This Open Road

A season walking southbound on the Appalachian Trail

Training Ground

Yesterday I enjoyed another long run down my favorite road, which leads north out of Laramie. A left and another left from the door of my apartment, and within 15 minutes I was running through the expanse that is the Wyoming plains.

After unobtrusively slipping out of the neighborhood, this simple road seems to be making an escape through the rolling terrain, leaving town behind, and heading into the wide and windy emptiness.


This scene ignites my need to run, enticing me to go further, and sometimes faster, just for fun. After several weeks of running this road, it’s familiar. I steadily push myself up the first hill, anticipating the landscape that will open before me as I reach the top. Then I ease back, regaining a steady breath and finding a pace I can manage fluidly for the next couple of hours and however many miles.




Occasionally, a cyclist passes me. I’m happy to be running, moving freely, working every part of my being. I have everything I need to be out for a long time: my hydration pack, food, ID, wind shirt, sunscreen, visor. And on this day, I’ve brought my camera. The morning is cool and beautiful. Pronghorns populate the grasslands of Wyoming and I see them every time I’m out here. I hope to get a picture.

I stop several times to capture the view. The clouds are perfect; the wind strong, now calm, just as it’s been forever, and as it will be, forever.

This is my own personal rave run and I love it.


A lone pronghorn. I usually see three or four in a group.


I see the boundaries that form the edges of this high, broad valley. Just to the east are the Laramie Mountains – hardly seems so, their incline is so gentle. To the west, in the distance, are the Medicine Bow Mountains, containing the Snowy Range.

Medicine Bow Mountains on the horizon.

The Medicine Bow Mountains on the horizon.


The road dips in and out of small depressions, tracing the contours and sometimes straightening out for a mile or more. It passes homes and barns, scattered on the land. It runs by narrow dirt roads leading to private property. And it just keeps going.

The barn at mile 4.2.

The barn at mile 4.3.


One day, when I had a car for the weekend, I clocked the mileage of the distance I want (need) to run before the marathon. I drove 10 miles. Eventually, the road narrowed, then the shoulder disappeared. The pavement wound tighter and higher into a shallow canyon. I took the first opportunity to turn around when I found a place wide enough. For now, what’s beyond that point is a mystery.

That’s the distance I’ll go for my next long run, in a week. 20 miles. 10 out, 10 back. The extra 6.2 I have to manage in a month will also be a mystery.




10 responses to “Training Ground

  1. kari June 30, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    what beautiful land and sky. you run free like a pronghorn! Have you seen any babies?

  2. Carylon June 30, 2014 at 10:43 am

    You make me want to run… and we all know… that ain’t gonna happen!!!

  3. Uncle Dan June 30, 2014 at 10:05 am

    The 6.2 miles will take care of themselves as long as you don’t “cheat” on your pace. I am so envious………………

  4. brickthomas June 30, 2014 at 9:29 am

    What a beautiful place to run. Thanks for sharing.

  5. jannele2014 June 30, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Wow. This looks like some awesome country to run through. I love me some wide open spaces!

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