A guest post by Russ Hodgins
Christmas day of 2017 was a cold one outside the walls of the cabin full of relatives. The temperature inside was quite pleasant while outside, it was a balmy -31 Celsius. Add the ever present wind of the sunny south, it felt more like -42.
One of the perks of this cabin is the number of trails just a short dash out the back door that climb up and down the hills and through the trees, something most don’t envision when talking about the south. As the turkey cooked, the sun was shining and the trails were calling. A wise person once said “there is no bad weather for running, just bad clothing”, so after piling on the layers and covering as much exposed skin as I could, I was off.
I stopped for a photo to document the insanity, and while the sunglasses seemed like a great idea at the time, they instantly fogged up and were quickly stowed away. The tree cover blocked the majority of the wind and I was quite comfortable in my many layers. With the snow less than ankle deep, the running was easy (relatively speaking) as the sun lit up the country around me.
On a long uphill, some ATV, snowmobile and boot tracks came in from a side trail so I assumed someone had been out the day before. Then, coming around a bend in the trail, I came up behind two kids on a mini snowmobile with dad walking behind, keeping the parade moving. The fourth member of their family was up ahead on the side by side ATV with one dog running and the other comfortably perched on the front seat. We had a short visit, but it was keep moving to keep warm so I passed them and carried on, happy that others were sharing the trail on a less than ideal day.
The next downhill brought more company, this time in the form of a whitetail deer who had been bedded in the sun a short distance off the trail. He was feeling the cold far more than I and had no warm cabin to return to. As such, he was in no hurry to move but simply stood and was watching me. As I didn’t want him to bolt and burn off much needed energy, I did the running and hurried off so he could relax.
The daylight was disappearing but I managed to explore one more trail that took me out onto an open field where a snowy owl took flight from the tree top.
The run ended back at the cabin as the sun was setting with no regrets and a lot of fun had on the trails.