Sunday, June 14, 2009
That's Not So Raven
“Nevermore” was a lie. Yes, I had actually spoken the word to a gaggle of three ravens sitting in a tree looking down at me. They didn’t say anything back – but they did have knowing gleams in their little black eyes. I had passed them once before, and at two hours, twenty minutes into my planned three hour run, I was headed back and figured I wouldn’t pass by this way again. Ravens are near the top of my list of really cool animals. They are highly intelligent, they get along fairly well with humans and they mate for life. The Native Americans in Northwestern North America revered them, consistently placing them atop their totem poles.
This run in Jasper National Park would be my long one for the week. I’d been running about 90 minutes per day here and in Canmore, near Banff, without a day of rest; remaining vertical for 3 hours would be a challenge. But the trails are so wonderful that it’s easy to forget being tired or beat up. I started out from our Pine Bungalows cabin along the Athabasca River at 4:20am. This far north and only a week away from the summer solstice, it was already fairly light. The sunset is also quite late – well after 10:30pm or so. We never see darkness.
I ran up the long driveway to my first trail – Bighorn Alley. I didn’t see bighorns or any other wildlife here. At the end of this trail I emerge onto the main road right by a bridge over the river. I take it and then immediately turn right onto trail number 7 which runs along the river heading west. This is a very scenic trail – the river is a beautiful aqua color, and the mountains were beautiful in the morning as always. Soon I come across a couple female elk headed over to the river. I stay well clear – I’d heard that they’re particularly nasty now that it’s calving season.
At 90+ minutes into my run, I’d crossed another bridge and was now back on my side of the river headed east into Jasper Townsite. Jasper is a nice town and there are trails galore here as well as everywhere else in the Canadian Rockies. I pass through town and then head back up some of those hilly trails to the north. After passing the ravens that second time, I still had more running to do. I went back to the north on trail 2a and witnessed more fantastic views before coming back around and unexpectedly passing under the ravens a third and final time. That’s why my statement to them had been a lie.
I made it back in exactly 3 hours. Then it was time to get ready for a long hike with Debbie. But that’s another story.
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