NC Triangle Bucket List

In motion.

The Al Buehler Trail on Duke's campus is the perfect running trail or a calming walk with a friend. It’s amazing how many of my most favorite things in Durham have taken their sweet time to show up as Triangle Bucket List posts. I think it’s because I treat them as  normal, so I rarely take photos or think about how I’d share it with a digital audience.

So today, instead of telling you why I love the Al Buehler trail, I want to act as though we’re real-life friends in my real-life hometown. If you were here, I’d want to take you on a walk.

Walks have become one of my favorite ways to catch up with friends. There’s something about the action that frees me up to talk – and process – differently than when I’m sitting down on my couch or in a coffeeshop. The movement allows me to ask better questions, to listen to what’s going on in your life that I love about taking walks with friends.


Maybe we take your dog with us, and he barks every time someone walks by. Or maybe we’re feeling ambitious and want to get a run in. When my Air Force husband prepped for field training, we hit that trail almost every day to run a lap or two. Even this summer, he walked for an hour a couple times each week to get some movement in while still studying his bar-prep flash cards.

There’s a lot to see: a pond, the campus golf course, several sub-trails with connections to other parts of Duke or Durham. It’s where I first saw a two-toned deer, countless turtles just underwater, and my most recent copperhead sighting. It’s not surprising to see people with massive packs training for some backpacking expedition they’re dreaming of. There’s even a unicyclist, presumably training for whatever unicyclists train for.


The trail runs about 5 km, which translates to an hour of unrushed strolling or a 35 minute run (or less, I’m not fast). It’s great for a midmorning stroll on a day off or an after-work run on the sun-dappled trails. Even in the summer, there’s enough shade on the path to make you melt in the heat.

The Al Buehler Trail on Duke's campus is

I’ll be the first to admit that the photos featured here aren’t the most glamorous. If National Geographic wanted to pick up some of my work, it wouldn’t be from this post. But this trail is so much about movement that to stop and photograph it seems entirely out of place. it’s on this trail that I considered leaving my first job out of college, that I quizzed Logan on law and military, that I listened to friends struggling or celebrating pieces of marriage and jobs and life and community. Somehow, this trail seems best appreciated in motion. 

The Al Buehler Trail on Duke's campus is the perfect running trail or a calming walk with a friend.So there’s not very many photos, because I want you to go experience it for yourself. Go walk it. Go move.

As I reflect on the Al Buehler trail, I confess I feel a bit extra sentimental right now. In a month I’ll move away from this place – to who knows where, but that means I leave this trail where I’ve done so much sweating and thinking and talking and praying and moving. And I know that given time, I’ll find trails that will offer their local flavor of movement and processing and humanity for me: a new place to invite friends and connect with new people and run with Logan. So as I think about this new motion we’re undertaking, I’m grateful for the movement I’ve had here.

Here’s to being in motion, and to the all the trails we find ourselves on.

The Al Buehler Trail on Duke's campus is the perfect running trail or a calming walk with a friend.

all images copyright Teaspoon of Nose

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