Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


Snow Prints

As most of you may know by now (or now know), I live in northern Canada.  An obvious consequence of this is prolonged cold winters.  

I’ve discovered that to survive the longest, coldest and darkest season, I need to get outside regardless of how cold and/or how dark it is, take Vitamin D, and put maple syrup on everything I eat (I’m serious about this one).  It also helps that I have a very fit, active dog that must run.    

While I’ve been out and about, especially now that we have much more daylight, I’m noticing how much is actually going on around me.  When I speak of going on, I mean what other critters are also out and about.  You see, they leave their tracks in the snow so I know they’ve been there without actually seeing them.  I think I prefer just seeing the tracks versus seeing the associated critter.  Recall my post about my fear of running into my buddy the moose.  

So I am now going to share with y’all a bunch of snapshots of what I have been seeing outside over the last few weeks. 

raven wing print

Looks like a pterodactyl, but it’s actually a raven wing print

Mice and voles seem to be very active this winter and I see their little highways and meanderings everywhere.

mouse or vole tracks

These tracks disappeared down a little hole by the branch sticking out of the snow

mouse snow tracks

My trail packed the snow so this little critter had to create an “overpass” to get to the other side

mouse tracks

More little critter tracks

mouse tracks

This one is a little blurry, but this little guy was out dancing I think

This one is kind of sad and/or gross, but I found a dead version of what was leaving lots of tracks – meadow vole and a fat one at that – cause of death, unknown.  Kobi found it on the way back and brought it home, she likes to play with dead mice, doesn’t eat them, just plays with them.

dead meadow vole

Vole in the middle of trail, not sure why he/she died there

Grouse, affectionately referred to as “chickens”, make the coolest tracks and have the biggest “poops” considering their size.  These are Kobi’s favorite bird to chase (next to ravens) as they hang around in family groups so there is usually more than one and they aren’t great flyers (they typically walk around more than fly).  I’ve been chased by a mommy chicken a few summers ago BK (before Kobi).   It was scary and funny to be running from a bird the size of a small chicken.  Imagine a wild brown bird hissing and charging you with its wings folded back.  See, that’s pretty scary!

Grouse tracks in the snow

Grouse tracks going all over

Grouse poop

Grouse poop. Their poop piles are huge!

These tracks in the photos below are of unknown species.  Maybe martin, lynx and squirrel, not necessarily in that order – you decide.

animal tracks

This was much bigger than a mouse, but smaller than a dog

animal prints in the snow

Looks like some rabbit (left) and maybe lynx or something else?

dog smelling tracks

Kobi smelling more “mystery” tracks

And of course, the critter that has caused me the most angst this winter, especially when it’s dark out, Mr or Ms Moose.

moose bed

Kobi investigating a moose bedding site. Likely the same moose that was freaking me out on my night walks over a month ago

moose poop

Moose poops, Kobi’s favorite frozen snack, yes, that’s gross I know, but she loves them

And finally, leaf tracks.

leaf print in the snow

Even leaves leave tracks


Enough Snow Already

snow shoes

My snowshoe run/jog attempt

I had the week figured out, or so I thought.  My plan was to alternate each day between running outside and cross-country skiing until Sunday.  The weather forecast even indicated this could be a possibility.  Not so.  I woke up today to a ton of new snow on the ground and more still coming down coupled with a nasty northwest wind.

As a result, I talked myself into running on the treadmill (again).  I think I’m experiencing significant treadmill remorse as I’ve been running on the darn thing so much versus sucking it up and running outside.

Low and behold, 25 minutes into my treadmill run, the power went out.  I was convinced this was the universe trying to tell me to get my lazy butt out the door.  I mean, it is all about me so why wouldn’t a power outage happen solely to convey a personal message?

I sucked it up and got geared up for an outside run and of course just as I was heading out the door the power came back on.  That was the universe laughing at me.

I managed to run jog (very slowly) in snowshoes for 4km.  I thought my heart might explode it was so hard in all the deep fresh snow.  Kobi loved it even though she had to constantly stop and wait for me to catch up.

After the snowshoe we did a wee bit of Boxing Day shopping (a few stores actually open up for the big day in our little town).  It’s mostly an opportunity to run into absolutely everyone you know and chat about stuff.  I did purchase a purple toque and some jeans for a good price.

Not sure if I will be able to ski tomorrow as there will likely be another foot of new snow.  I reckon I’ll be snowshoeing for the rest of winter at this rate or I’ll be buying Kobi her own treadmill so she can run and watch television with me.


Some serious snowfall happening today

Have you ever felt the universe is sending you a message?


