January 11 2018
A runner shares a personal essay documenting her years as "the runner" in rural South Dakota.
One of the most popular draws at Rancho La Puerta is the plethora of trails that offer something to every hiker and runner, no matter your skill level. The staff recently opened up a “run concierge” program, which includes twice-a-week guided runs along the lowland, looped, 5-mile Roadrunner Trail, as well as a run clinic available at the 0.6-mile-lap track. If you want to add some serious climbing to your agenda, Alex’s Oak, Coyote, Raven and other trails all meander up into the Tecate Mountains in different ways. Most are moderate for experienced trailblazers, and I promise, once you make it to the top, the endless vistas and audible silence make it totally worth the sweat. I scurried up one of the many boulders scattered along the top to soak in the sunset that bounced off the surrounding rocks. Another guest filled me in on the mother of all tasks: a hike up Mount Kuchumma, which is 7.5 miles round-trip and takes adventurers to views of the border before heading back down to the property. (Practicing on one of the other hilly options is recommended before tackling this 3,885-foot monstrosity.) No matter which option you select, no iPhone shot or Instagram post really does any of them justice, and the silence is so captivating, you hardly can imagine piercing it with the blips of any sort of digital interruption.