Durango State of Mind
You know that feeling at the end of the day where your whole body feels mildly sore and weary from a day full of movement? I’m not talking about tired feet from working all day or the physical exhaustion of parenting, but that immensely pleasurable feeling of having used your body for fun and physicality in a variety of ways. I crave that feeling. I also enjoy the sweat and fatigue of an intense and strategic workout, but this is different. This is fun where the exercise component is secondary perk rather than the intention.
I had the distinct privilege of living in Durango, Colorado during my college years. One of the things I loved so much about the Fort was the ease of activity and outdoor lifestyle. It’s a small town so walking everywhere just makes sense. When I lived there, outdoor adventure was part of life. Social activities more often involved being active outdoors. From trips to Lake Navajo to running Cascade Falls to tubing down the Animas River to lazy days/nights at Trimble Hot Springs, there was no shortage of fresh air and fun. Most everyone walked or biked or skateboarded for transportation. One of the things I miss most about Durango and towns like it, was the ease and normalcy of active lifestyle.
I was excited to visit Durango at the end of May for my mother’s birthday. We were fortunate to get a house in town on the south side, just a few blocks from Main Street. In the five days we were there, we only drove the car 3 times and for less than a total of 15 minutes. Twice to go to the store and once to a further out park. Otherwise we walked everywhere! I even took my family up the nature trail which goes up the mesa from town to campus. This trail was an everyday route in my Durango days and was a bit longer and steeper than I recalled…oops. I ended up carrying my 3 year old most of the way as my spouse pushed the little guy up a trail that really wasn’t stroller compatible. Luckily everybody was a good sport and we maneuvered a few stroller sketch spots. Well worth the challenge, it’s a nice little hike and the view from campus is incomparable. We cruised across campus and let the little free-loaders lose on the sprawling green space. Let’s just say we both felt the burn during and pretty much the rest of the day. Okay, I basically couldn’t walk by sundown. It’s been a while since I carried 40 pounds up an incline at 6500 feet in flip-flops. But I was in good shape and the soreness was minimal the next morning. Yay daily exercise routine and life as an Everyday Athlete!
Everyday we walked into town and after dinner we embarked on a “fairy walk” down 3rd avenue for gardens boasting fairy doors and decoration to appease my daughter’s current obsession with fairies. Third Avenue did not disappoint with 20 or so houses providing fairy love. At night with the kids asleep, and my mother happy to give us some free time, Jared and I walked back into town to enjoy some pool and local brews. At the end of each day my body had that delightful weariness of fully active days. At home I average 10-15K steps a day but in Durango it was an easy 20-25K without even trying! The all day activity means good vibes, good sleep, and good times.
My homes in Denver and now Albuquerque also boast an outdoor lifestyle with the weather, geography, and access to many fun activities. And we strive to hit the parks and take daily after dinner walks with the kiddos. But it’s just not the same. Whenever I return to Durango, it’s like my body fully embraces the change and the thought of getting in the car is immediately replaced by, “well isn’t there somewhere we can walk?” All I want to do is be outside. When walking is equal to or surpasses time spent in the car, I am a happy camper. Ah, the Durango state of mind. Whether in the mountains or on the beach, I’m always looking for it.