Adventure is right out your door
If you get some time, I strongly recommend you go check out a trail running race. Trail runners are a unique breed. Every run is an adventure, and they are a very close community. Just don’t make the mistake of calling them trail joggers! If you go to a trail running race you’ll probably see lots of people wearing costumes, everybody involved in cheering everybody else on, and smiles on the faces of all those around you. Desert Dash and Triple Dare are two local companies that do a great job putting on trail events. Check them out!
I’m not much of a trail runner. I’m slow on the road, but I’m even more slow on a trail. I’m always scared I’m going to break and ankle, and I’m worried I’m slowing down those around me. That being said, when I need to recharge my batteries there is nothing better than a trail run to get me motivated. Even better, right out my front door is the largest National Wildlife Refuge in the lower 48 states. Nestled on the North side of the Las Vegas Valley, most people don’t even know the Desert National Wildlife Refuge (DNWR) is there. Within 1/4 mile of leaving my front door I can be in the dirt. The DNWR is fenced off to prevent motor vehicles from entering, but it’s just a post and two-wire fence that I can easily duck under.
The best part about running through the DNWR is that you never know what you are going to find. One of my favorite experiences running through the DNWR is what I like to call, “The Mysterious Road.” The Mysterious Road appeared to me one day as I was running along a familiar path in the DNWR. There aren’t trails in the DNWR so much as there are old dirt roads. On this particular day I looked up at just the right time and I saw a road that I had never seen before. Being a curious person, I felt a little like Indiana Jones putting the staff in the map of Egypt at just the right time. The heavens had shown me this road to me, and I therefore felt it was my responsibility to see where it went.
The problem was figuring out how to get there. Of course, when you’ve got a pair of trail shoes finding a path in the desert isn’t that hard. Off I went and before I knew it I was plodding along The Mysterious Road. The smile never left my face even though it was a pretty steady climb. I was on an adventure. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew that I’d was in for something special. I had a feeling that wouldn’t be denied. Sure enough, about 3 or 4 miles up the road I saw something off in the distance that wasn’t part of the natural landscape.
Once again I made my own path through the desert in search of what I was meant to find. As I got closer I realized that what I was looking at were grave markers. The markings on them were very faded, but from what I could tell somebody had been coming to this location over the years and had buried a few pets. I’m not even sure how the person was able to find the same spot, because I’m not even sure I could get back to the same spot if I wanted to, but the markers were there nonetheless. I was left with a sense of awe at this person who had created his or her own special place in the desert to lay his or her pets to rest. I thought about some of the dogs I’ve had in the past and how I’d like to have something for them. I quickly made a choice that I wasn’t going to take a picture or give anybody an idea where this place was. This place belonged to somebody else, and I was only a visitor. It wasn’t my place to share the location with others.
To be honest, the grave markers aren’t even the strangest thing I’ve seen out there. Some experiences, though, are best left for future blogs, or even kept to myself. The point is, however, that our beautiful desert has secrets that it’s waiting to show you. All you have to do is strap on a pair of trail shoes and get out there!