I have run this 12km loop once before, maybe 5 years ago but I had run it clockwise. When I ran it last week, I decided to do it counter-clockwise. Well my memory wasn’t quite as good as I thought and I was second-guessing a little too much. I had neglected to take a photo of the trailhead map since I was sure it was on my phone somewhere. But when I needed it I couldn’t find it. So I was within 100m of turning around at the half way point when I came across the bridge to assure myself I was still on the right trail. There weren’t many people on the trail to ask, and definitely no direction signs. That was very close to a disappointing run!
Then within 500m of the bridge I missed the next turn even though there was a trailhead map right there. So I did an extra 1.5 km in the wrong direction before my brain kicked in with its internal GPS to override what looked right on my actual GPS.
So going counter clockwise, in mid-April I found some ice on the trail at the very end for several hundred meters near the parking lot. But overall, the trail was very dry, especially for April. I don’t remember any mud. We’ve had a very dry winter / spring.
There were maybe 10 others on the trail that I ran into over the 2 hours out there, on a weekday morning. On the weekends, it is full of mountain bikes and there can horses too. But this was a great time to be out there. I don’t get many weekday mornings to get out there.
Now that’s a cold river but it felt great on the feet (for the few seconds it took to take the photo).
To get there from Calgary, head through Bragg Creek to Kananaskis Country, and park at Elbow Falls. Before mid-May the road is closed beyond this point but it is only 500m to the trail head. In the summer you can drive right to the parking lot for Powder Ridge Trail. That’s an amazing trail too. So is Prairie Mountain. So much to hike and run from this one parking spot.
Praire Link Loop – 15km with the wrong turn (12km otherwise), 360m elevation gain
It gave me a boost on my run today when one of the downtrodden of the city’s core stuck out his hand for a five 5. I didn’t deny him an enthusiastic high 5 and felt quite energized from it. The biker behind me also got one. The homeless man seemed quite excited to be spreading his joy around.
In similar news, I regularly run under a bridge near my house where another homeless man lives. When he’s in a good mood he’ll shout after me “Run faster, he went that’a way!”. And then he’ll roar out laughing. I’ll laugh with him and continue my run with a smile.
You never know where that next encouragement might come from. But brace for it. It’ll come, and then you can share it around.
Most of my runs are along the beautiful Bow River within the city limits in Calgary Alberta. I am lucky the river virtually runs through my backyard and that the riverside trail system is so accessible from my place.
I find the running water so inspiring. Here’s some recent views from my runs.
I was able to piece together a run that included 11 pedestrian-only bridges (and one tunnel) on my suburban Calgary run today. I guess all those million dollar bridges are useful to at least a few people. It was a point to point 36km very urban run. There was a lot of sidewalk and pavement running but I didn’t have to cross any 4 lane roads. Even though it got cold by the end, there were still lots of people out getting in their end of weekend sunshine.
From the lesser traveled trail by the river, I spotted where all the ducks and geese appear to go when it gets this cold (if they happened to miss the memo that it was time to fly south about 3 months ago). How do they survive? I have no idea.
The beautiful Bow River running out of the Rocky Mountains runs right past my house.
And this is from my bed this morning when even the sunrise couldn’t get me out of bed. The -21c before wind chill was the trump card to keep me in bed. The afternoon was not any warmer but at least my brain was in gear at that time.
Single track in the snow was in the cards today. Better than the treadmill any day (well most days).
Getting out there and having fun at it (and somewhat jealous of my friends taking holidays in warmer latitudes).