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.