Fall Trail Running

As the snow makes its journey to town, first atop mountains, then dusting our trails, and finally landing and (and hopefully staying) in our yards, our outdoor pursuits begin to shift. While many are keen to get on the snow bike or adorn burly, studded tires, others reach for Gortex runners, a pair of gators and perhaps some light weight snowshoes to explore the fresh winter wonderland on foot.

One of my go-to winter runs is Uprooted to Hyperventilation on Castle Mountain. It’s great because there are plenty of places to turn around. If I’m short of time, once I hit River Road I take it back to Coal Creek and return to my car (at the first bridge by the Red Barn just off Coal Creek Road, where the trail access is located for Uprooted). If I’m feeling more energetic, I head to the first bench on Hypervent, take in the views and a deep breath of fresh air before returning the way I came. And on those rare days I’m feeling extra spicy, I take it to the top… and it’s always worth it.

A lot of the time, though, I run with a partner and we want to chat. Ridgemont is a great location for these types of runs, as you can choose lower-grade trails such as What’s Up Doc, Queen V, Ecoterrorist and Deadfall. It’s a great place to explore, with so many trails near one another. You can make a figure eight or work hard at not retracing one step! And the view of the sun setting over the glowing white Lizard Range is spectacular.

Of course there are those days where the challenge of getting out the front door is all you can handle. That’s when you hit the dike. It’s amazing how the white of the snow glows in the dark, giving you the confidence to run without a headlamp. Don’t be fooled – I nearly ran right into another runner doing this last year! In all seriousness, it is such a peaceful experience to run in the moonlight along the river. You might not get the views, but the sounds of crunching snow and a flowing river make up the difference.

November is one of Fernie’s “in between” months, and while we await true winter recreation trail running or walking is a great option. Not only are snow-covered trails typically less risky than ice-covered roads, it takes minimal gear, has rewarding views, and the frozen ground or snow crunching beneath your feet is nearly meditative. What a great way to take the time to remember this month.

Next month, the Fernie Trails Alliance has exciting news to share! Stay tuned for information on Fernie’s Nordic trails and community. www.fernietrailsalliance.com