The past week has been quite a busy one with work, travel, running and fun.
Last Monday I made the trip to Chelsea, Quebec to meet with adventurer and ultra runner Ray Zahab and learn more about his organization Impossible2Possible Youth Expeditions and Experiential Learning Programs. We are thrilled that the Sydenham Fall Trail Run will be supporting I2P this year and couldn’t think of a better organization to work with. I also spoke with Ray about my potential involvement with having a first hand role with I2P and assisting in the future. Very exciting stuff that I’m looking forward to!
After meeting with Ray, and since I was in the area anyhow, I decided to hit Gatineau Park for a rip through the trails. It was a beautiful day and I thoroughly enjoyed this run. The trails were in great shape. We just don’t get hills like this on our home trails, so I took advantage of the opportunity to get some good climbing in. I was impressed that I was able to get in 1,500 ft of ascent during the first 68 mins of my run, and a total of 1,800 ft in the 2 hour run. I ran parts of Trail #1, Highline, found a trail over to Camp Fortune Ski Hill for some more vertical, then some unnamed trails. I didn’t even get lost once…at least for long anyhow.
This past weekend had us on the road again to Taylor and Kim’s wedding on the French River near Sudbury. It’s a long drive from Yarker, and didn’t start off so well with being stuck in traffic in Toronto during a heavy rainstorm. Who the heck knew that Toronto traffic would be so busy on a Friday during the lunch hour? Shouldn’t you Torontonians be working? I hate Toronto traffic….and by the way, the Leafs suck! There, I feel better.
We finally got past TO and to within about an hour of the cabin we were staying at so decided that we needed to stop for a rest. Okay, well not exactly a rest, but a trail run. We had hoped to bag another Provincial Park to add to our list and this was prime country for it. Grundy Lake Provincial Park is very nice too. The trails weren’t very long, but they were fun to run on. The Beaver Dam and Swan Lake Loops both featured some great single track, some technical footing and lots of flat rocks to run. After completing the run, we were now ready to get to our destination for the BBQ and talent show.
Since the wedding on Saturday wasn’t until 3pm, we got up in decent time and decided to go for a little longer trail run. The thought of going to Killarney to run on the La Cloche Silhouette Trail temporarily crossed our minds, but the idea of driving almost 90mins each way soon squashed that plan. We did find a new park much closer called Mashkinonje Provincial Park. The trails at Mashkinonje were just gorgeous featuring all single track, plenty of roots, a lot of flat rock, pine needles and some very cool sections of deep moss. The trail was quite new and there was a bit of overgrowth in places from not much trail traffic yet. The trails were well marked though and easy to navigate around to get from one trail to the next. Sara, Justin and I ran most of the perimeter of the park with the exception of a small section at the North end. We were a little unsure of how long this was going to take us, but ended up
running it in just a little over 2 hours which was perfect timing. Mashinonje was a great run and definitely one to go back to if we are in the area again. The toughest part was actually finding the trailhead on the West side of highway #64. The East trailhead was marked, but only features a very short loop. We almost gave up thinking that was all there was until we finally found the West trailhead which did not have a marked entrance at all. It was certainly worth the struggle to find it though.
A quick drive back to our cabin to clean up and we still made it to the church on time (well, log lodge actually) for Taylor and Kim’s wedding. We were a little concerned, as we got there with only about a minute to spare before show time, but turns out a few others arrived after us so we didn’t feel too bad.
The wedding itself was one of the nicest I’ve been to. Beautiful and natural setting, nice intimate ceremony, great meal and fun speeches. Looking around at all the guests, I’d say that at least half of them were probably runners. I lost track of how many OFSSA, OU, CI, Provincial and Nationals medallists were in attendance. Needless to say, there was much running talk happening.
We’re now back at home, and touring our local trails again. As much as it’s great to get away and leave some footprints on other trails, there is something comforting about return to your own stomping grounds again.
You can also check out Sara’s Near North Blog for some other great photos.