A Ranch Run in Canelo, Arizona

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My ranch run on Sunday was an interesting one – I have never in my life had to check for cow pies on a run, nor have I had to tread carefully over cattle guards, keep an eye out for mountain lions and rattlesnakes or avoid squishing ever-prevalent frogs beneath my New Balance kicks. These were some of the firsts I found myself considering on my early Canelo run this weekend. I have spent a majority of my running life in New York under a canopy of sun-soaked trees in Prospect Park or in the gritty niche neighborhoods that make up northern Brooklyn or on the glistening banks of the Hudson River with the Statue of Liberty in my sights. Rattlesnakes did not enter the equation there.

 (Some pretty crazy bugs…)

There were other things to take into account for sure – vehicles and dog droppings and traffic lights – but I much prefer the big skies and fresh air out at Canelo. It’s six miles from the ranch to the gate that leads to the highway. I didn’t make it quite that far, but I went about five, which I consider a victory as the sun was blaring down on me the whole time. Along the way the cows in the field lifted their large, lazy heads as if to cheer me on and I began to count the number of wildflowers I saw. They have had lots of rain up there, so impromptu ponds have sprung up and frogs have taken up residence in such numbers that, as I said early, it was hard to tread lightly and avoid squashing them.

(In Canelo, they call this flower the Cowboy Egg – can you tell why?)

It was not an easy run, no. Unlike on paved surfaces, you have to pay attention to where you put your feet or one wrong step on a rock or mud ridge could mean a twisted ankle or worse. Mindfulness is the key – of the rocks and the lions and the sounds around you, or lack thereof in my case. At least sounds made by humans.

On Sunday it was not the sound of the honking cars or the Park Slope moms chatting or the sounds of kids playing basketball that I heard but cows rustling through the grass and wind licking through the trees and the sound of my own breath, heavier than maybe I would like to admit, but steady and present, mindful of itself and it’s surroundings on a lovely morning where, it’s possible, I was the only human soul for miles, minding the cattle guards.

No recipe today, just photos from my weekend. Hope you enjoy!

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