As 2020 draws to a close and we take a moment to reflect on this wild year, what are the moments where you found ease? Rejuvenation? Joy? For tens of thousands of community members throughout Greater Portland, the trail network became a space for connection in the midst of isolation and a place of comfort amid chaos. We heard from countless trail users that spending time on the trails was keeping them going through the challenges of the year.
To celebrate this spirit of perseverance, Portland Trails held the Trail to Prevail, a weeklong virtual 10K community event, this September. Participants walked, ran, rolled, biked, and even rollerbladed their own 10K route on trails near and far, from Portland to Mount Katahdin to Canyonlands National Park.
Each participant has their own story of prevailing through the year. For Kippy Smith, her 10K run on the Back Cove and Eastern Prom Trails was an opportunity for reflection. “I thought about how central running (and walking and biking) on Portland Trails has been during the twenty years I've lived in Portland,” says Kippy. “Being in close proximity to the trail system was even a criterion when we were searching for a house.” While on her run, “I passed some of the same people I've seen for decades on the Back Cove, a reminder that I'm not the only one for whom the trails have been a constant in their Portland experience.”
Susan Levin, another participant, savors every moment she’s able to spend on the trails. “I just turned 80 in August, and I've been slowed but not stopped by Parkinson's these last few years,” says Susan. “There are plenty of days that are just plain hard for me to get up and get around. But on the days that do feel good, I'm still as active as I can be.” She and her family, members of Team Susie Power, divided their 10K into smaller, more manageable distances that Susan completed over the week. In this photo, she is seen on her recumbent bike with her granddaughter (Cedar), daughter-in-law (Sarah), and granddog (Lola). Go Susan!
And lastly, for Carolyn Fernald, the trails were a place for her to achieve a milestone goal, which happened to coincide with the Trail to Prevail. “I made it my New Year's Resolution to run a marathon in 2020,” says Carolyn. “On Sunday, September 20th, I completed my goal, although it didn't look anything like I would have anticipated. In all, I logged more than 500 training miles on Portland Trails.”
While preparing for her major feat, she found herself rapt by her surroundings. “Portland Trails has provided so much this year: a place to work out, a place for peace, a place to think and center, a place to turn off my airpods and listen to birdsong, a place to see the paintings of colors of spring, summer and fall, and sunrises and sunsets,” says Carolyn. “2020 will be an unforgettable year in many less auspicious ways, but thankfully, it will be the year I spent on Portland Trails.”
We at Portland Trails hope your year on the trails has helped you prevail, and we wish you and your family a happy, safe, and healthy 2021.