Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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Day Three of the 12 Days of Yukon

Go here if you need to refresh yourself on Day 2 (I know, this is taking way too long).

We were now executing Plan B: get to Dawson City as fast as possible and lolly gag on the way back to see all the sites. 

It’s now the morning of Day 3 and the rain had stopped and the sun was shining.  Everything in the front of the trailer was soaking wet.  We propped all the dinette pillows and the mattress topper (which weighed a ton) in interesting angles to speed up drying. I realized that we would now need an extra day in Whitehorse.  Husband (the individual formerly known as Mr X read my last post and said please don’t refer to me as Mr X) did some further investigation and noticed large gaps on the side of the front windows.  Not a levelling issue, more a quality control issue.   We needed to speak to the RV place to determine what course of action we could take for warranty purposes.  It was Sunday.  We might need more than one extra day in Whitehorse – Plan C.  I do what any normal person would do in this situation, I went for a run and let husband stew over the RV warranty and wet bedding. 

I stopped at the campground office first and enquired about running trails and local predators in the area.  He pointed me in the direction of a trail I vaguely recalled from several years back when I ran the Whitehorse half marathon.  I made my way towards downtown and found a very secluded single track trail.  It was amazing, but also unnerving as trails like this can offer many opportunities for surprise encounters with large predators and I didn’t have my early predator detection system (Kobi) with me.  I eventually popped out at a beautiful viewpoint a little ways up from Miles Canyon.  I decided to run the road back as the trail had me a bit freaked out.

Miles Canyon is way off to the top right

Once I got back, husband had the laundry mostly dried and had contacted the dealer who said find an RV place and get a tech to fix it.  That would be tomorrow. 

There are far worse places to be stuck.  Whitehorse is a pretty nice place.  I would live there actually.  We went for brunch at an awesome place called Burnt Toast.  Then we went to Canadian Tire to buy a tarp and Walmart to buy toiletries husband forgot to bring along.  We bumped into the same Fort Nelson friends as the night before.  They were grabbing some last minute provisions for their drive to Tuktoyaktuk.  We got all pumped about doing the same thing (hello Plan D).  I also learned there was a grizzly bear sighting around Miles Canyon that morning.  Recall I had been running around on secluded trails near Miles Canyon. 

We went to the Dirty Northern Bastard for dinner that night where I enjoyed a most delicious arctic char main course.  When in the north, I would strongly encourage you to eat nothing but arctic char.  

I should also note that prior to this trip, I developed an issue in my left knee.  It was quite painful to run downhill and I couldn’t bend my knee all the way.  Sitting for long periods of time was also proving very very painful.  I chose to ignore this because that is how you make injuries go away.  I also figured a slight decrease in mileage would make it go away.  

Stay tuned for Day 4 adventures.

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Day Two of the 12 Days of Yukon

I can’t believe how long it’s taking me to get these posts completed. If you’ve forgotten about Day 1, it is here. Day 1 will link you to the prequel too.

We departed the picturesque parking lot of the hotsprings early and were on our way. The goal was Whitehorse with a stop in Watson Lake to check out the sign post forest. Has to be done.

While I was driving to Watson Lake (it was my turn to drive) I had thought it might be a good idea to make a reservation at an RV park in Whitehorse considering our luck finding a spot at the Hot Springs the night before.  Of course I thought of this where there was no cell service (pretty much the entire way to Watson Lake) and hoped I’d remember to do this once I had cell service again.  Of course I forgot.  We even stopped in Watson Lake and took some shots of the signpost forest and picked up fuel. 

The sign post forest is huge! This is just one small part.

I remembered about 10 minutes out of Watson Lake as cell service was declining and asked Mr X to make the call (because I was driving).  He declined (he dislikes having to make plans and organize things) so I had to pull over and make the call.  I called what appeared to be a nice RV park based on the ads (Hi Country RV) and after some negotiating (more like begging), they saved us their overflow spot that had power and water connections.  Phew.  

Shortly after the call, I stopped at a small rest area and RV park called the Baby Nugget or something like that.  In the ads it said they sold amazing pastries and fancy coffee.  The fancy coffee turned out to be a programable machine and when I asked for an Americano the girl looked at the machine and read off everything it could make.  Americano was not one of the things it could make.  She looked at me oddly and I said not to bother (I could’ve said espresso and add water, but I was feeling somewhat snooty).  The pastries didn’t look very home made either so I opted for a 7 dollar loaf of whole wheat bread.  This bread becomes somewhat symbolic later on.

Six plus hours later we made it to Whitehorse.  That took way longer than it should have because we stopped at a few too many rest stops.

One of the many stops on the way. There were several fires causing this smoke haze.

We finally got to Whitehorse later that day and found Hi Country RV (after one drive-by) and our little overflow camping spot.  It was quite pretty and private.  I really liked this RV park.  

