About

Our Mission...

To help you be better daily through mind, body, and soul by learning together how to live our truest selves.

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Have you ever considered the question: who are you truly? A simple question in its wording, but a complex one in its answering. That question, and its answer, will be the context within which you live your life, if you have the will to begin to answer it. However, in our society determining who we are, each of us individually, is a quest that is shunned and looked down upon. The quest that is heralded by society is to conform to the mold, without complaint and with blindness to any other option. From the moment we are born we are, in most cases, inundated with the pressure to build walls around who we truly are. We bury our individuality to conform.

Here at Touching the Trail we work, each and everyday, to help all of us shatter the walls around who we truly are and live our truest trails. That is what Touching the Trail means: to be present on, live fully on, and blaze your personal trail. Our goal is to forge within you an ability to commit to your trail without fear of failure and with full commitment every single day. That trail must be the path that most honestly fulfills you and that is what our society does not understand. True fulfillment and success do not come in chasing fame nor fortune, nor do they come in chasing fleeting gratification in food, drugs, sex, or alcohol to drown out our fear of being honest with ourselves. True fulfillment and success come in the form of living truthfully to yourself and waking up each morning knowing that when you look in the mirror you are honestly being, and becoming, the best version of yourself that you can be.

However, it is important to remember that blazing our personal trails is a never ending journey. The trail will be fraught with many difficult mountains to climb and the only way to overcome those challenges is to prepare yourself with the knowledge necessary to be better in difficult, and easy, situations. At Touching the Trail we provide you with that knowledge, across all aspects of health, wellness, and adventure. We hope to be a home for those in the world who want to be better, who want to break the paradigm, and to always remind that tribe that when it comes down to it, the truth is this: failure, emotion, and pain are your teachers; use peace, presence and perseverance to most effectively learn from them.

 

 

Founder & Storyteller-In-Chief

Jarod Contreras

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Our trails, our journeys, are riddled with challenges and joys, but through them we can find peace amongst the chaos. Throughout these 19 years of life that I have lived I believe that adventure has taught me what it means to live fully. I have adventured everywhere from mountains and rivers to the kitchen and the meditation cushion. An adventure does not need to occur on Mount Everest, but the desire to experience life truthfully must come from within. I am young yes, but I have learned much in these years of telling stories.

The focus of my life has always been to live truthfully to who I am. In my hometown of San Pedro, a small working class town in coastal Los Angeles, it is a very rare thing for someone to want to live their life truthfully to themselves. I have always set out to be the example and while I haven't always adventured or meditated or been vegan, I have always sought to live my truest life.

I work to flow effortlessly in the mountains. I first fell in love with that flow through ultrarunning, which means that I run extremely far on trails. That love can lead people to think that I am crazy, but in suffering out on the dirt I have learned that individuality and confidence in your loves will get you through society's ridicule or confusion. More recently I have fallen in love with rock climbing and cycling to test my limits.

I am also vegan, another point of shock with some people, but fueling my body with plants has allowed me to perform at my optimum. I extend the peace that I find in running far, adventuring, and in eating plants into a deep love of exploring my spirituality through meditation, yoga, and studying world religions and philosophies. 

These are the loves of my life, they have shaped me into who I am today. My family has facilitated this love of adventure and healthy living within me, we are a tribe that helps shape each other into our best selves.

What I have learned with my family is really what I do with this website, to help all those I can to be shaped into their best selves. Please join me in this journey, it will be the wildest ride of your life.

Go far, go further.

Jarod

 

Published Writings

-A 16-Year-Old's Perspective on Running Trails, published in the September 2015 issue of Ultrarunning Magazine

-Running Far, Living out Youth, published in the August 2017 issue of Ultrarunning Magazine

-Bryce Canyon 100: Into the Fire, published online at Ultrarunning.com (Ultrarunning Magazine)

-Enduring Youth, monthly print column in Ultrarunning Magazine

-Ted Winter's Long Run, published in the May/June 2018 issue of Trail Runner Magazine

-Home Trails, published online at RaceSLO.com in September 2018

-4 Ways to Talk to Young People About Going Vegan, published online at VegNews.com

-Vegan Street Art is Taking Over Los Angeles, published online at VegNews.com

-A VegNews Exclusive with the Face of Vegan Russia, published online at VegNews.com

-This 10-Minute Documentary Is Showing How Children Are Embracing Veganism, published online at VegNews.com

-If You're a Broke Vegan Student, Read This, published online at VegNews.com

 

Memorable jaunts

Follow my STRAVA.

  • 2018 Born to Run Ultra Marathons 30 Miler, 6:32:50

  • 2017 Bryce Canyon 100, 35:40:19

  • 2017 Sean O'Brien 100k, 15:18:12

  • 2016 Bulldog 50k, 6:14:17

  • 2016 Mammoth Family Trip

    • Duck Pass

    • Mammoth Pass

    • Mammoth Peak (via Dragon's Back Trail)

  • 2015 Whoo's in El Moro 50k, 7:37:37

  • 2015 John Muir Trail, Yosemite Valley-Red's Meadows

  • 2015 Grand Canyon, Bright Angel Trail-Phantom Ranch-South Kaibob Trail

  • 2015 Wildwood Trail, Forest Park

 

© Touching the Trail

© Go Far, Go Further

© Target Release Recovery

© Recovery Done Right

All photography by Jarod Contreras, unless otherwise noted.