Sunday, June 16, 2013

Wrong Path, Right Path

This weekend, we took the girlies camping for the first Banff.  And, I may or may not have spent most of the week trying to decide which trail I should take my trail shoes off-roading on...

In the end, I decided it would be the Bow Falls - Hoodoos trail since it was super close to our campground and would give me a decent distance for a long run.

My plan was to start the morning with hubby, his brother and all of the kids - taking the girls for their first hike over to the Hoodoos.  Then, I would part from the group and head toward Bow Falls.

Best laid plans.  You just know how those work out.

Doodle ended up having one of her galactic meltdowns on the hike and we had to abort early to get the girls back to the campground for lunch and naps.

By the time everyone was settled - it was 2:30pm and I could finally head out.  A bit late for my liking...especially for a long run on a day that was a bit warmer than expected.

But head out, I did.

I started on a little path that lead up to the hoodoos...when I broke through the trees, I was greeted by this gorgeousness
ahh - new camera has panorama...:D
I ventured down the interpretive trail

And was soon on dirt again.  I ran along, waiting for the moment when the trail would bend into the woods and start descending to the Bow River, like all of the descriptions said it would.  But this path just kept running parallel with the road.  Pretty, but felt wrong.

I came through the trees and was suddenly startled by this guy.

Of course, he is a Banff deer so stopped being scared in about 5 seconds and moved in for a closer look at me.  So many of the animals are, sadly, far too used to people in the park.

After snapping a couple of shots - I carried on...and ended up on the edge of town.  Not the right path at all. Boo.

So I checked the map - saw where I should have turned (was not obvious at all) and turned back.

I had to backtrack about 2k, but soon I was at the turnoff.  Yep - right trail.  The other one was just the Hoodoo trail (which, btw, was NOT on the trail map they gave me at the campground office).

Before long, I was leaving the heat of the day into the cool and humid of the forest...down, down, down I went.

Twisting and weaving along and soon came out into a beautiful meadow.

I decided that 7k would be a good time to take in a gel.  Trying something new...not bad - though an odd texture.

A little further down the path...

And I was at the river's edge.  So pretty.

The path wove up and down and wound along the river.

Soon, I was in the shadow of Tunnel Mountain and felt like I was getting close to the turnaround.  My knee was feeling cranky but not hurting.  I figured the slower pace would have it hold up.

On the last, steep uphill, I went to take a drink from my pack...only to find I had drained it.  All 1.5L.
Eep.  I still had a half bottle of Ultima, but that was not a lot.  It would have to do.  I was about 6K from the campground with no access to water in between.  I'd need to take it pretty easy.

So I turned back and sauntered back the way I had come.

By 10K, I was feeling tired...but I didn't anticipate what happened next...

About 5 steps past this little wooden walkway...BAMMO!  Felt like a hot coal had lodged under my left kneecap.


I walked for a bit and then tried to run again.  Same pain.  I was hiking back.  

After a particularly steep uphill, I ran into these lovely ladies.  Again - they were super curious about me.

As much as I wanted to be running, I was kind of happy to be hiking was extremely steep and uphill coming back.

The whole excursion ended up taking me an hour longer than I anticipated...but since I had to walk that last 4k - I think it was pretty good time overall.

Even despite the knee issues - I still loved this run.  It was extremely beautiful.  I think if I had've been able to stick to my original plan of leaving in the morning after the hike, I might have avoided most of the issues I encountered.

Also - my hydration vest?  It was a total winner!  I loved having that much water on my back PLUS being able to carry so many other things to keep me safe on a solo journey into the "wild" (phone, bear banger, compass, small first aid kit, fuel etc).  I didn't chafe and I never felt the weight of it at all.  I look forward to many MANY more long runs with it!  I'll do a full review once I have a few more runs in it.

The Garmin Geekery

apparently I spent a lot of time taking pictures... :D

Have I mentioned how much I love this trail running thing, yet?


  1. A vegan gel. Who knew?
    And the water, you didn't mention the quick dip to cool off. No?
    And your knee, is that ok?

    1. lol - that river was moving pretty fast and looked pretty cold...I decided to pass for that day.

      the knee seems ok now. I swiped an icepack from the cooler that night and iced it a bit before bed.

  2. Wow what a gorgeous trail run! That sucks about the knee.

    That hydration vest looks great. Looking forward to your review on it.

  3. Beautiful, we are so lucky to have these trails near us! Hope your knee recovers soon, stupid things.

  4. What a bee-you-ti-ful run! Sorry to hear about the knee however. I've always been tempted by a hydration pack but I'm just so skeptical about the chafe issue - really? No chafing?

    1. No chafing. Super serious. I'll bring it when we do grouse and you can try it on.

  5. Gorgeous run!!!

    Hey I never have any chaffing from my pack either Nikki!!

    Great pics, and sounds like you had a blast, despite the annoying knee. Isn't the trails such a different experience from the roads?

    Love, love, love!


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