Although it may seem we may never see dirt trails again here in Montana, we are likely only a few weeks out from lower trails starting to emerge from their white blanket. With trail running season set to begin, we want to take a minute to revisit some basic trail use etiquette to keep our single track trails single track!
As the snow melts there are often big puddles left in the trail that can permanently turn your brand new shoes a nice shade of brown. Not to mention that puddle can also soak your feet and be mildly uncomfortable for a few steps. That's okay! We aren't trail runners because we like clean shoes and dry feet, rather, we run on trails to chase that elusive connection with nature.
Every time we run around a puddle or mud spot we help widen a trail. Throughout a Spring runoff season it is easy to see where puddles have caused runners and hikers to tromp through fragile trail-side growth, thus causing a single path to become a double- or triple-track highway. Tromp through that puddle and keep that path narrow!
If the entire length of the trail is a sloppy mess it's also probably a good idea to find another trail or give it another few days to dry out. Deep footprints can ruin a trail for a few years. After a full winter on the roads, what's another day or two in the name of trail preservation?
We know you are excited to get back to trail running, and we are too! We will see you on the trails with puddle-stained shoes.