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

Updated: SUV smashes through fences and deck in Anders

Driver taken to hospital after SUV veered off 30th Avenue into Anders

Art on Red Deer billboard a reminder of aboriginal women’s strength

Joane Cardinal-Schubert’s image is part of Resilience Project, shown from coast to coast

Red Deer’s new ‘equity co-ordinator’ will promote tolerance

Andrea Lacoursiere was hired by city with Alberta Human Rights funding

More bridge work this summer in Red Deer’s Coronation Park

The park’s north bridge is being rebuilt to ensure safety

Man badly injured in off-road vehicle collision on Saturday

Incident happened in Mountain View County about 10:50 p.m.

CFIA inspects after video shows pigs crammed into B.C. transport truck

The video shows pigs piled on top of one another in a transport truck on a “sweltering” hot day last week

Lava crashes through roof of Hawaii tour boat, injuring 23

HONOLULU — An explosion caused by lava oozing into the ocean sent… Continue reading

Banff holds blessing ceremony with Indigenous elders before letting bison roam

BANFF, Alta. — Several Indigenous elders were flown by helicopter into the… Continue reading

Research expedition looks at unseen depths of Labrador Sea ecosystem

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Last summer, a team of scientists returned from… Continue reading

Protesters camped outside Saskatchewan legislature taking province to court

REGINA — Protesters camped outside the Saskatchewan legislature say they are taking… Continue reading

British PM accepts key amendments from hardline Brexiteers

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday accepted amendments to… Continue reading

‘City of icebergs:’ Study says 100s of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing

The statistics in her recently published paper say it all: hundreds of… Continue reading

U.S. hits back with WTO challenge against Canada’s retaliatory tariffs

OTTAWA — The United States fired back Monday at the Canadian government’s… Continue reading

Croatia gears up to give heroes’ welcome to World Cup team

ZAGREB, Croatia — Fans are pouring in from throughout the country as… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month