So we are back in balmy Toronto with temperatures 25 degrees higher than Edmonton. Our winter prairie visit should toughen us up for whatever old man winter, Toronto style can throw at us. Next to our departure gate at the airport were some very happy Edmontonians heading to Puerto Vallarta.
My thoughts of expanses of sand are not of beaches but harken back a year, when we traveled to Death Valley, California. Running up the sand dunes in Death Valley made my BEST OF RUNNING LIST 2010.
The temperatures in Death Valley at that time were ideal for running but I was not able to run much due to the coyote factor. What made me nervous was how comfortable many coyotes were around humans. This was not long after a teenager was mauled to death by two coyotes in Nova Scotia.
While golfing at the Death Valley golf course we saw several coyotes, lolling around water hazards, yawning and enjoying a siesta. Notice in the photo below what stands between me, my golf ball and the green, yes it is Mr. Coyote. Which reminds me of our previous golf outing at Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan, where a large black bear sprinted across the fairway at the fourteenth hole. Our game ended there and then as we tore back to the clubhouse in our golf cart at top speed. A confession; I’m a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to wildlife. Once I spotted a very large crow and wondered aloud whether I could fend off a double-team-large-crow attack. I get teased about this regularly.
On one run, I encountered a lone coyote perched on a rock, enjoying the sunrise. I tried to be brave and trotted by, but a few seconds past the creature, I changed my mind, picked up a stone and made a beeline for home base. Although, I do wish I had been running with a camera as I think I would have been brave enough to snap a quick photo before hightailing it back to the compound.
Despite the minimal running it was a very active holiday as we hiked more than we ever have, led by my brother-in-law and his wife, both avid and knowledgeable hikers. It was on our dune hike where my Blundstones shone, as the perfect desert-running boot, although perhaps not quite as ideal as my husband’s choice of barefoot running.
I have no desire to experience the extreme heat of Death Valley in the summer but the gorgeous austerity of Death Valley in the winter with its ideal hiking temperatures, ooh la la!