We met some friends for dinner at a cool little place called Klondike Rib and Salmon. It’s a very cool and very old building. While waiting for our table we literally ran into some Fort Nelson friends on the street who were travelling to Tuk. So random.

After dinner we headed back to the little trailer and settled in for the night.  I took the queen sized bed at the back of the trailer and Mr X took the eating area converted to sleeping area at the front as we both need our sleeping space.  That night it rained, as in the skies opened and it poured rain in such volumes it felt a little biblical.   Thanks to the rain and the fact that Mr X was sleeping in the eating area, he  discovered that the windows at the front of the trailer leaked badly, very badly.  I woke up hearing Mr X heading in and out of the trailer. It was about 12:30 am (so technically Day 3) and because we’re inexperienced travel trailerers I had Mr X convinced the water was pouring in because the trailer wasn’t level.  Mr X tried levelling it and it didn’t help.  We stuffed towels around the windows and went back to bed. We didn’t have a tarp.  Who needs a tarp?


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Day One of the 12 Days of Yukon

Finally, I am posting the start of my epic northern Canadian travel adventure that happened in July. If you missed the Prequel, just go here. It will set the stage for you.

Just so you know, I did not grow up camping much or travel-trailering.  I recall one tent trailer trip that left me pretty traumatized. As a result, I have no experience and neither does Mr X, but that’s what Google is for.  Based on my “what to take in your trailer” searches, I think I packed everything that was needed. I think.

Plan A: leave on Friday morning and take a short detour down to Boya Lake, spend the night there and then head to Whitehorse the next day. Boya Lake is one of those turquoise blue lakes full of islands. I’ve always wanted to go there. I did not get to go there.

I got this shot off Pinterest.

We weren’t remotely ready in the morning, therefore onto Plan B: leave at 2PM and get to Liard Hotsprings. We got to the Hotsprings campground and low and behold, it was full. I had no clue you should pre-book sites. We opted for the semi-private (I’m joking), beautiful (gravel parking lot) overflow site across the highway with at least 30 other campers. Welcome to camping. Oh, and it was raining.

I got this shot off Trip Advisor. It wasn’t this sunny when we were here.

Rather than cooking inside the trailer and having our neighbours (some girls in a car camping out of the trunk) enjoy our bickering, we opted to eat at the lodge.  Have I mentioned I’m a fussy eater? Pretty much the only thing I would eat off the menu was fish and chips. They seemed a bit freezer burned.

We didn’t even go in the hot springs because I’m spoiled. If there are more than 10 people present and it’s not a winter month, I don’t like going in. The springs were jam packed full of people (maybe because the campground was full and the overflow was nearly full too). It was nice to walk around and check things out regardless.

Needless to say, it was an early night. I took the queen sized bed option half of the trailer and Mr X opted to sleep on the kitchen table/bed as we both like our space.

Stay tuned, Day 2 will be posted soon. This trip just kept getting better.


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12 Days of Yukon – The Prequel

Greetings after a long absence!

This post is the prequel to even more posts (to follow later) about my summer adventures while travelling in the Yukon and Northwest Territories.  But first, I need to set things up for you so you know how it all began.

About 22 months ago I decided I wanted to take some time away from work.  My employer has a “Deferred Salary Program”.  They deduct 10-35% of your salary each pay cheque and after X number of months you have saved up enough to take 6 to 12 months off while receiving full pay.  I went for it.  Well, it wasn’t as simple as “I went for it”, but I’m trying to keep the word count manageable.

It took me 1 year and 7 months of deductions to save enough to take 6 months off work starting June 1.  What’s kind of significant about this date is that it’s the month before I turn half a century.  It’s also the same time that Kobi, my intrepid wing-girl, turns half a century in dog years.  We will be 50 together for 3 months of Kobi’s life.  How cool is that.

During the last three months of work I was doing some loose planning about things I’d like to do while off.  Mostly I just wanted to not work, which really seemed to surprise people when they asked what my plans were.  You see, I’ve never really liked “working”, but because I like wearing Arc’teryx clothes and insist on driving a Jeep (yes, I drive a Jeep because cool outdoorsy people drive Jeeps), I need an income to support these habits.  I’d love it if I could get paid tons of money to showcase my average running skills with my epically cool Rez dog, but unfortunately being average doesn’t draw the attention of high paying sponsorships.  I’m also not particularly entrepreneurial or highly driven so I’ve never landed a job that didn’t feel like work.  I do have a job that I like so I’m not going to complain, besides, they let you take this much time off and still have a job when you come back!

