These #TrailMoments Stories Will Warm Your Heart In Winter

Posted 02/05/21 by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in America's Trails, Trail Use

Photo by Karen Beck, courtesy of Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel, graphic courtesy RTC

This article is part of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Trail Moments initiative—to elevate new and tried-and true trail voices around the country, and how trails have impacted the lives of Americans during COVID-19. Learn more at and #TrailMoments on social media.

As fall gave way to winter, there was much change across the country—but what has not changed is the importance of trails. While the nation continues to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people keep using trails for comfort, for joy, and to connect to their communities.

And although winter can come with different considerations than other seasons for hitting our favorite pathwaysbeing outdoors, when following #RecreateResponibly guidelines, is still one of the safest ways we can spend time these days. Plus, being active outside has long been applauded for improving health and wellness, with its benefits ranging from helping to reduce risk of disease to boosting immune systems.

The RTC team has been incredibly moved by how many people have shared their experiences and stories from the trail—their #TrailMoments—over the last few months.

To help keep you motivated through the winter, we’ve collected some of our favorite moments and stories from the trail. We hope they inspire you to hit the trail and share your own #TrailMoments!

Hollie Sick @fueledbyLOLZ, California

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A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz)

"In a world of so much uncertainty, I know running is always there for me …. As a military spouse, not much is routine, but I do know I can count on my workout time on the trails as my 'me time.'"


After a cross-country move during the pandemic, read how runner and blogger Hollie and her husband hit the trails to feel connected to their new community and past. 

Jackie and Jeff Caradine, Tennessee

Courtesy of Jackie and Jeff Caradine
Courtesy of Jackie and Jeff Caradine
Courtesy of Jackie and Jeff Caradine
Courtesy of Jackie and Jeff Caradine

"Daily walks are a wonderful way for me to reflect on all the good instead of the bad."

Through their trail visits, the Caradines are walking out their woes and concentrating on what brings them happiness—together.

Kristen Plowman @k.m.plowman, Iowa

“At least it was a beautiful day to accidentally walk an extra mile.”

There’s no way that Kristen and her two furry friends were going to let a little snow get in the way of their walk time. After gearing, layering, leashing and masking up, the trio ventured out to literally and figuratively go the extra mile along the trail.

Vasu Sojitra @vasu_sojitra, Montana

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A post shared by Vasu Sojitra (@vasu_sojitra)

These shorter trails have helped me stay physically fit and able to connect with our natural world, and most importantly helped me understand myself.”

As a professional athlete, being able to head outside and hit the trail—whether for skiing or running—has played a key role in Vasu’s life, and is something he is committed to making more accessible and welcoming for everyone.


Check out his tips for keeping active during the winter and making the outdoors more inclusive.

Shane Mizer @lovely_german, California

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A post shared by Shane Mizer (@lovely_german)

“Milestone day! Chrissy, my amazing sister who had a double lung transplant in May, rode the Arcata Marsh bay trail on her new bike today like a champ. Exciting to be with her on this momentous occasion.”

With help from the trail, siblings Shane and Chrissy were able to safely and responsibly celebrate the success of Chrissy’s health milestone and recovery by bike.

"Baby Seb” @Sebastian_haddad0102, Texas

“Woke up bright and early to run (more like walk five feet) the @mcallenmarathon in honor of late @cityofmcallen City Commissioner Scott Crane 🙏 @mcallenparks even made me a bib!!! We ❤️ McAllen!”

Small but mighty captures not only the notion that even a small amount of time outside on the trail can have mighty benefits, but also the spirit of Baby Seb in these #TrailMoments. Baby Seb and the motivational sign from the virtual Mcallen Marathon remind us that even baby steps can have a big impact!

Ed and Jennifer Coleman @coleman_concierge, Alabama

“That's the power of bike trails. They're more than a connection between two points in space; they connect lives, loves, and memories.”

After a 40-years-in-the-making homecoming, the Colemans, a travel-blogging couple, have been riding the trails to strengthen their bond and rediscover the wonders of the state while sharing their adventures with others.

Explore the Colemans' long trail home.

Eli Stiers

“[My son has] gone from tentative to confident over the last 6 months, earning a new bike for his upcoming birthday. Access to safe trails and open spaces during the pandemic has made the all the difference.”

Eli and his son have been spending quality time together offline and on wheels, traversing close-to-home trails that feed into the region’s growing trail network, the 225-mile Miami LOOP.

Paola Tejeda

Baltimore's Jones Falls Trail | Courtesy of Paola Tejeda
Baltimore's Jones Falls Trail | Courtesy of Paola Tejeda

“Moments of joy and adventure.”

During the pandemic, the RTC team—including new members like Paola—has been using our #TrailMoments to connect (off-screen) even while working remotely, reminding us of why our mission to connect trails nationwide is more important than ever.

Share Your Trail Moment

Have you recently discovered trails, or are you a long-time trail enthusiast? Either way, we hope you’ll share your “Trail Moments”—and the stories of how trails have impacted your life during COVID-19. Take the survey below, or share using #TrailMoments on social media.


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