Get lost: walk on the wild side at Red Deer’s great trail systems

Get lost: walk on the wild side at Red Deer’s great trail systems

No matter how hard I wish it, it’s not really feasible to hike in the mountains every day.

So that means neighbourhood walks will have to do.

Thankfully, Red Deer has an extensive trail system. So much so that within five minutes I can be absorbed into the woods.

Nearing the end one of my routine walks in November I came upon a decently-sized canine a good 20 metres ahead of me.

At first I didn’t think much of it, people in my neighbourhood let their dogs run off-leash all the time.

But as I get closer, I see it is not someone’s dog, but a coyote. A coyote that isn’t terribly scared of me and has the high ground.

Impulse tells me to run, but then common-sense takes over — if you run the coyote will chase you.

I slowly walk off, and the coyote continues on the trail in the direction I came from.

This wasn’t the first time I had seen a coyote down in Maskapatoon Park, so I thought nothing of it. It would move on and maybe I’d start seeing some moose or deer, or the rare porcupine, again.

Imagine my surprise two weeks later, as I’m walking along the trail and I see a woman pushing a stroller and observing her two large dogs as they run around, off-leash.

She asks me if I’ve seen the coyote on the trail.

I hadn’t, but the walk took on a different vibe from then on.

I was alert, my dog was alert. We wanted to be sure we didn’t cross the coyote’s path again.

We would, just not that day.

It seems the coyote has taken residence in my neighbourhood.

Though it has yet to become a problem, I fear it will as the winter wears on.

In three subsequent encounters, the coyote has run away from me. Twice in Maskapatoon Park, and once again on the trail that runs beside Kerry Wood Drive, near the Red Deer Golf and Country Club.

It’s early in the season, there may still be some small game for it to hunt.

For now, it’s not causing me any harm, and it is still scared enough of an average-sized man wearing a balaclava and a thick coat.

Maybe it will be this year’s casual animal acquaintance in my neighbourhood.

Last year, it was a couple of moose I’d see every so often (and that scared me one dark evening) and a porcupine climbing a tree on a cold Christmas day.

Similar to reoccurring TV characters, animals make appearances on walks.

The deer who intermittently appear on Kerry Wood Drive, or the moose who move between Three Mile Bend and Mackenzie Trails.

It’s likely still the six-year-old in me that is thrilled to see wild animals as though it’s part of a constant one-upsmanship of what species I see. For no other reason than to say I saw it.

Murray Crawford is a reporter/editor with the Advocate.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre's expansion project is still a high priority, says Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital ICU admissions stable, but rising, says surgeon

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s intensive care unit is in better… Continue reading

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman didn’t expect to get hit with a double whammy at… Continue reading

A courtroom at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton on Friday, June 28, 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Canadian justice system warn a number of legal experts. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announced Sunday it would adjourn all scheduled trials across the province for at least 10-weeks limiting hearings to only emergency or urgent matters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in… Continue reading

A Statistics Canada 2016 Census mailer sits on the key board of a laptop after arriving in the mail at a residence in Ottawa, May 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Statistics Canada sees more demand to fill out census online during pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the response to the census is higher… Continue reading

Travellers, who are not affected by new quarantine rules, arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Ottawa will create a new digital platform to help in processing immigration applications more quickly and efficiently after COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for a faster shift to a digital immigration system, the immigration department said. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ottawa to create new system to tackle delays in processing immigration applications

Ottawa says it will create a new digital platform to help process… Continue reading

A man on a skateboard and a young woman pass large letters spelling out UBC at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver on November 22, 2015. The federal government is writing off more than $200 million in outstanding student loan payments that officials will never be able to collect. Recently released spending documents show the government won't collect $203.5 million in debts from 34,240 students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan

VANCOUVER — A B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing is set to start… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday’s $25 million Lotto max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25 million jackpot… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
States scale back vaccine orders as interest in shots wanes

MADISON, Wis. — States asked the federal government this week to withhold… Continue reading

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas talks with his players during a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match against Mexico's Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Fernando Llano
Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Most Read