Sunday marked the return to the trails of Parque Nacional Desierto de los Leones (The Lions Desert National Park). I went there about 9 months ago trying to find good trails on the mountainsides. Unfortunately I only ran for 35 minutes and spent nearly an hour hiking through knee to waste high grass, shrubs, and plants. I was highly frustrated and for the most part gave up on trying to run up there. Instead of asking around and putting on the hat of adventure, I made up excuses in my head and fully convinced myself to not return. I did my fair share of complaining repeatedly about no marked trails nor published maps.
This time I had a new buddy show me a different entrance to the park. We hiked to about 3300 meters of elevation. Lo and behold, I saw a nice double track running trail. We did an out an back of a total of 12km. The time absolutely flew by. My perceived time on the trail was 15-20 minutes when in reality we ran for 1:15. The run absolutely recharged my enjoyment of nature running–and it is only 20 minutes from my home. When I lived in Luxembourg, these trail runs were the norm–little did I know how spoiled I was.Since the two trail runs this weekend, I have not stopped thinking about when I can get back. I feel like a kid who cannot wait to play with his brand new toy or game again. With my new attitude, I decided that I won’t let the lack of maps/trail markings hold me back. I took my GPX files (these are files that show your GPS track on the run) from Sunday and 9 months ago and uploaded them to some websites with open source maps. I was able to match up where I was in relation to other supposed trails in the park. That gave me a better perspective where the good trails were vice the un-runable trails. I printed them out and now am excited to explore the whole park. Every weekend I plan to go back and become a master of the trails up there. It is amazing how one new friendship, a social running app (Strava), and a positive attitude can change everything.