Colorful Trail Running

Labels are tough. They never really convey the whole truth about anyone or anything. That’s why it can be intimidating when you get referred to as a “trail runner.” For me, when I hear the words “trail runner,” I immediately think about those people around here who like to head out for hours at a time, cruising up the side of mountains like one of those goats from Scotchman Peak. The whole time, they are singing songs and cheerfully commenting on how beautiful the scenery is. No sweat, no crying, just them smiling and being the epitome of strength and athletic beauty.

Then there’s the rest of us. The sunburned, heavy breathing folk who can scare off bears and mountain lions with a single foot step. But as the old adage goes, “practice makes perfect,” we diligently head back to Greta’s Segway, get lost in Syringa, and cry with relief when we finally find our car at the end of our run. 

What you may not know about trail running is that the coolest thing about this whole experience isn’t necessarily the running part. It’s a combination of the amazing views, the heart pumping unidentifiable noises rustling in the bushes around you, and the fact that when you really just can’t run anymore, walking is considered totally legit. Yes, trail runners WALK. Especially on hills. Or through huckleberries. Because eating on the run is totally a thing on trails.

Schweitzer’s 32km of winter cross country ski trails are a fantastic place to practice this said “trail running” thing with incredible sights to see from every angle. On days when motivation runs high, you can head out to one of our favorite trails, Wolf Ridge. It’s a sweet single track through huckleberry bushes, leading your gaze towards that beautiful back bowl of Schweitzer. 

If you’ve never explored off pavement or even considered running for fun at all, our Huckleberry Color Fun Run & Walk (see, there’s that word ‘WALK’ again) is a great way to get a taste for all this trail running stuff. You head out into the beautiful Schweitzer woods with friends & family and get an added bonus of being showered with biodegradable colored powder… thus proving to everybody that you actually went trail running. Your kids will enjoy beating you to the finish and will happily cover any uncolored spots on your t-shirt with pink, purple or yellow during the group color toss. It’s pretty hilarious actually and a heck of a lot more fun than trying to run away from a goat at high altitude.

Honestly, I think it would be awesome if all my trail runs ended with massive giggles and an explosion of color that makes my clothes match my already bright red race. That sort of joy and laughter is just the motivation I need to actually call myself a trail runner. Oh and trail snacks. Definitely trail snacks.

This article first appeared in the August 2017 issue of Neighbors by the Bonner County Daily Bee.