’s Loop

(For 2017, I have a goal of getting through all 60 trails in the book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Denver”  You’ll see these posts all year-long. You can find a lot of info on each of the trails in the book, but I’ll highlight some things each time in addition to including my experience and opinion on the trail. The number below is associated with how they are labeled in the book if you have it.)

Trail #14 – Alderfer Three Sisters Open Space: Ponderosa Sister’s Loop
Completed: 3/20/17 (First attempt 3/5/17) | Mode: Hike with the doggie and the boyfriend!
Location: Buffalo Park Rd & Le Masters Rd, Evergreen
Distance: 3 miles
Difficulty: Easy, one hill but it’s not that steep.
Surface: Hard packed dirt with a few bigger rocks in parts
Exposure: Lots of shade, some open meadows

Ben and Tristan

My Experience:
Okay. It took me two times to complete this trail. The first time, I headed up with just my doggie. I thought I followed the driving directions correctly but I ended up parking in the wrong lot, thinking it was the lot marked on the map. This whole conundrum turned me around completely and I ended up doing a different part of the park. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for my goal, I want to do them all how they book describes them. When I finally realized I did the wrong trail (see the orange on the map at the top), my dog was pretty tired and we left to go home (he’s getting old).
Take 2: A few weeks later, my boyfriend, dog and I headed up to the same area and did the correct trail (purple on the map above)! Both trails were very beautiful and had that high-country feel. The first trail was pretty close to the road for awhile but then turned off for some pure nature hiking. The pine trees smelled great and the views were beautiful. The “three sisters” are three small mountains and the trail winds between them. Not too challenging and would make a great run!

The Three Sisters

Pros:
-Beautiful views
-Forest/High Country Feel
-Not that rocky,  good surface to run on
-Plenty of shade cover
-Restrooms and picnic tables available

Cons:
-Windy – both times I went!
-Can be crowded
-No water available

Overall:
I’ll definitely come back here to get some good trail runs in. The loop was only three miles but you can add more loops and additional trails. I would also recommend this to people looking for a city break without having to go too far. The trees and rocks give this area that high colorado country feeling.

The View from Brother’s Lookout


Check out the book:

Experiences vs. Things…2017 Bucket List

Without getting too much into it, I think our culture relies too much on measuring success based on how many things you own or how much money you make. I could probably spend a good chunk of time writing on this subject alone, but I’m not going to right now.

I think people put way too much weight on money than they should and while I am not arguing that money is not necessary, I do think we can shift our view a little bit to make life a bit less stressful and take some weight on our shoulders.

As I’ve been getting older (I’m turning 30 in a couple of weeks, guys! Yikes!), I have definitely noticed a shift in my attitude when it comes to possessions vs doing things, especially related to traveling and how I measure my success. Coupled with the new trend in minimalism (a tiny house WILL be in my future; I’m determined), I’ve definitely been leaning more on gaining more experiences versus buying the latest trendy item – not that I really am that trendy anyway.

While life has been particularly stressful lately (building a business is HARD) and my budget has been tight, I would still describe myself as a happy person. I think this is largely in part due to my ability to rely on experiences vs things to keep me satisfied and happy. It’s not just in terms of entertainment, but rather a whole life philosophy.

And with that long lead in, the reason I’m talking about this is because I was inspired by Eventbrite‘s GOMO (Get Out More Often) campaign wanted to write about what I’m looking forward to spending my money on this year, a bucket list of experiences for 2017. These are all thing I actually intend on doing this year and have been planning and training for:

  1. Eating ice cream with my boyfriend at Sweet and Eats in Golden
  2. Climbing Longs Peak (versus hiking the 14er)
  3. Sledding down the Sand Dunes in South Eastern Colorado
  4. Running a race (I just haven’t picked one yet – Eventbrite has a lot!)
  5. Sipping beer on an outdoor patio surround by good friends and good conversation
  6. Hunting for clues while on a snowboard at Loveland Ski Resort for the New Belgium Scavenger Hunt
  7. Eating, drinking and celebrating love at the five weddings we are attending this year
  8. Hiking and exploring three islands of the Caribbean
  9. Enjoying booze and relaxation aboard a first time cruise
  10. Spending time and barbecuing with the family
  11. Catching a live show of my favorite band
  12. Laughing and making memories.

What about you? What’s your opinion on experiences vs things? Hopefully I have inspired you to rethink where you’re spending your money and have given you some ideas to add to your year’s experiences.

I don’t want to judge what anybody values in life; that’s not what I’m here for. Personally, I could give a crap less about the size of my tv and owning the latest kitchen gadget (as long as I can make coffee in some shape or form). I spend a lot of thought and effort on planning my budget, schedule, and life to get outside and travel as much as I can. I am just saying, I think it’s worth a shot to shift your viewpoint, even for a second, to reflect back on yourself and ask if you truly are happy. And if you’re not, it’s 100% worth it to figure out what will bring you to that point. No ifs, ands, or buts. Yes, it can be scary to make a change but it’s worth it.

Here’s to memories over possessions,

Cheers!


Check out Eventbrite’s FREE RSVPs site!

Erin Go Braugh 7.77k – Post Race Recap 2017

2013 to 2017!

This is my 5th time running this race – I absolutely love it! I even request it off so that I can run it (or I would probably be stuck working it). I would have to say it’s my favorite 3W race.

I’m not quite sure what it is about this race that I love so much – there’s a lot of good things:

  • The course is super fun (a hilly lollipop 4.8 miles = 7.77k), dirt and concrete
  • Cute swag (green shirts with fun phrases like “Kiss me I ran 7.77k”)
  • People always seem to be happy and in a good mood.
  • Dance and costume contests!
  • ALL YOU CAN EAT LUCKY CHARMS! (In case you couldn’t tell, I love Lucky Charms. In fact, I’m eating this year’s race leftovers for dessert right now.)

Heath (a 3W friend), Me, Ben and Luke

This year was no exception and I even got to run it with Ben! #thosethatruntogetherstay together (except that I left him behind when he started to walk due to knee pain #feelingguilty). We started off together and it wasn’t until about 5.77k that Ben had to walk.

I was feeling pretty good and asked him a few times if he wanted me to stay with him. He assured me I could keep pushing the pace I was going. Before I knew it there was another runner beside me, keeping my exact pace. He was super nice and kept pushing me to keep going. If I slowed, I’d see him look over his shoulder, silently saying “come on! Hang in there!”

Wearing ALL the colors!

With just a half mile left, Chewey I learned later, was audibly speaking, “Almost done! Keep going!” We sped around the corner and over the bridge into the finish. Everything hurt but I felt very accomplished. Chewey greeted me with a high five as we waited for Ben to finish just a few minutes later. It turns out, Chewey is trying run 54 races in a year while dealing with Type 1 diabetes! The Erin Go Braugh was his 24th race and he was such a sweet person and truly inspiring.

Friends of Erin Go Braugh (Chewey is on the right)

Once Ben came across the finish line, we got our Lucky Charms and hung out with our friends. I didn’t place in my age group this year (last year I was 1st) but I was 4th! For this course, I ran my second fastest time. Next year I want to beat my Erin Go Braugh PR!

If you’re ever in Colorado in March, I highly recommend running this race. Next year, it’s even going to be on St. Patricks Day!

Race Website