Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Three or four times a week, Pauline Kopsa puts on her Nordic skis and kicks around Hayden's new cross country skiing and snowshoeing trail. She glides down the small hills for a breather, but her heart continues beating heavily.
"During the winter, it's one of the best exercises for you, aerobically," Kopsa said between heavy breaths. "Up until now, there hasn't been anything in this community for adults."
Kopsa has been on other cross country trails, such as the Ski Touring Center in Steamboat Springs, and said those trails are higher quality. However, the convenience of having a trail in town makes all the difference. She said she can come to the trail after work, ski for 45 minutes to an hour, and then go pick up her children at Hayden Middle School.
Outdoor enthusiasts in Hayden, including Kopsa, say having a trail in town is very convenient, and they give hearty thanks to the work of Richard Bush.
Bush hops on his snowmobile almost every morning and pulls his homemade groomer, made of a steel triangle and a piece of chain-link fence to drag the nearly mile-long, figure-8-shaped trail, grooming out the bumps and bruises of the day before.
Bush built the trail after receiving approval from the Hayden Town Board in November. Trustees agreed the trail would be a direct benefit for the town and said it could be kept there even when the planned multi-sport Dry Creek Park is built.
"I enjoy keeping it up," Bush said. "And sure I enjoy using it."
Perhaps the one thing Bush doesn't enjoy is paying all the costs of maintaining the trail. He has shelled out $1,200 for a snowmobile and about $200 for his homemade groomer. Bush said seeing people use and enjoy the trail makes his expense worthwhile.
"It's only been going for two weeks," Bush said. "I've been out there five or six days a week, and we've had at least 40 people using it."
Bush said he has set up a sign-in sheet to help him keep tabs on how many people are using the trail, and he has put up a donation box to help pay for further improvements to the trail and possibly buy a real grooming machine.
Rod and April Branstetter are a couple of people who sign the registration sheet often. Rod Branstetter said he skis four to five days per week.
"I like it because of the convenience for a nice physical workout," Rod Branstetter said. "I like the way (Bush) has laid it out.
"It's similar to running. It's a good cardiovascular workout, and the nice thing is you can set your pace, and get stronger and better. It's a nice, peaceful spot."
Kopsa agreed, and said in terms of peacefulness, Hayden's ski trail is set apart from the big and popular ski trails.
"Here, I feel like I have my own personal track," Kopsa said, and pushed away for another quiet lap in solitude.
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