Moose Tracks

Moose tracks

Fresh moose tracks where we walk

We’ve had a week of nothing but snow and cold.  I haven’t run outside much as a result.  Every walk with Kobi involved wearing snowshoes and choking on snowflakes.  It finally stopped snowing on Friday and today (Sunday) it warmed up to -10C.

On our Friday lunch hour walk, in the sun, a moose had meandered along the same trail we were walking along.  I was pretty sure I was going to end up seeing it as the tracks were very fresh and Kobi was pretty excited.  The snow was so deep she had to stay on the trail rather than try to follow the moose tracks.

Dog in the deep snow

Kobi in the deep snow

One thing about Kobi, maybe most dogs, is she loves eating moose and deer poop.  She was thrilled to find some moose nuggets and wasted no time in indulging herself.  I’ve given up trying to stop her and she doesn’t eat so much that she makes herself sick, good thing she can show restraint.   Hey, we all have things we like to eat but know we probably shouldn’t.  Mine is red liquorice.

dog in the snow

Kobi digging for nuggets

Yesterday we had a great ski in the forest.  I’d have taken photos as it was stunning out there with all the new snow and sunshine, but it was -24C and I was reluctant to remove my mittens.

The ski tracks weren’t set yet as it had been snowing so hard for days.  I wanted to ski for 2 hours and on our second loop around we ran into the awesome trail groomer dude who was out setting track.  I did a happy dance when I saw him.   He probably thought there was something wrong with me as trying to dance on skis likely doesn’t look like dancing.

We followed him back in order to have a slightly easier ski on nice set tracks.  I was really tired by that time and Kobi’s feet were full of snow and ice (I felt bad for her).  We motored along and made it back to the parking lot in great time.  I started my vehicle, put Kobi inside, got some of my gear off and then proceeded to lock myself out of the vehicle.

Yup, that’s another of my super powers.  When fatigued I do stupid things. Fortunately there was another girl in the parking lot who leant me her phone (as mine was in the vehicle safe and warm with Kobi) so I could call home for help.  I was only slightly hypothermic by the time my hubby rescued me 20 minutes later (the other vehicle was buried in snow and it was also -24C out so it needed to warm up a tad first).

I will have to teach Kobi how to unlock doors.  At least I had put a warmer jacket on before locking myself out or it would’ve been really bad.

What’s your funny “locked out of the vehicle story”?

Dog paw

Kobi’s feet are adapting to the cold and snow by getting more hairy


12 More Days Until Winter Solstice

dog in the snow

Kobi enjoying all the snow

Time has been flying by and I’m sort of okay with that, for now anyway.  The thing is, we don’t get much daylight anymore and I really just want to get to December 21 when I can get the “shortest” day over with and start counting every extra minute of daylight we get after that. 

My life currently feels like it mostly takes place in the dark except for my highly coveted noon hour walks with Kobi and of course our weekend adventures together.  The rest of the time we’re walking, running, skiing, and snow shoeing in the dark. 

Kobi gets 3 walks a day 90% of the time (unless we’ve done a long run or ski then that counts for 2).  Morning walks and our longer evening outings (walk, run, ski or snowshoe) are all done in the dark.   

I’ve noticed that I keep my headlight directed down at my feet during these “dark” outings and rarely look off to the sides of the trail for fear that I’ll catch some critters eyes  other than Kobi’s looking back at me.  I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I saw another set of eyes.  Likely freeze or scream and then run like an idiot, probably all in that order. 

I don’t know what it is about the dark, but it always instills a slight bit of fear in me.  As you know, I’m grateful for the extinction of dinosaurs, but lately “fear” has been turning my thoughts to vampires.  What a perfect environment for them.  Dark and cold, or do vampires mind the cold?  Not sure.  I don’t think Kobi thinks about fear, I think she just puts it into high gear and gives’r until she runs into something that scares her and then she quickly runs and hides behind me.  I should try that. 

Anyway, I’ve digressed.  What I really wanted to get to were a few new discoveries since my last post: 

  1. Musher’s Secret makes a great protective salve on my face when it’s -20C and colder out (Musher’s Secret is actually meant to protect your dog’s tender toes, see runningwithsam),
  2. I recalled that there are actually days where there is no moon (skied in the woods that one night and this is likely where the vampire thoughts originated),
  3. skate skiing for 1.5 hours straight is fricken hard,
  4. x country skiing for 2 hours straight is also fricken hard,
  5. snow shoeing uphill for 2km – wait for it…really fricken hard, 
  6. and my quads haven’t stopped hurting for over a week now. 

One more update for you…I’m now at 27 out of 150 in my outdoor snow adventures challenge.  I suspect I’ll reach 150 as winter isn’t going anywhere any time soon.