Xhosa Bluffs run: On the “hump” (Alberni Summit), above the fog!

This was an early start  as Jackie usually sleeps in so she started the day off with spilling her entire hydration pack of Gatoraid over her rug!  Of course this was my fault since it was my idea to leave early.  I wanted to take my daughter up into the mountains later this day into the sun.

Here is Google Earth with my Timex GPS overlay of our route.

I’m finally getting the hang of my new Timex GPS watch.  Here is our route downloaded and overlaid onto Google Earth. The start is the red dot which is the parking spot just off the Highway 4 on the Mt. Arrowsmith connector.  The lake is Dog Lake and the truck stop is about the middle straight bit of the highway.  The numbers are waypoints I marked, and there are some pics for the waypoints.

The sun and fog, and frost all over the moss.

We stopped and had a thermos of coffee, compliment of Jackie at waypoint #3.  It was still cold.

a frosty leaf at our coffee stop.

We ran on motorcycle trails that neither one of us had been on before.  We came out onto a stunning bluff overlooking Cameron Valley.  I named it ‘Xhosa Bluffs’.

Ahhh, the sun at last!

Addendum by Jackie:

This run was like a “Part 2” to a run we did last week. That day, we started at the same spot as today (shown on Dave’s satellite image above) – but we headed more to the S and then E, eventually passing through a spot very close to Waypoint 6 on the map and then the big white clearing to the E of it. From there, we headed N and crossed the highway, and finished our run up there, going past Dog Lake and Loon Lake. That was a 4 hr run all together.

Too bad he didn't know how to work the watch that day. But wow, how things change in a week!

But Dave had not yet figured out how to drive his big fancy GPS watch! There is an amazing network of trails up there – all built by the dirt-bikers, and all weaving and winding around since that is what dirt-bikers like to do. Dave had kind of a route in his head he wanted to try – not knowing exactly where the trails are, but with some idea of old roads and major landmarks back from his younger days… (when he used to run and mountain bike and hunt and party up here). But, sadly, we were not able to get the info out of his watch that time, to see exactly where we’d gone. So that’s why we went back today – and will be going back up there again! So many trails there!

So we had a great run today, and last week, too. It’s very nice to get up high, into the sunlight, above the fog that has been hanging in the Alberni Valley and around town for over a week now. Between all of the exploring and backtracking (and a big search today for little Tankie, who went AWOL chasing bears today!), not to mention the rough terrain and a fair bit of up and down,  our actual kilometers covered on these “long” runs is not very high. But, as I have said, time-on-the-feet counts for a lot when training for ultras. And besides, we are just having fun, exploring and checking everything out. Now that Dave’s got the watch figured out, we are going to go back there and map out a whole pile of trails, and figure out some interesting routes for even longer runs!

OK, here are some pix from last week too:

Dave and Xhosa, on the paths made by the dirt-bikers.

Really different country up there - lots of open moss-covered rocky bluffs.

Out in that big open gravelly area, Dave quizzes one of the dirtbiker/trailbuilders about all the different routes.

Wow! What a view of Mt. Arrowsmith!

Dave points out another route, across the valley, that he wants to take me up to.

Welcome to Port Alberni! The things you find in the rainforest...

Culturally modified trees: Where native people (Nuu-chah-nulth) have stripped the cedar bark, which they use for making baskets, cermonial clothing, rope, and more.

Nutrition stop. My, aren't those dogs attentive now!

  1. Xhosa | TagHall

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