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Spring in My Step

By Ann Driggers

Spring! The battleground between winter and summer is no more apparent than when I'm out on the trails which I've been hitting hard for the last six weeks. At the beginning of the trail running season I tend to be optimistic as to conditions. More often than not I end up slipping and skidding my way around in mud and snow.

Patience! Soon enough the snow has melted at lower elevations and I can claim the trails back from winter and from the elk. I have been beating a path around my regular haunts to replace hoof prints with my own, smoothing out the pock marks while the soil is still soft. The elk have moved higher, following the green line as it creeps up the mountainsides.

Trails, which last fall seemed old hat, are new again. It’s a joy to run a trail for the first time in the spring. And then again and again, each time something new to see and smell as the earth awakes. The bones of winter are gradually being dressed in a cloak of green. Leaves bud and then unfurl. Tiny green shoots poke through the earth. Every day I see new flowers, at first tiny yellow buttercups and dwarf bluebells. But then, as the snow banks recede from the pinon and juniper forests, the lovely pasque flowers emerge. This beautiful lavender bloom is a sure sign that spring is here.

As spring ramps up so do the miles I cover. More trails open up and my weekly mileage increases as my running legs get stronger. Goals are set, races are signed up for and plans laid out. Goals and long runs are even better when shared. A run shared is a run halved? More like a run shared is double the enjoyment. My friend Janis has been joining me for many runs which has been super fun. Here she eats up the trail on a 12 miler out on Carbondale's Red Hill:

Janis on Glenwoods Boy Scout trail, high up on the side of Lookout Mountain with great views of the Colorado River as it snakes its way through town:

Some days it seems as summer is winning the battle as we run in warm sunshine and under blue skies. And then winter is back again with its freezing temperatures, biting winds and snow squalls blurring the mountain views.

Well that's spring for you! And I'm not complaining especially when I get to run in places like these. 

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