I’ve digressed.  Besides planning on doing whatever I felt like (after waking up WITHOUT an alarm), I thought maybe a trip to the arctic would be cool.  I told my arctic plan to my partner (who didn’t even have a passport at the time and who I will refer to as Mr X from here on in) and he said that sounded cool and he’d like to go with me.  I was somewhat relieved as I figured it would be me and Kobi sleeping in a tent and occasionally getting a motel.  The thought of sleeping in a tent is fine and dandy, if it remains a thought.  When you’re 50, sleeping in a tent is a sleepless painful night of moving from your back, to left side, to stomach, to right side and back onto your back every 5 minutes as there is no air mattress that can offer comfort to an oldish, somewhat arthritic body.  Don’t even get me going if it should happen to rain.  

I’ve digressed again.  Now that Mr X was on board, we decided a travel trailer was the way to go.  Nothing big, just something practical with a toilet.  A toilet was mandatory.  Pooping in an outhouse is something that has lost it’s appeal – can’t say that has ever been appealing.  Mr X spent weeks researching and we landed on a 16.5’ Forest River, No Boundaries.  It looks outdoorsy and the Jeep could tow it.  

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I thought Kobi would love the trailer

10 days before the planned departure date, the Jeep went to the shop for some minor tweaks for the big trip and sure enough they discovered the entire rear end needed replacing.  That took 9 days to fix and cost a quarter of what the trailer cost.  Off to a good start.  With one day remaining before the big departure, we got the Jeep back and noticed the Jeep didn’t have the right towing electrical plug thingy that would fit the trailer. Plan B, take the one ton dodge diesel.

What you may not be aware of, thanks to my blogging delinquency, is that Kobi has developed some pretty significant travel anxiety.  If you follow me on Instagram (@outdoorrunning) you may be aware of Kobi’s anxiety.  It all started last August, I won’t bore you with the details of the circumstances that led up to it, that’s another blog (or two).  As a result of her anxiety and because my amazing dog sitter/cat sitter/garden waterer was available, Kobi stayed home.  

Now you are all up to date on the events that lead up to the start of the arctic adventure. Stay tuned for the next 12 posts about the actual trip to the Yukon (and NWT). Looking back, I honestly didn’t know travelling could be this “exciting”.

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Kobi says, “no way am I going with you on this trip human.”


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Spring Hasn’t Sprung

I’ve been thinking of posting for months and then came to the realization that winter would be over by the time I got around to it.  Turns out I was wrong.  It is officially spring and has been for a bit now (at least according to the calendar), but winter hasn’t let go yet.

Rather than writing about my adventures since December, which would take at least 5,000 words, I shall summarize my most memorable moments since my last post in photos.  I’ve had some epic moments this winter too.  Perhaps I just attract epic adventure much like James Bond attracts gorgeous women.  It’s more probable that it’s just a natural consequence of running in the middle of nowhere with wild animals (I’ve had about 3 adventures with wild caribou alone).  One very memorable run involved a 95 lb golden retriever colliding into the side of my friends knee.  Now I know what bones cracking sound like.   She ended up with a compound fracture on her tibial plateau and will be a in a cast for 12 weeks.  Lesson learned from this, be careful when running with dogs.

Okay, now onto the photos…

7 caribou encountered on this run

Quick trip to the mountains

A little mountain trip

Just out running on the lake

Can you tell we like winter?

Out on the lake again (that’s Zola with us)

Kobi is keeping it real (and I’m trying to look all cool)

Our pack out in the middle of nowhere (a week before the knee break)

Kobi really likes the mountains

Girl power

Okay, that’s enough photo enjoyment.

I have no races planned (except Emperor’s Challenge – if I can get in).  My feelings towards races have evolved since my somewhat dysfunctional year and a half long relationship with Wolverine (recall my heel spur), but that’s an entirely separate post (or series of posts).

As I was closing this post, Kobi showed up at the door with a part of a white tail deer (it’s tail of all things).  I suspect some larger predators had a meal at the expense of the poor deer.  Life in the wild is harsh.  See, I do live an exciting life.

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Cricket is suggesting I not let that in the house

Has spring sprung where you are or is that still up for debate?

Should I have let Kobi in with the body part?  

Which photo is your favourite?


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Catching Up

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That’s how high the sun gets in winter up in these parts

Holy moly people, it’s been a while.  I’ve missed you guys and missed sharing my stories with you.  I’ve had some interesting ones that aren’t so interesting now that they’re old news.

Last time we visited, Kobi was dealing with an injury.  She’s all better now, but it was tough as I felt so much guilt doing anything fun without her that I actually didn’t go skiing and resorted to running on the treadmill.  Yup, I gave up fun for my friend because that’s what friends do for each other.

Okay, so here are some highlights from the last 9 months:

  • I ran one of the Five Peaks races – the one in Golden Ears Park

golden Ears

I laughed during most of this run.  It was awesome.

