Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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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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Yukon River Trail Half Marathon

I agreed to do the above mentioned race with a friend (we put it on the race plan about 10 months ago).  It’s held on the first Sunday in August in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories.  It’s only a 950km drive from where I live.

The week before the race I said screw driving that far and decided to fly.  Not totally smart as I can only afford to fly using air miles on short notice and there weren’t many flight options available last-minute.  I ended up driving 390 km to the next closest airport, flew 1.5 hours to Vancouver and then flew 2.5 hours back north to Whitehorse.  I was at least on the same flight as my partner in crime.

Leaving on a jet plane

Leaving on a jet plane

We got in very late Friday night.   Saturday we did a little run along the trail in town (where I met Creepy Barbie) and spent the rest of the day checking out Whitehorse.  Sunday was race day.

creepy barbie was stuck in the fence along the trail

Creepy Barbie was stuck in the fence along the trail

Whitehorse, Yukon

Downtown Whitehorse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The event hosts a full marathon, relay marathon and half marathon – all on trails, single track goat trails to be precise.

Most of the folks running this one are locals and the entire event is capped at 325.  There were 100 people in the half marathon.

This is me trying to look cool pre-race.  I haven't quite figured out how to look cool.

This is me trying to look cool pre-race, or like Captain Morgan

The half didn’t start until 10AM.  It’s a gun start and not really chip timed.  You get this little plastic thing you have to dip into a  reader when you cross the finish line.  Not good as my hands don’t work well after I run so I was pretty sure I’d drop it (spoiler alert, I didn’t).

I placed myself up front with the fast folks as why the heck not.  There were some really fast folks there.  One girl up front was maybe 5 feet tall and 85 lbs of fastness.  I saw her doing a warm-up, holy fast Batman.  She ran the half in 1:35 so that tells you how challenging the course was.  She looked like she could run a 1:15 on a road.

The first bit was on paved trail, then some road and then you hit the single track.  People were incredibly polite about passing.  The second half of the race was really hard.  Some seriously steep sections (up and down and I suck at downhill).

I didn’t take photos as taking your eyes off the goat trail along the cliffs and through the woods would have resulted in a face plant or fall off the side of a mountain into a cold lake below.  I also would’ve likely taken a wrong turn and would still be running out there as you had to pay attention to the trail markers (flagging tape).

Cool side note:  If any of you Canadians watched the Amazing Race Canada Tuesday, the bridge the contestants run across at the end of the show is the bridge I ran across in my race.

I finished in a decent time (I think) as I was the fifth chic in and first in my age group (there were 20 in my age group).  It took me 1:58:44.

The finishing medals are really cool.

The medals are made from pottery.  Very cool.

The medals are made from pottery.

Post race, I pigged out at McDonald’s (I just looked at the food as carbs and protein, that’s how I justified it, plus it was close to the hotel).  A little while later we made our way back into town – walking slowly – to find a place to eat dinner.  We ended up at a pub called the Dirty Northern Bastard.  It sounded too good to pass up.

We left the next morning on a 5:55AM flight back to Vancouver, then I flew back to where I started and drove 4 hours back home.  And I saw a grizzly bear on the drive – cool!

I am totally in love with Whitehorse, it’s so beautiful!  The people are so nice too.  It’s kind of like Hawaii, but in the north and obviously colder and no palm trees.  I think it’s more the feel of the place that made me think of Hawaii, laid back and everyone totally wants to be there.  I want to be there.

Ever been to Whitehorse?  Do Barbie’s freak you out?  What’s the coolest medal you’ve received at a race?  What’s the weirdest name of a pub you’ve been to?  Have you seen a grizzly bear in the wild?

 

Yukon River Trail Half Marathon