“New light breaks as I head onto the trail, beginning my morning run by crossing over the soon- to-be bustling I-40. Leaving civilization behind, the trail cuts through woods, passes streams and winds between sleepy homes. While I log miles with friends, we pass dogs walking their humans, parents and kids on bikes, and couples out for early morning walks. The sun rises higher, and the bike commuters begin to whiz by. We continue, sometimes stopping for water at Herndon Park or taking a breather at benches along the way. Soon, we’re deeper into the woods. The trail widens, and a softer gravel surface beckons those who desire a natural trail. Further still, we cross a rustic bridge, where horses might cross our path. Heading back, the tree canopy shades us from the rising sun. The trail is animated now. As we slog back toward civilization, we take special care at the few places the trail crosses road. Near the finish, the hills at Southpoint mall offer a final challenge, something to both look forward to and dread. As the run ends and I start the rest of my day, the essence of the American Tobacco Trail comes with me: a peaceful glimpse into the rural past of Durham.”
Kendra lives in Colonial Village in north Durham. She works at N.C.’s Department of Transportation in the Bicycle and Pedestrian Division and chairs Durham’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission.