Someone built a snowman at the Hoodoo Lookout near Fairmont Hot Springs. Photo by Crystal Rhyno/Advocate staff

Running with Rhyno: Getting lost on holiday

Eat. Sleep. Run. Repeat.

For two glorious weeks in November, I relished in a simple routine.

I packed up my Versa and headed across the border to British Columbia. I informally called it my “mini running camp” because I planned to run everyday while exploring new places on foot.

It was perfect driving weather on Highway 93 where I was witness to the glorious snow-covered mountains. Most people I know would take a winter getaway to some place warm like Mexico but I am not like most people.

My first stop was the Village of Radium in the East Kootenay region of British Columbia. I scored a great deal on a condo for a few nights. I am one of the few people in Alberta who has never been to Radium. I was completely enamoured by the Bighorn sheep, who were stopping traffic or hanging out on every corner. Wild turkeys also crossed my path a few times.

Winding along the Columbia River, the historic Old Coach Trail (16 km return) was one of my highlights on this part of my trip. This out-and-back trail offered spectacular views of the wetlands and the valley. The winding downhills kept my pace honest and a smile on my face. Who doesn’t love free speed? I had the trail to myself. It was magical, peaceful and rejuvenating.

After a couple of days of running round Radium, I drove 45 minutes south to a little red cabin on Columbia Lake, north of Canal Flats and south of Fairmont Hot Springs. It was snowing heavily on that 45 minute drive so I didn’t scout out places to run. I was more concerned with not ending up in the ditch.

Hands down the most memorable/hard fought run was the one that almost didn’t happen.

The plan was to check out the Hoodoo Lookout, which is an easy 3 km hike. I would warm up on the hike before I ran later in the day. Early that morning I drove to the lookout’s parking area. The sign was slightly confusing – I didn’t know if the trail started here or whether it was further up the road. I scanned the area for a possible trail.

Seeing none, I decided to keep driving. Big mistake. Less than one kilometre later, the Versa refused to budge. She would not/could not climb the steep, narrow winding road. She kept sliding.

Trying not to panic, I took a deep breath and took stock of the situation.

I had three options: 1. I could continue to spin my wheels, close my eyes and hope for the best. 2. I could attempt to turn around and cross my fingers that a truck doesn’t come speeding down the road or 3. I could reverse the Versa down the road until I got to a wide enough section for me to turn around.

Wasting no time in making up my mind, I leaped into action. My heart was racing as I reversed the Versa for about about half a kilometre. Thankfully it was early morning, and I did not meet any traffic.

I parked the Versa and did what I should have done in the first place – run up the damn road!

Unfortunately that’s not where my story ends. Judging by my interpretation of the sign, the lookout was only 6.1 km away (12.2 km return). I ran 8 km up road with no sign of the hoodoos. I took a picture of the sign on my iPhone, and I checked in with it a few times.

What was I missing? Finally, I checked my GPS. I was running AWAY from the lookout.

So where were those darn hoodoos?

Nowhere in sight. I finally found the lookout after driving back to the main road to get directions from a friendly shopkeeper.

Turns out I wasn’t even close to the hoodoos. I had driven about 6 km past the correct parking lot.

I just had to laugh at my dumb luck. Leave it to me, to screw up something as simple as finding a popular tourist destination. At least my legs got in a good workout with the climb and descent.

I looked on the bright side. I was on holiday. I was in a beautiful part of Canada.

Nothing would mess with my vibe.

***

Find Running with Rhyno on Facebook and @CrystalRhyno on Twitter. Send your column ideas, photos and stories to crhyno@reddeeradvocate.com

Just Posted

Province urged to clean up Aspen Beach

Rotting vegetations and mud turning off beach-goers

Backers of successful ice fish hut registration program would like to see it go province-wide

A provincial government-led program would have more regulatory clout

Red Deer Fall Home Show on this weekend at Westerner Park

The Red Deer Fall Home Show is the place to be for… Continue reading

Maintenance and upgrades dominate city’s capital budget

Maintaining existing infrastructure eats up most of the capital budget costs

Red Deer’s proposed aquatic centre could be sidelined for the forseeable future

New economic realities must be faced, says Mayor Tara Veer

WATCH: Red Deer Citizens on Patrol monitoring downtown with new program

Volunteers will patrol downtown Red Deer to help keep the city safe.… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Wednesday Red Deer River Naturalists Flower Focus Group Meeting. When: Oct. 16… Continue reading

Meet the candidates running in Red Deer-Mountain View

Each of the candidates running in the Red Deer-Mountain View riding were… Continue reading

FAA confronts Boeing over internal messages revealing flaws

DALLAS — A former senior Boeing test pilot told a co-worker that… Continue reading

Protest against open-pit gold mining planned during Nova Scotia mining show

HALIFAX — A public rally critical of open-pit mining practices was set… Continue reading

GM workers called back to Oshawa plant after U.S. union reaches tentative deal

General Motors has recalled all workers to its assembly plant in Oshawa,… Continue reading

Canadian business needs Brexit certainty but Johnson plan only a start: observers

TORONTO — Experts warn that a post-Brexit United Kingdom will present Canadian… Continue reading

Sam Waterston goes Jane Fonda: Both arrested in D.C. climate change protests

So much for law and order. Jane Fonda’s aspirations to get arrested… Continue reading

Deep-sea explorers find sunken warship from key Second World War battle

Deep-sea explorers scouring the world’s oceans for sunken World War II ships… Continue reading

Most Read