(Or The Sharing of Newly-Discovered Trails)
As running/racing season approaches, B and I start to go our separate ways when it comes to weekend running. I generally stick to my favourite, familiar routes and try to ramp up my speed or at least bring some consistency back. But B heads for the hills. He is determined to regain his climbing strength and works hard at it until it returns. There are lots of hills close by, since we now live at the base of a ski mountain and a ‘mecca’ of mountain biking trails. When he is in trail-discovery mode, he ventures far off the beaten track to places where he thinks trails should be and he hunts around until he finds them.
My favourite kind of run is when B takes me out to some of his recently discovered trails. In order for this to work, I have to be in fairly decent shape. His tours are rarely short, flat forays into the nearby forest. I have to be prepared to ascend, sometimes quickly, and I need to be fit enough to be out for a number of hours. As everyone knows, the best trails are nestled out of reach of 90% of the population.
For the past month, B has been heading into a suspected trail system near Comox Lake and Forbidden Plateau. He comes home with stories of finding a steep climb to some ridge with sweet single track but then ending up on a forest service road with no way back onto trails. He pours over his GPS route and other maps, trying to figure out a way to make a loop or lollipop route of the trails he has discovered.
Finally, last week, he had found a way to connect a number of his trails to make a three-hour loop route of great climbs and nice single track trails. And today he invited me to join him. The day started out frosty and cold – with ice at the edges of our pond, but the blue sky promised a sunny warm spring day.
We parked at Nymph Falls Park and headed out to the Comox Lake dam – a route we have run many times.
It simply meanders on single track up river to the dam at Comox Lake. But then we headed towards the lake shore and up, up, up onto the bluffs above. Occasionally, we were treated to long-reaching views towards the west end of the lake.
The ridge line has sections of smooth granite and it is covered with Arbutus trees.
It was undulating and scenic. At the high point, we parted ways and, after continuing a bit further, I backtracked the same trail to the car – giving me a decent 20 km, 2.5 hour run. B headed farther and faster around his newly discovered loop and returned at the 3 hour mark. After I get over this darn lingering cold, I will join him for the rest of the scenic three-hour tour.
For my own memory, here are the trail system names – Nymph Falls Park, Bear’s Bait, Comox Bluffs, Tomato Creek, Boston Tea Party, Cabin Fever.