A few pictures from Burnaby Lake, August 4, 2018

I decided to test my post-cold stamina (not really post, since I’m still coughing a bit and such) by going for a walk around Burnaby Lake. It was quite nice, with sunny skies and temperatures in the low to mid-20s, so sweating was kept to a minimum.

The run-like stats were 2:51 hours total time, 9:26/km pace (slower than normal, to be expected) and apparently 836 calories burned.

Upon arriving home I ate an entire cake.

Kidding. We don’t have any cake in the house.

The current resurfacing is now complete according to the official park website. They finished doing the Pavilion trail, so the area from the second boardwalk to the rowing pavilion parking lot is freshly surfaced. There’s a part not far from the bridge at Deer Lake Brook that has a large exposed pipe you normally have to hop over, but they have either removed it or so effectively buried it I didn’t even notice it when walking through the area. I’m hoping they do the Cottonwood Trail next, but it is all a mystery as they only post when actual work is happening, not thrilling teasers like COMING SOON: All those nasty exposed tree roots will soon be buried safely underfoot as we prepare to resurface the Cottonwood Trail.

I took a few pics along the way.

Some English lavender bowing gently in the breeze:

And I finally did a search on these stupid orange-red berries that I have seen growing everywhere my entire life.

These are apparently Rowan trees and the berries, which I always thought were poisonous, are actually more inedible when raw due to containing parasorbic acid, which can cause indigestion or kidney damage (maybe I sleepwalk and eat Rowan berries. This would explain a few things). Cooking the berries turns the parasorbic acid into the friendlier sorbic acid. I’m not planning recipes any time soon, though. More for the birds.

This shot was of a cluster hanging above my head, so I held the phone up as high as I could and shot from below. The shot turned out okay, though there’s a bit of sun bleed in the corner.

Finally, the bridge at Silver Creek is being replaced. Because there is no handy alternate route, they have put in place a temporary bridge next to it that looks like an unfinished prop from a science fiction movie. It felt solid to walk on, but still a little weird, especially with the overhead bits.

Also, since these walks don’t really count as hikes, I’ve boldly added a new category for the blog. Get ready. It’s called…

Walks.

Yes, I know, it’s brilliantly simple, just like me!

A few random pics from Central Park and Metrotown

Yesterday I bought a new desk fan. This is as exciting as it sounds. The brand name is Vornado, which is a portmanteau of vortex and tornado, which seems a bit redundant as a tornado is a vortex by definition. Then again, calling the fan Tornado would probably not conjure up the right image, either (“Imagine the destructive power of a tornado in your living room, in a convenient, compact form!”) so I guess they made the right call.

Anyway, before acquiring the fan I enjoyed some of this absurd summer weather by strolling about Central Park. A few of the pics I took didn’t turn out well (tip: your iPhone camera will auto-focus on a face, it will not auto-focus on a flower, unless you make that flower the center of your image or tape a picture of a face to it). But a few did.

I like the composition of this one, but the white flowers are a bit fuzzy and blown-out.

This one captures some nice detail in the flower and surrounding leaves.

And then there were the fish in the lower pond. Given how hot it was it’s not surprising some of them were barely moving. I watched one lazily swim toward the edge of the pond and drift until it hit bottom, at which point it bolted backward, like a cat that turned a corner to find a banana on the floor. Here’s a shot of them collectively hoping for cooler temperatures.

Trying to swim somewhere cool. Also, I think those kids in the background are feeding the trout.

And here are some fish demonstrating their fancy camouflage. It’s like “Where’s Waldo?” except wetter and stinkier. The one in the center of the image is the fish that ran aground, as mentioned above.

I left the park and went to Metrotown because I love crowded suburban malls, especially ones with working air conditioning. The Grand Court (which I’d say is more Grand-ish) was having some kind of panda awareness event.

And one more from the escalator. I think the fake pandas on display here actually outnumber the real pandas out there. Actually, I have no idea, but I wanted to say that.

After this I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond, grabbed my fan and left for home (well, I paid for the fan, too). The fan works well, and unlike the previous one, it’s not missing any rubber feet, so it doesn’t need to be propped up on a dish towel.

The one downside is it has a strong “new plastic” smell, being new plastic and all, and that new plastic smell is getting blown constantly into my face. It’s kind of gross. But after a few hours it’s much better and the breeze is otherwise pleasant and welcome.

The things you find when you need to pee

One of the consequences of having the world’s tiniest bladder is often needing to pee when there is no convenient place to do so.

This happened yesterday as I walked to Lougheed Town Centre. Fortunately, much of the walk is along trails and I diverged off the main route to find an out-of-the-way spot to relieve the aforementioned tiny bladder. After I finished I noticed this a short distance away, just a few steps from a nearby creek. It’s a collection of painted stones, inscribed with positive words and phrases like “Believe”, “Keep your head up!” and “Let your path take flight.” Colorful, unexpected and entirely unexpected.

I also took a shot of this flower bed a few minutes before finding the stones, and rather like the way the perspective makes the flowers appear to go on endlessly. The lone white lily poking out is cute, too. The flower bed is located at Griffin House, a printing business on Cariboo Road. Kudos to the company for the color it adds to the area.

Poopmonsters: 1, Me: 0

Today saw the return of a high pressure ridge and much warmer, summer-like temperatures, just in time for the actual start of summer (in five days).

I had planned on doing some shopping but didn’t want to stay cooped up inside during our first day of truly glorious sunshine in weeks, so I nixed the shopping and went for a walk around Burnaby Lake.

