Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


18 Comments

Running with Wolves

dog photobomb

Oh hello

Over the long weekend I headed up the highway to the tiny community of Toad River where my friend was house-sitting at a local guide outfitters lodge/home. Being the spontaneous types we are we decided to run to a place referred to as the Nonda Creek Tower. It’s a radio tower at the end of a very rough road. I had driven to this place 10+ years ago so my memory wasn’t serving me well. I figured the route could be anywhere between 6km and 25km. Neither one of us consulted a map Google first.

dog in the mountains

Woo Hoo, we’re in the mountains

We aren’t totally dumb and did pack day-packs to be on the safe side (I’m quite certain mine weighed 20 lbs).
After 9km of blissful uphill running on a nice hard snow packed surface (thank you snowmobilers) we still had no clue how much farther the tower was.

group shot

We look so happy! The dogs didn’t want their photos taken though.

We did clue in to the fresh wolf tracks and wolf scat (poop, but scat sounds smarter). I also noticed that Kobi started heeling a few times. I just thought she was tired or perhaps demonstrating how well-trained she is (she’s a hooligan, but I’m easily fooled).

winter road

Not a bad view

Finally, at 12.5km, we admitted defeat and turned around as we still had to get ourselves back to the truck. By this time the hard packed snow was more like soft snow and my feet were wet and my toes were hurting from attempting to grip the snow from inside my shoes (futile, but I do this).

dog in a creek

Just a cool photo for your viewing pleasure

A few km’s into the return trip, Kobi heels again, this time so intensely she nearly trips me. Again I’m thinking, “what a good girl, so well-trained.” I’m completely exhausted at this point and my blood sugar is low and all the cells in my body were doing their best just to keep my legs moving at the expense of the higher cognitive functions of my brain. Basically, my brain didn’t translate heeling dog = imminent danger.

I’m quite sure there was something lurking in the woods watching us, likely wolves. I’m sure Kobi and the other dog Dino knew we were being watched, but the two completely exhausted humans were unaware.

mountain view at Toad River

More mountain views

Perhaps my obliviousness was my subconscious way of not freaking out. Had I put two and two together, I would’ve been scared. Especially when you’re in the middle of nowhere where cell phones don’t work and where no one else knows your exact location.

Kobi eventually took her usual place of 20-30m in front of the pack (I should have named her Scout) and we made it to the truck. Exhausted and with sore toes, but we made it.

winter trail

This is where Kobi is when there isn’t danger, way out in front.

I’ll know better next time to pay more attention to Kobi’s reactions.  I have high-tailed it out of many areas before because I’ve seen her acting odd.  I’ll blame my recent poor observation skills on low blood sugar and thin mountain air.

Do you find yourself gripping your toes inside your shoes when you run on uneven surfaces? What do you think was lurking in the woods? Wolves? Yeti? Other?

Advertisements


14 Comments

Tale of a Trail Race and a Mountain Climb

Toad River Run

Race signs – it’s very rural.

On Saturday I ran a very cool 10km race (and then climbed a mountain).

The race takes place way up north in one of the more picturesque parts of this province  (ruggedly stunning).  The race is hosted by a place called Stone Mountain Safaris and is a fundraiser for the small school in the community of Toad River.  There is a 5km walk/run and a 10km walk/run.  I think there was a shorter kids race too.  There were 90 people registered including kids and a small herd of dogs.  I think maybe 20 people (including kids) ran the 10km.  The race is mostly on trails through pastures and wooded areas and a bit of gravel road at the end.

Stone Mountain Safaris

The “lodge” that hosts the race is quite beautiful.

I drove up the morning of as it’s only a 2.5 hour drive and starts at 9AM so it’s doable.  Kobi was fully stoked as she got to come along.

The weather was perfect for racing, overcast and not too hot.  It’s a mass start so I was up front with Kobi as she’s like a race horse out of the gates and I didn’t want to trample any small children by accident.

field and mountains

This is what our views were like during the run

I was passed after a few minutes by a much younger dude, but I kept him in my sight the entire race.  I kept Kobi on the leash for the first little bit as the horses run with you and then away from you.  She has no horse sense so it was best to keep her leash on.  Once through the gate that kept the horses out, Kobi was off leash.  She mostly ran with the faster dude up a head as she likes being up front.  She was courteous enough to wait for me at corners and then would just take off again.

The course was well-marked, and there were route directors on atv’s at every confusing spot.  I did stop once to get a photo of this guy playing a mandolin (the faster younger dude obtained a slightly better lead on me as a result).

man playing a mandolin

This is what our live entertainment looks like up north.

I was the first chick to finish, well actually Kobi was.  I went over to congratulate the much younger-than-me dude on his win and compliment his speed.  He replied back in the most beautiful Parisian French accent that I would be welcome on their trail running team.

Then I asked a dumb question, “where are you from?”

“France”, he said.

That explains the beautiful accent and the fact that I didn’t know him.   I think he is working up here at one of the lodges.  I then had a short daydream about trail running in France.  I imagined scenic routes along the coastline with castles and vineyards as backdrops.  Sigh, wouldn’t that be lovely?

After my short daydream I came back to reality and cheered on my friends and the other runners coming in.

After the awards we took off to climb a mountain as a 10km race is a good warm-up for that and we were in the mountains so you can’t waste them.  We drove just under an hour back to Summit Lake and proceeded to hike up Stone Mountain (opposite side of my snowshoe to the radio tower).

Summit Mountain

Just one of the “steep” parts

I have done this hike before and always forget how steep it is.  It is just under 4km to the far peak (there are 2).  At the first peak it was noticeably  colder and windier and I swear I saw snowflakes.  I will admit I was a bit giddy from the views or perhaps hypoxia – maybe both.  We made it to the final peak and took a short break,  added rocks to the cairn and headed back down.

Stone Mountain Park

Kobi cooling off in the snow before the final peak way off in the top left of the photo.

Okay, so climbing up a mountain is hard, but climbing back down is harder.  I was in an isometric quad hold for over an hour thanks to the steepness and loose rocks.  My quads were destroyed and still are!  And I have a triathlon this weekend!  How smart was that?

Stone Mountain Park

View from the top of the world. Man was it cold up there.

Kobi slept the entire next day and her feet were a bit worn by all the rocks (I felt bad).  She had a hoot though, as did I (except for my quads).

sleeping dog

A very very tired Kobi.

Ever run a race where horses were running with you?  Have you run trails in France?  Does your dog like climbing mountains?  What do you do to keep their feet from getting too tender on rocks?