Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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Nothing is Ever Easy

dog in a lake

Kobi after her swim

I’m all about structure in my life and Wednesday is scheduled as my second of four runs for this week.  I decide that this run shall be to a small lake that Kobi loves to swim in.  She loves a nice mid-run swim to cool down and it was quite hot out.

I proceed to get my gear ready.  I decide to use the largest of my three hydration packs as I can put more stuff in it.  I opt not to use the water bladder and instead just toss in a bottle of water, a bag of sport beans, my phone, my camera (the camera on my phone sucks, I think I wrecked it somehow), a hunting knife (hey, you just never know), the biggest canister of bear spray I own, chapstick (can’t go anywhere without that), and several gels.  Please note  it is only 7km to the lake and back, not 50km.

This hydration/backpack now weighs 7 pounds, seriously.

We finally head out along our favorite trail and as we pass a nice cool riparian area Kobi goes charging and barking into the woods.  Likely a bear, but I’m not afraid of bears anymore as I was talking to a Conservation Officer in town and he said they have had no reports of aggressive bears in town.   This means that I’m safe from all bears – in my naïve little mind.  Naivety is one of my superpowers.

We get to the gravel road that heads to the lake, the shady, spooky, gravel road that heads to the lake.  Now I’m scared.  I swear I hear something running beside me in the woods, it was likely just my pony tail brushing against my “backpack”, but I’m getting really scared now.  This road has turned into the dark staircase to the basement I was scared of as a kid, only this staircase is 1.5km long.  I keep telling myself that the bears aren’t aggressive this year, they’re all “nice” bears and besides Kobi isn’t acting weird.  She was probably keeping her cool for my sake.

We finally make it to the lake (I think time moves slower when you’re scared) and Kobi swims around like a happy swimming dog and then I see a truck coming down the road.  I think to myself, oh good, at least I’m not alone.  Then I decide I’m scared of whoever these people are.  As soon as they get to the lake I take off running with Kobi.  This time I smell something nasty on the way back and I swear it’s another bear.  Kobi notices it this time too.   We finally get back to our trail by the road and I feel safe again.  I have no idea why I feel safe as it is essentially as remote as the road to the lake.

We make it back to that nice little riparian area I spoke of earlier.  Sure enough, Mr. Bear is there.  Kobi doesn’t even bark, just charges in after him for a few metres and he takes off.  See, they aren’t aggressive this year, and for some reason, I’m not as scared as I was about 10 minutes ago although I probably should be.  I lasted another 2km and finally had had enough.

I should mention that this had to be one of the hardest runs mentally and physically I’ve done in a while and not because of the bears, I think I just need to learn to pack lighter.  That’s a whole other story.

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Running from Bears and Saved by Squirrels

Dog in the backseat

Kobi after our run, wet and dirty

We did go for a run yesterday and of course we had an adventure, well, more of a near adventure.  First I have a short story that leads up to the near adventure during yesterday’s run.

I quite often run/walk Kobi just using an e-collar, kind of like an invisible leash, as we live in a very rural area and rarely run into other walkers or dogs (just bears).  During yesterday’s lunch time walk she had on her e-collar, she sees a few ravens and takes off at about 30 km/hr after them.  She hasn’t quite realized she can’t fly or she’s just so angry she can’t fly she feels compelled to chase ravens or maybe the ravens are calling her names as ravens are quite smart and are perhaps insulting her in canine.

I call her back and she doesn’t listen so I start the e-collar warning process:  1) I call her to return, if she doesn’t return,  2) I give her the warning buzz, if she still doesn’t listen and there is no imminent danger, two more warning buzzes are given while calling her back, if still no response,  3) give her the little zap to get her listening.   Well, I was yelling, buzzing and buzzing and yelling some more and no response.  I’ve gone to zap mode now and still nothing.  I’m thinking, hmm, she must be getting really tough or is really focused on these ravens.  Nope, the battery was dead.

So that leads me to our run later that same day.  I now know that the e-collar has a battery issue, but I do not have the technological savvy to change the battery (that would involve a screw driver – you can roll your eyes) and I still decide that she will wear the collar (and maybe she won’t realize that it doesn’t work).  Off we go out onto the community trail and after about 5km’s into the run, I see a big steamy pile of bear poop.  I spend about 3-4 minutes trying to take a picture of Kobi with the poop and all the while she’s more interested in the two squirrels having a territory battle in the woods beside us.

Dog and bear poop

Kobi posing by the bear poop, but distracted by squirrels

I have to thank these squirrels in some way as once I finally stop my fascination with the bear poop I start running again and look up to see a big shiny black bear chowing down on rose hips about 50 m up from me.  Kobi is still distracted by the squirrels and didn’t see or smell the bear – thankfully.  As you may recall, the e-collar does not work and she is off leash (okay, not smart and yes you can roll your eyes again).  I playfully call her name and turn around to avoid a potential bear encounter.  Of course I was shoulder checking for about 2km, but the bear showed no interest in us.  I can hardly wait for Saturday’s long run, but at least the e-collar battery has been replaced.

Bear on the trail

The Bear that Kobi didn’t see or smell