Tim Bergsten created this Ning Network.

I spent this week in Missouri helping my parents move their home. After 40 years in the same house it was time to downsize. They lived on acreage in rural Missouri just a few miles from the Mississippi River. Now in their seventies, the property was becoming a bit high-maintenance so they bought a home in the St. Louis suburbs.

The home they left was a beautiful place. I was 2 years old when my grandfather built the home for us. Childhood in the farmland of Missouri was a true gift. We spent our days outside. Outside. Outside. Outside! We lived for fishing, hunting, camping, swimming, running, baseball, soccer, basketball, whiffle ball, kickball and any other games we could invent. We actually spent one summer building trails for our bikes in the forest next to our house. They were completed just in time for school to start. We had a couple of days to ride before being distracted by school!  We had family gatherings for holidays, birthdays, etc. Throughout the years we had cows, chickens, ducks, a horse, dogs, and more. We fished in local farm ponds and hunted deer, rabbits, squirrels and quail right from our back door. Really, there are too many memories to note.

Times have changed and it is well documented that children (and adults) need to spend more time outdoors. It’s shocking how quickly technology has changed our lives. The emotional and physical benefits of outdoor recreation are plentiful. It’s safe to say I was part of the last generation (Gen X) to enjoy life without the technology we currently have. That’s a rather important thought. People my age and older have a responsibility to pass outdoor adventure onto future generations. In Colorado Springs we are lucky to have organizations such as Upadowna and Kids on Bikes to support outdoor recreation. We also have groups like Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Trails and Open Space Coalition and Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates to protect and enhance our local open spaces.

Throughout childhood running was involved in most of the above mentioned activities. I can’t say I still play basketball and soccer, but running has always been a part of life. It was a blessing to grow up in a rural environment where spending time outdoors was the way we lived our lives. We didn’t consider it a “passion” or hobbies. It’s just how we intuitively spent our time. I’ll forever be grateful for the wonderful home we had growing up. It was a magical place to be a child.

For Ascent training last week, I fell behind a little but I don’t really care. Helping my parents move their lives after 40 years was something I was happy to help with. Any personal pursuits had to be put on hold. I did get three days of running at the local high school track and the YMCA. I really wanted to run on the famous Katy Trail but time got away.

There are three weeks until the Ascent! I’ll be training as hard as possible to prepare. Another memory I have of childhood is a family vacation to Colorado when I was 8 years old. I have vague memories of taking the Cog up Pikes Peak and visiting Garden of the Gods. It’s been 15 years since I moved to Colorado Springs from Missouri. Both feel like home to me and both have given great memories. 34 years after I first reached the summit of Pikes Peak, I’ll be competing in the Ascent!

Below are a few photos of our family property I took last fall. Autumn in Missouri is beautiful.


Mike Mazzola

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Comment by David Mulligan on August 1, 2016 at 11:40am

Awesome Mike!  It looks a lot like my grandparents' farm that I spent my summers on in West Tennessee just on the other side of the Mississippi River.  Priorities are in the right place!

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