Arborist as Athlete

I went for a run today.  It was an easy one- a MAFF run, where I keep my heart rate low for the duration, and I trudge along, un-glamourously for a while.  What was it -20?  Was that it?  It felt really cold for the first 10 minutes, less cold for the next fifty, and I had to strip off my neck guard, my mitts, and open my running jacket, under which I had just a running shirt for the last bit.

I love winter Trail Running.  I just think it was probably something God had in mind, you know, when he decided about winters.

“Well, food will be scarce, and it’ll be darn-ed cold as heck, but the trail running will be epic.” — God

It’s one of those amazing things about winter.  It gets dark early (or stays dark late), so when (if) you strap on your headlamp, and you head out the door, there is a feeling of… I don’t know.  Awesomeness.  You’re cold, and it is dark, and you’re wondering why you didn’t just hang out with the internet and a coffee, and yet, it is, often… well, firstly, it’s often absolutely quiet- just crunch-crunch of snow.  The air has that cold clean smell, and the fog of your breath occasionally flashes through the headlamp.

I like that bit.

Then, you trot until you run, and when the trail narrows, you are running in shadows and it is exhilarating.  Even running MAFF runs, slow and steady, feels fast.  The shadows move and dance, and occasionally amongst the shadows you see the eyes of a coyote- like two gleaming, golden coins hovering in the dark.

Super-cool stuff.

So, while it’s bitter cold, and dark early and late, and tying knots can be numbing, and climbing with the screaming barfies is not entirely fun, and while machinery breaks, and brakes freeze, and you spend your mornings cold and then sweaty, and then chilled, in a tree, and the winds can be brisk, and your gear can be insufficient… I wouldn’t trade Winter for anything.

Christmas, of course,  is just the most wonderful day when spent with Family, and is only made better by the Cold and the Snow.  Frozen wood splits so easy by axe, and anytime you can light up a fireplace, or a wood stove, is magic.  Hacking away on snow shoes or skiis, up and around and about the cliffs and forests of Eramosa Creek, or Hockley, little guys beside (oldest) or in tow (youngest) is just Life…

And, of course, the winter trail running.  Let’s not forget that.