I just spent a couple of days camping/hiking/trail running in Algonquin Park. Our 3 season tent and 3 season sleeping bags pitted against the last gasp of Autumn and total darkness by 5.30pm*. We won, but we didn’t have time to venture into the interior; in the interior the winter odds are against us.
Hiking, in sub 0C temps and precipitation of the sleet variety, with ominous warnings at the trail heads such as “you will fall off the cliff if you are on the trail after 3pm” and “bears getting ready to hibernate think Clif Bars are delicious”, is wet and cold and invigorating. An entire day spent hiking and we only briefly encountered two volunteers exiting a trail; otherwise it was just us and the loons. I am old and curmudgeonly and I like to have the place to myself. That’s why I went in November not in August. The solitude was near perfection.
Trail running, on a fresh layer of snow over technical and hilly terrain, was better than hiking. I get impatient with hiking. Hiking takes forever and I’m not one to stop and smell flowers. They make my nose itchy. Although Garmin tells me my “running” pace was as glacial as the giant cubes of ice that shaped this glorious parkland, I felt fleet-footed. A Remembrance Day miracle, I did not slip and fall and crack my head open on the Canadian Shield. That would be bad, as 762 signs warn there is no cell phone coverage on the trails. In case you are wondering, 762 times.
Admittedly, I was alarmed by the Aggressive Wolf Notice posted regarding an Aggressive Wolf in the area, perhaps because I have a history with this particular member of the canine family. I was on high alert, as the advice to not run from a wolf seemed to conflict with the very activity I was undertaking and I’m not convinced wolves know the difference between recreational trail running and chase me I’m delicious running. If I did see the Aggressive Wolf I was prepared to stop and “be intimidating”, as instructed by the poster. I know my hot pink shoelaces have intimidated many runners, so I felt up to the task. Until Husband “hilariously” started making wolf-like noises behind me and my heart hit maximum beats per minute and I didn’t speak to him for two kilometres after he fessed up. I never joke about wolves.
*Longtime readers may recall that I am an experienced snow sleeper, having spent a cozy night in the The Hôtel de Glace. Except my sleeping bag was rated -27C, not -12C and it was March, not November.
Title: Simon & Garfunkel – I Am a Rock. 1965.