Probably one of the best parts of trail running is when you come upon some undiscovered new country, a variety of trails that no one else knows about. I run part of the year in the mountains of the Colorado Rockies, anywhere from 8700 to 12,000 feet in altitude. Every now and then, I come across a new adventure or better said, the finding of an undiscovered country.
Early this summer, I discovered a trail that led to thousands of wooded acres of a forgotton pre-development housing area, which was never built, thanks to the recession. Yes, I had to jump a fence or two and ignore some of those no trespassing signs, but trail running is not for the meek. There were a multitude of construction trails and plenty of clear cut logging which made it great for exploring.
I can now run 5, 10 or 15 mile daily sojourns without seeing another person, car or damn dog(s). Note: I have had it with bad owners and loose, barking and snarling dogs to last a lifetime! (An article for another day.) My only companions are the eagles and hawks, flying high overhead and the occasional fox, moose, elk, deer or goat that watches me run, without comment. I started going out earlier and earlier in the morning, just because I couldn't wait to rejoin my 'own private Idaho'. (You know the old song.)
I started hiding bottles of water and power bars in a few secluded trees, marked by my perfectly stacked cairns. I usually stay out so long, I need extra supplies to stay fed and hydrated. You get hungry and thirsty quickly, on a hot day in the high altitude. Oh yes, did I forget to mention wet wipes? Occassionally, mother nature calls.
Standing on a mountaintop and being able to see 100 miles in every direction is something every trail runner needs to experience. I think the best part, however, is the absence of noise. I think the word used is 'quiet' or 'silence'. Hearing just the wind or your own breathing while churning out the miles, makes you feel Alive! No, it's more than that, it makes you feel like you are the luckiest person to be alive!
You don't need gadgets, electronics, a noisy ATV or a $10,000 mountain bike. All you need are your running shoes, plenty of water and a little adventure!
P.S. Below are a few photos taken during my trail runs.