Weekend Trail Running: Goshawk to Doudy Draw Trail

When my mom called me on Sunday night to catch up, I didn’t tell her I spent the better part of the weekend alone, overcome with loneliness, self-doubt, insecurity—you name it, I felt it. I didn’t tell her that I stood at my counter chopping vegetables for dinner, periodically sobbing into a dish towel. I didn’t tell her that I laid on my floor listening to John Mayer all night reliving mistakes of lifetimes past and the guilt I’m not sure I’ll ever overcome. 

So instead, I told my mom about my long bike ride on Saturday, and I texted her pictures of my run on a new-to-me trail on Sunday morning. I asked about my dad and my sister and my grandma. I put a smile at the end of every sentence, and I let her do most of the talking.

I kept a lot of things to myself because one of the things I’ve learned being a daughter to my mother is what kind of information to share with her. She’s a worrier, especially about me—about my past and about my happiness—and I know some information like spilling tears on my sliced zucchini would keep her up at night. So, I keep things like that to myself. A large part of growing up is learning how to protect your parents, like they protected you.

I’m trying to remember that loneliness is a universal emotion for the single crowd, especially during these isolating times, and it’s not something that needs to be dismissed; rather acknowledged, aired out, worked through.

Anyway, on Sunday morning I really did go on an epic trail run in Boulder. It wasn’t the trail run I expected to do because my plan was to visit Eldorado Canyon State Park, which is about 30 minutes from where I live in Louisville, CO. When I arrived around 9:30 a.m., I—in addition to a long line of cars—was denied entry since the lot was full. I didn’t have a backup plan, but I made one quickly by parking at the Doudy Draw open space lot down the road a couple miles. I had run pieces of the trail before so I was familiar with a couple of the sections, but I didn’t fully know what I was in for.

The first couple miles of the figure eight route were uphill the whole way. It was a little brutal and didn’t leave room to get much of a warm-up, but eventually the trail started rolling as I approached the Flatirons. As I got closer, they got bigger and more beautiful and more detailed; I wanted to reach out and run my hand along the soft sandstone poking into the cloudy sky.

^^^ This lady was at least 20 years older than me and she was crushing these trails (and me). That’s Boulder for ya.

There were several forks along the route, so each time I approached one I pulled out the AllTrails app on my phone (thank goodness I still have service in the foothills) to make sure I was headed in the right direction. After looking over the map a few times, I pretty much understood which way to go based on the way the trail curved, so if you’re naturally directionally-challenged like me, it’s pretty intuitive once you get out there.

My favorite part of the trail came around mile3 or 4 when a long and steady gravel descent rounded a corner and cut straight through a huge rock formation.

It looked like it was perfectly sliced and diced to allow a road to run through the middle, which was awesome and kind of sad at the same time. When you come out the other side, you’re about as close to the Flatirons as you can get on the trail.

They are so massive and so beautiful; I stopped for a minute to take them in and thank whoever was listening that I ended up in this city and on the trail that day.

About a half mile later the trail took another brutally steep turn up into the woods. Like, so steep. I had my hands on my knees and felt like I was face to face with the dirt under my shoes. That didn’t last too long, but it made a lasting impression on my quads that’s for sure. A steady and winding singletrack trail through the forest spit me back out to the bridge I passed a few miles back and into the bottom half of the figure eight piece of the trail.

The views in this section were gorgeous; I tried my best to focus on my feet and avoiding another fall, but every so often I snuck a peek at the Flatirons and little city below.

When I reached the first fork of the trail, I was on my way back to the parking lot, which was downhill the entire way—and it was glorious. The trail itself wasn’t very steep, but the rolling trail adds up in the end and later that night as I lugged my groceries up my stairs, I felt the miles.

When I rolled back into the parking lot and collapsed against my car, I had covered about 8.5 miles with over 1,000 ft of elevation gain. It certainly wasn’t my biggest or hottest run, so I didn’t feel completely trashed, but I did feel very happy to explore a brand-new place. Over the past three years living here, I’ve learned that discovering new places on the run and on the bike is something that makes me so happy and feels fulfilling in a strange way. I’m not saving lives doing what I do—except my own.

I am definitely keeping this trail in my rotation, and I have a feeling it will be good (and safe) one even when we start to get some snow.

What was a highlight of your weekend?

4 Replies to “Weekend Trail Running: Goshawk to Doudy Draw Trail”

  1. Amazing route, and the scenery looks so beautiful! If I ever have the chance to visit the USA, I’ll definitely come back to your posts as inspiration for places to visit and do some road cycling! 🙂

    My highlight of the weekend was watching the final stage of Le Tour. What a plot twist!

    Sending warm wishes from Europe!

    1. If you ever visit definitely put Colorado on your list. I think I could live here for my whole life and never see everything it offers. The final stage was AMAZING. Oh man, what a Tour this year! I am so happy they were able to pull it off amidst COVID.

  2. Oh friend, I can relate to the start of this post all too much. Although I am not that good at keeping my fluctuating emotions to myself. My mom has been the soundboard for all of my ups and downs, but I think I needed to read this post to remind me that my mom likely struggles along with me when I unload on her.

    Though not always easy, I like how you phrased is when you said we have to protect them like they once protected us. So, I think I will give that a shot!!

    Your vulnerability is always a reminder that we are not alone in this big lonely world. Thank goodness for trails like this to somewhat help.

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