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10 Reasons to Be Thankful for Colorado Outdoors, According to Top Athletes and Advocates

Stewardship Wednesday, November 30, 2022

In this season of giving, we’re continuing a tradition of asking adventurous Coloradans to give thanks to the great outdoors.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. Alison Dunlap, Colorado Springs: Two-time mountain bike Olympian

I am thankful for Palmer Park. It is a treasure and a gem hidden inside the concrete jungle of our city. I have spent the past 33 years wandering its trails, riding the techy ledges, watching the sunsets, leading (mountain bike) clinics, discovering our geologic past, and best of all teaching my son how to ride a mountain bike on its trails.

2. Jesse Jakomait, Colorado Springs: Record-setting cyclist

There are so many amazing trails to be thankful (for) but if I must pick one, it would be Agate Creek off of the Monarch Crest Trail. Its rough and raw surface combined with a healthy dose of gravity in a remote setting make it my favorite trail I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding.

Hundreds of riders pedal right by the entrance each weekend while riding the famous Crest trail, but for those curious souls that detour off the main line, they are treated to magnificent dirt and the perfect mix of rocks and root to use everything a mountain bike is capable of.

3. Ilana Jesse, Colorado Springs: Alpinist

The 14,000-foot peaks of the Sawatch (range) provided an opportunity to confront my demons, born from the aftermath of a near fatal accident in May 2018. I was thankful to spend every free moment this summer scouting the Colorado cult classic line, Nolan’s 14, linking up 14 of these peaks in succession.

Throughout all of the talus, backcountry navigation and heinous bushwhacking, I achieved what I sought to find: a renewed trust in my self-sufficiency in the mountains as well as a love for their relentless beauty.

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