By Kelsey Bracewell
I love running the Dahlgren Trail but admittedly, I came to love it by accident. I didn’t move to this area with any significant amount of running experience, but I chose the activity as a way to become part of a community. I first found the trail through participating in the annual half marathon that is hosted there in the early spring. I ran that race for several years in a row, but otherwise I didn’t visit the trail very often.
This season of quarantine brought me to the trail in search of exercise and the simplicity of nature. I’ve spent countless hours over the last several months running, walking, wandering, watching, and experiencing the trail like I never had before. I have challenged myself to run the entire trail, and in such challenge found comfort and familiarity within the character of every mile. I have come to easily recognize and relish the trail’s variations – from gravel to smooth stones to earth, grass, and sand. I enjoy identifying common plants, stumbling upon a turtle, snake, or rabbit, and feeling just as much at home as the mile markers that I count along my way.
While I greatly enjoy the solitude of exploring the trail alone, some of my fondest memories have been running up upon other friendly trail users who love it as much as I do, and they tell me a bit about why the trail means so much to them. I’m remarkably thankful for the opportunity to use and know the trail, and I’m grateful to all those who give their time and energy to caring for it.
Click to read more of our August 2020 newsletter, On the Trail
Friends of DRHT President Jim Lynch snapped a photo of Bracewell (above, right) at the DRHT caboose along with two hikers, Sam and Cory. Below, some of Bracewell's photos of the trail and its flora and fauna.
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