Desert Running

Prickly Desert Outing:

Volunteering at Paatuwaqatsi, the Hopi run for water and life

This must rank as one of the most unusual running events anywhere: to cover 30 miles across Arizona during severe drought and heat. As winter sweeps across lands that once made up the Dust Bowl, I think about my time in the desert.

What are we hillbillies doing out here, in this apparently waterless desolation? Our intention is commendable enough. We’re here to help this run take place. Maybe to learn something. And, at some level, to bear witness to what can be called physical courage if not wisdom.

The event is Paatuwaqatsi, a Hopi run for water and life. It has been happening for recent years on their reservation in the northeastern Arizona. Cathy and I learned about the event and decided to volunteer last September with the Grand Canyon Trust to help make the run possible.

This desert run will have its 10th anniversary event in Sept. 13. If you would like to know more, there is a website with details, and Alex will be glad to forward you an article about his and Cathy’s experience in the desert, 2012.

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