Outdoor Running Adventures

Running in northern BC with my dog Kobi


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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?

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A Change of Season – Finally

dog watching a squirrel

Kobi on squirrel alert

Last year this time I was already snowshoeing and skiing.  We’ve finally had some snow that might stay, but still  not enough to snowshoe or ski on yet, hopefully soon. 

I’m convinced that I’m not totally cut out to live in a cold climate, but I do like snow sports.  Well, I think I’ve had to learn to like them in order to survive in the north.  I’ve realized that you can focus on the negative stuff and choose to be unhappy where you live or you can suck it up and look around for all the fun stuff you can do.  Hence the reason I’ve learned to love cross-country skiing, skate skiing, snow shoeing and running in the snow in Salomon Snowcross shoes (best snow runners ever!). 

I also love that the bears hibernate during the winter and I only have to contend with packs of wolves.  I am afraid of wolves.  I have never seen a pack of wolves while running (I’ve seen them while driving), but I’ve seen lots of wolf tracks while running.  I wonder if it’s the media and modern culture that has made me afraid of the “big bad wolf”.  I think I’m also scared for Kobi’s sake.  I’ve heard wolves, like coyotes, bait your dog away and then kill it.  That freaks me out. 

Oh, cougars scare me too – any animal that stalks you while in stealth mode is worthy of a danger rating.  I’m just grateful that velociraptors and the dromaeosaurus (thank you C and A for teaching me about that one) didn’t survive the last ice-age.

Tomorrow’s morning run in the dark should be so much fun!  Nothing like a little dose of fear to get you moving.