Finding Your Trail

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Finding Your TrailAs we move on to our next Army post, I can’t help but feel a little anxiety – well a lot of anxiety. Setting up a new home, finding a job, a day care for the baby, meeting new friends, and the list goes on… This upcoming move will be our fifth since we got married in 2006, and each move I think to myself, “goodness, there’s no way insert next location here could be as good as insert current location here.” It usually takes a while to get acquainted with our new location, but thinking back on all the places we’ve been, the memories that I hold closest are the times when I’ve ventured out to explore our new surroundings. There’s no better way to travel around your new area than to just get out and start walking, running, or biking. A great way to do that is by finding your trail.

Some may define a trail as a naturally made path in the wilderness that is neither well paved, nor well marked. However, I define a trail as a path that can come in many shapes and sizes - a loop around your neighborhood, a paved pathway in the city park, a rocky climb to the peak of a mountain, or even an old dirt road. It’s a passageway to a new adventure.

While my husband and I were stationed at Fort Carson, CO, I found an abundance of easily accessible trails that were perfect for investigating the surrounding area, taking our dog out on a walk, or going on a trail run. I feel pretty confident in saying that no matter what you’re hoping to achieve by getting outside, every location will have a trail for you. A great starting point is www.alltrails.com. This National Geographic-sponsored site has an abundance of information for trails across the United States. You simply type in your location, and the site will give you a lengthy list of results. You can narrow your search by selecting the distance from your address, trail distance, duration, and difficulty. You can also specify what you’re looking for in your trail (i.e. good for kids, dog friendly, specific activities, or trail features). My favorite part about this site is the various user reviews of the trails that will give you an insider’s perspective.

A couple other sources that may be beneficial are your town’s parks and recreation department website and www.americasstateparks.org.

Ensuring safety: Let someone know where you’re going and about how long you’ll be away. When you do go out by yourself, it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings. In Fort Leavenworth, KS there are a crazy amount of ticks in the Spring and Summer months - beware! While stationed in New Hampshire, I always kept an eye out for black bears – especially in the Spring when they had their cubs in tow. Colorado had extreme cold weather, and Texas had severe heat. It seems that there’s always something to be aware of, but nothing that should stop you from getting out on your favorite trail.

As you go on your newly discovered path, use the opportunity to clear your head. Whether you’re alone or with someone, take a deep breath of fresh air and enjoy this time you have outside. Every place will have its own set of new adventures. The faster you find them, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy them!

If you’ve found your trail, share the wealth by telling others about your discovery. Or, better yet, take someone with you on your next hike or run.

What’s your favorite trail?