  • found a chiropractor for Kobi (only a 5 hour drive for us)
  • Wolverine (my heel spur) hasn’t made his presence known for a while now.  I suspect he’s found someone younger and prettier to torment (that will only make sense if you’ve read my previous posts).
  • spent a solid week at Green Lake where Kobi and I ran and SUP’d every day

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Captain Kobi

  • ran a little mountain race with Kobi where we ran with wild elk

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Post race selfie.  Coach Coty won the 5km and Kobi won the 10km, I came in second.

  • organized and ran the third annual Summit Run-It (with Kobi).  Lots of people didn’t show as the weather was just nasty (wimps), but it was still an epic day

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Kisses at elevation

  • helped organize and participated in a local triathlon and had my first DNF thanks to a tire blow-out and a CO2 cartridge I set off way too early
  • did an insanely difficult mountain hike (three mountains actually) in 7 hours and did not encounter a grizzly bear but did encounter a large section of mountain spiders.  That moment is still burned into my psyche and if I think about it too long I curl up into the fetal position and start shaking uncontrollably.  I am terrified of spiders, but I never  kill them as that would be bad juju and I figure it’s buying me some spider karma.

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Kobi does not fear spiders like I do

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That’s smoke in the background.  BC had a tough year with fires.

  • did a really cool 25km in the Kamloops area – A Walk in the Park (14km, 25km, 50km) that Kobi was allowed to participate in.  I asked the race director if I could bring my dog and he said no one ever asked him that before so he said sure (being a dog lover as well).  All the other runner’s dogs were impressed by her stamina as they all waited for their humans at the finish line.  I have to say that was the most fun race ever.  Really amazing vibe (I won a whistle and plantar fasciitis foot sleeves).

walk in the park

Kobi ditched me when she saw the photographer and ran with this girl instead

  • did lots of kayaking with Kobi and lots of running (mostly away from mosquitoes and bears).  On one run I ran into two bears literally 200m apart.  Kobi chased them away.  She’s a superstar.

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Paddling around our little lake

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One of my favourite runs

And now we’re well into our favourite season of winter where we run, ski and snowshoe and eat our weight in pancakes and butter-tarts.

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And now it’s winter!

There, now you’re all caught up.  You can’t tell from this particular post that winter is my favourite season, but it is.  What’s yours?  Are you in the middle of a deep freeze right now?  Best run of 2017?  Have you missed Kobi?

Happy 2018!!

 


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Dealing with Injuries

Just when things start going well and your ex-injury boyfriend (my heel spur Wolverine) appears to be gone for almost good, what happens?  My best friend and adventure buddy gets injured. Yup, Kobi is injured.

Dealing with Injuries

Kobi enjoying an off-leash moment

This started back in January, but I did what I do with my personal injuries, I deny them and try to “run” them off.  That worked about as well for Kobi as it has for me.  I gave her two weeks rest, but rest meant no long runs.  She was still running off-leash on our morning, afternoon and evening walks which added up to almost 5km a day.  That isn’t really rest is it?

Dealing with Injuies

Me explaining to Kobi she can’t run yet

The limp went away and I tested her out by taking her for a short fat bike ride.  The thing with Kobi is that when she sees the bike or me in running gear, she has to run like she stole something regardless of how slow I’m going.  Of course the limp came back.

Dealing with Injuries

Fat biking with Kobi.

I took her south to see her doctor 4 hours away and spent on x-rays what could have bought me a lot of new gear, like an awful lot of new gear (don’t get me wrong,  I’d spend ten times that on her if I had to).

The good news is there was no evidence of arthritis or joint issues.  The bad news is they don’t have a CT scan so we have to assume it’s some sort of soft tissue injury.  The vet said I had to get serious about resting Kobi. She went so far as saying kennel her, limit the stairs, and no walking off-leash – even to poop!  If Kobi could talk or had a middle finger she would’ve expressed what she thought of that plan.  So we compromised, we go for short walks on a leash down the driveway, she gets to poop off leash, and we try to limit the number of trips up and down the stairs.

Dealing with Injuries

Kobi doesn’t get the leash thing

We’re at day 22 now and I haven’t seen a limp for a while.  This is good.  The plan is to limit her walks for another week and a half and then re-introduce short running stints with a few days off in between.  I’m optimistic this will work and she’ll be right as rain again.

Dealing with Injuries

Kobi hugging her sloth. The sloth is a metaphor.

I feel so much guilt that I haven’t skied or biked or snowshoed since the visit to Kobi’s doctor.  I run at lunch from work so she doesn’t see me leave without her.  On my weekend long runs she does see me and shoots hot, sad daggers of “how could you cheat on me like this” into my heart.  The rest of the time I run on the treadmill or ride my bike trainer while she rests on her princess bed.  I don’t feel as much guilt on those days.

Dealing with Injuries

Play time before I hit the treadmill

I need to name Kobi’s injury.  Any suggestions?  Ever had to deal with a running buddy who gets injured?  Coping suggestions?