Running with Rhyno: Coliseum Mountain

  • Jun. 10, 2017 12:30 a.m.

Intermittent giggling and rustling through the trees alerted me to the fact that I wasn’t alone on the mountain.

Up until this point, I had passed two mountain bikers who were comically trying to navigate around fallen trees and broken branches on Coliseum Mountain.

It was only a few days after the big storm blew through Central Alberta. The day before I had run in my usual stomping grounds in Kananaskis Country so I didn’t give much though to any potential local storm damage.

Our food columnist, Shannon, had posted some recent photos from the Coliseum summit on her social channels. There was a little snow still on the top, she said.

I had slept through my alarm so it was about 10 a.m. before I consulted my David Thompson Highway Hiking Guide (with the help of my good friend Rhinokey) and hit the road. Coliseum it was.

The parking lot was full SUVs and trucks belonging no doubt to weekend warriors.

Still it was spooky quiet and the only sounds I heard were the harsh caws of the crows in the distance. I had my iPod filled with Blue Rodeo, Joni Mitchell and Guns N’Roses songs.

Apologies to the squirrels and crows, it wouldn’t be quiet for long.

I sang and cursed as I leaped over and crawled under enormous trees and bushwhacked through the woods.

Beautiful, glorious trees had blocked the trail about midway to the top. Despite the death of the trees, it was quite fun to forge my path through the woods. (Scrapped legs and all!)

What made it even more hysterical was the sight of two chubby guys trying with little luck to lift their bikes over these large tree trunks. There was no way in hell these two guys were making it to the top. Had I not been trying so hard not to laugh, I would have offered my strength and my two cents on their situation.

Instead I bid them a good day before disappearing into the trail.

Shortly after I caught a glimpse of two hikers deeply off the trails. They were having a grand time.

Giving them no thought, I kept chugging ahead when I ran smack into a huge snow drift. Lovely, I thought.

Enough of this bushwhacking.

A little bit of snow was not going to ruin my day. I was going over. I started quickly and went for it. The snow was deep and I immediately sunk to my ankles.

No wonder those hikers went off trail. But I am not one to give up so I kept on trekking and came out the other side where it was muddy and glorious.

I knew I would hit pay dirt.

It was a glorious day to be on top of the world.

Crystal Rhyno is the managing editor of the Advocate. Find Running with Rhyno on Facebook and @CrystalRhyno on Twitter. Send your column ideas, photos and stories to

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