Here we go again… December is Blog-Every-Day Month. No guidelines. No rules. No set topic. No nothing no how. Just an article with at least one complete sentence, every day…
December 5 …because I gotta tell ya, running and wild animals don’t mix
I had Friday off. Or, as I realize I should phrase it better: I was not scheduled to work on Friday, so I stayed home, did some writing in the morning, and then hit the trails for a run.
It was lovely.
I think I’ve written in the past about this stretch of (moderately controversial) trail a couple klicks from my house. It was a single track, river valley trail run through the trees, with lots of up and down and some interesting terrain that made for a groovy training challenge. For a while we called it the Roller Coaster, and it was our ‘in lieu of hills’ route…
About a year ago it was announced that they were ripping up the single track and replacing it with a graded path with the plan of eventually paving it in a decade or so. It sounds like a long time, but I’ve been running nearly that long now so I imagine at least a few scenarios where I’ll run on that asphalt some day. Long story short, they ripped it up, made a temporary mess, took some local advice and rebuilt a single track a few dozen meters off the graded path to appease familiar users, and…
Well, I suppose it’s done. I hadn’t been to look in a few weeks. In fact, last time I did there were still leaves on the trees (though they were turning orange.) So, with the day off, I decided to take the GoPro and do some video down in the trails. I didn’t really realize the new stretch was open, but I thought I’d peek and try it: Plan A.
It was. Well, it was in the sense that there is a graded path covered with well-trodden snow. And I followed it, stopped for some filmography here and there, and then — like a boss — decided to take the long route: all the way down to the dog park, thinking “oh, I can turn back before I get too far and call it seven klicks…” I’d set out thinking five.
So, we’ll call this Plan A-2.
And all went pretty much according to plan… until I turned to go back before descending the hill into the park-proper.
I turned back, ran about a hundred meters, and there on the path was Mr. Coyote.
I’ve been through this rant before. When a wild animal is standing in the middle of the ONLY path forward, even if it is a relatively timid animal like a coyote, you stop going forward, and you back away, and then you turn around and run the other direction, even if that means adding an extra few klicks onto you route.
I ended up warning a young woman walking her snack-sized dog about a minute later, and she thanked me and turned back too.
My final distance, after taking the long loop through the park, up the hill and back, was nine and a half klicks. A bit further than I’d planned. And stupidly, with a camera in one hand, do you think I took a picture?