Ear to the ground:

“Everyone says they’re so nice, but every time I meet one they’re a complete asshole.”
– Local traveler relaying her experiences with our neighbors to the north

The ‘off’ season

Champion snowshoer and Durango resident Sandra Lee is working to give kids in her hometown of Beclabito, N.M., something she never had as a kid: a trail that teaches the importance of nature and fitness.

Lee, who grew up in the Navajo reservation town southeast of Teec Nos Pos, is working in conjunction with her coach and local fitness guru, Steve Ilg, as well as the Beclabito Day School.

The two have been spending a good chunk of their off season working their cores swinging Pulaskis and McLeods while building a trail at the school, and they are looking for a little help.

Lee is known as the first female Native American to qualify for and compete in the National Snowshoe Racing Championships. Snowshoeing, by the  way, is a Native American invention.

“The very fact that there was not a Native American representing the incredibly intense sport of snowshoeing racing pretty much appalled me,” said Ilg, a former snowshoe racer himself who puts on the annual “Winter Warrior” 10k Snowshoe Race at the Durango Nordic Center.

Since starting to snowshoe race, Lee has used it as a platform to bring attention to the epidemic of obesity and diabetes among her people. Obesity, the underpinnings of type II diabetes, begins in early childhood for Native American children, according to the Notah Begay III Foundation. As such, Lee’s mission remains simple: to restore the Native American’s natural and historic tendency toward exercise, particularly running. The trail is a huge first step.

The trail, which was designed by Ilg, winds through a riparian area containing the spring from which Beclabito gets its name. (“Beclabito” means roughly “the place where the water runs beneath.”) It also includes a sandstone section, a sagebrush meadow and an area known as “Cottonwood Corner” where Lee used to play as a kid. “I never had a trail or anything as a kid there, and there is still not even a public basketball court, trail or anything to inspire a fitness lifestyle.”

If you would like to help Lee’s mission, as well as get in some good core work, trailwork days will be held every Saturday through August at the Beclabito Day School. For directions, go to Google Maps,   call Ilg at 818-590-2922 or email him at Steve@WholisticFitness.com.

If swinging Pulaskis isn’t your thing, monetary donations are also gladly accepted to help pay for materials to build bridges, signage and fitness stations. To donate, go to: www.WholisticFitness.com and  scroll down under “Events.”