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PRAIRIE COUNTRY: Larimore, N.D., teachers hit the trail

LARIMORE, N.D. - Sue Rankin and Sue Lang love the nature of their cross-country skiing and snowshoeing workouts. The gently rolling, wooded hills behind their homes not only are ideal for skiing and snowshoeing, they provide a picturesque setting...

LARIMORE, N.D. - Sue Rankin and Sue Lang love the nature of their cross-country skiing and snowshoeing workouts.

The gently rolling, wooded hills behind their homes not only are ideal for skiing and snowshoeing, they provide a picturesque setting for their workouts. Rankin's home is along the south branch of the Turtle River about three miles from Larimore and Lang's is on the north branch of the river about five miles from Larimore.

Welcome sights

Both teachers in Larimore - Rankin teaches second grade at the elementary and Lang teaches Spanish, speech and composition at the high school - the women delight in getting out of doors and hitting the trails at the end of the work day.

"We see so many neat things out there," Rankin said. "We'll be going along and we'll see a snow-covered weed with frost. . . . The sunsets we've seen," she said.

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"Just gorgeous pink skies," Lang said. "We stop a lot, not because we can't keep going, but because we're struck by the beauty."

Friends for three decades, the women started working out together in earnest three years ago after their children were grown.

"Another thing we like about being outside is that it's such a 'destresser'" after a day in the classroom, Rankin said.

"The benefits are so much more than physical," Lang said.

ConvenientSkiing and snowshoeing are activities that they can fit into their schedules during the short daylight hours of winter.

"It's a wonderful thing to be able to walk out your back door and do this," Rankin said.

"It's not like packing up and going somewhere," Lang said. Because they prefer to be outside, the wind chill and temperatures have to be well below zero before they cancel their skiing and snowshoeing workouts.

"We like winter. Part of the reason we like winter is because we work with it," Lang said.

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She and Rankin dress in layers and wear warm socks and if it's not bitterly cold, the combination of their clothes and workout keep them at a comfortable temperature.

When it is too cold and windy to go skiing or snowshoeing, the women lift weights at Larimore High School. Whether indoors or out, Lang and Rankin enjoy exercisingtogether.

Enjoyable"For us, the ideal thing is there's two paths so we can ski and visit," Rankin said.

The two not only ski and snowshoe together in their back yards for exercise, they take trips with their husbands, Gary Rankin and Wally Lang, to places like Callaway, Minn., and Essex, Mont.

"We're always planning our next trip," Lang said. "It's a wonderful sport. You don't have to be really good to try it."

Said Rankin: "It's a good life sport. I hope I'm doing this when I'm 75, 80 years old."

Ann Bailey writes for Prairie Country. Reach her by phone at (701) 787-6753, (800) 477-6572, ext. 753 or e-mail her at abailey@gfherald.com

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