Here are some stats courtesy of the Activity app of my watch:

Total distance: 19.31 km
Total time: 2:57:51
Total calories burned: 909
Average pace: 9:12/km
Average BPM: 124

My knees started out fine, started to get sore partway through, got a bit bothersome some point after that, then came around to feeling not too bad again for the last few km. They don’t feel bad now, but I’m under no illusions. My knees have turned against me after 4400+ km of running.

When I approached the athletic fields I was presented with a dilemma, as illustrated in the photo below.

You shall not pass (without being pecked).

The choice was to plow through and see how the adult geese would react to me indirectly threatening their goslings, or to cut wide onto the field and avoid them altogether.

I chose the latter because having more than a dozen geese chasing and trying to peck me is a little too close to a scene from The Birds for comfort.

After taking the photo (I approached from the opposite side), I passed a woman who was going to face the same predicament. I watched to see if the feathers would fly. She got closer and closer still, then stopped. She took some pictures. She resumed walking and I actually though she was going to try the ol’ “if I just calmly walk through them nothing bad will happen” trick. But instead, she went wide onto the field like I did. Considering this was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, I wonder how many other people were diverted by the goose-stepping blockade.

The rest of the walk was pretty straightforward, though I actually began to sweat a bit toward the end. There was the usual mix of walkers, runners and cyclists pretending they totally didn’t realize they aren’t allowed to ride here. No park workers around to warn/lecture/fine them, however. The cyclists, I mean.

One jogger–who obviously read the forecast–was wearing the legal minimum to stay nice and cool. Or cooler. As I passed through Lower Hume Park another pair of runners went by also wearing the vaguely ridiculous short shorts and nothing else at all. Well, running shoes. And one had a heart strap on, which, when going shirtless, looks like you’ve put your belt on about a foot higher than you meant to. They had perfectly sculpted bodies, of course, just to rub it in.

I’m going to run tomorrow, and will attempt to do so in the morning before it becomes Africa hot. Because I did the mega-walk I am thinking of just a quick run on the river instead of tackling the lake again. We shall see.

The long way to the shopping mall

Today it was pleasant and mild and I went to Lougheed Mall, except I decided semi-spontaneously to detour a bit at Burnaby Lake, to see what the trail is like in anticipation of actually maybe running there again soon™.

I got distracted by the sun or something and ended up doing a full loop around the lake. I know my legs will regret this tomorrow as I am definitely not in peak condition after no exercise for the past week and a half.

Still, it was nice to be back there. The trail was in good shape, with only a few dabs of snow here and there, mostly off to the sides. A few sections have been patched up, which was nice to see.

Signs reported a delay in the construction of the new bridge at Still Creek, but the supports for it are now in place. It will sit directly east of the current bridge. They still say there will be no access for three weeks, but I’m reasonably confident they’ll finish early. I’m curious to see what the new bridge will look like. I’m pretty sure I have a photo or two of the current one around somewhere.

Speaking of photos, here’s a shot on the north side of the lake, just before you get to the fork for the Spruce Loop, approaching from the west. I actually sweated! My average pace was 9:26/km, which is fairly zippy considering how inactive I’ve been. The total walk, in which I stopped only to pee (twice) took just over two hours and thirty-two minutes. Surprisingly my feet never got sore. My left knee did, which proves it may just be a thing now–I’ll ask my doctor about it when I see him in a few weeks. The knee recovers fairly quickly, though.

Scenery:

Burnaby Lake March 3, 2018

I like shots like this because you can pretend you’re actually in the woods and not in the middle of a huge urban sprawl.

Also, I hate to say this, Apple, but I honestly don’t see a difference in the images from my iPhone 8 compared to my iPhone 6. I know they should be better and maybe they are better, but I ain’t seeing it. They’re still nice! And I’m willing to admit I have pretty much no eye for photography. I point the camera (or phone), try to hold still and press the button. Caveman photography, basically.

Fat squirrels in love

(With apologies to Loverboy.)

Today I strolled a bit around Central Park in Burnaby, taking advantage of the somewhat rare dry conditions. It was cold (relatively speaking–we don’t get frostbite warnings here) but was clear and otherwise pleasant.

The two ponds were partly frozen and the seagulls were shuffling in a way that struck me as funny. Birds probably don’t like falling on their faces any more than humans do.

You can’t see them shuffling here, but I present seagulls walking on water all the same:

On frozen pond, starring seagull and ducks.

It looks kind of chilly because it was. But sun! Blue sky! Wondrous and amazing!

Sun and shade on ice.

Some things never change, though. The squirrels remain as chunky as ever, given the generous food donations made by good-hearted passersby. NOTE: squirrels can feed themselves, you don’t need to help them. Really! Several people were feeding them today and they are kind of cute when they’re scampering (or waddling) around–until you get close to them and realize they kind of look like rats with bushy tails. Check out the thighs on this one. He could be checking into Weight Watchers tomorrow as part of his New Year resolutions.

“I’ll gladly trade you a perky twitch of my tail for anything I can eat. NOM NOM FEED ME.”

The reason I can get so close for pictures like this is the squirrels have shed their customary wariness of humans, having grown accustomed to people approaching them with armfuls of fudge instead. Or maybe not fudge, maybe nuts or whatever the people have in their pockets that is both edible and something they’re willing to give up to these fur-covered blubber balls.

Anyway, it was a nice walk and I didn’t slip or fall. Hooray.

Christmas trees a-falling: A stroll on Christmas Day

As foretold my the ancient prophecies and my post yesterday, it was a white Christmas as the crusty, icy snow from two weeks ago is still lingering around in plentiful amounts. Fortunately, it was also clear so I took the opportunity to go for a walk and keep my back from seizing up. Win-win as long as I didn’t fall. Which I nearly did, multiple times.

As I headed out one of my primary objectives was to find the least slippery route. The majority of sidewalks are clear, as are the streets so this was pretty simple until I got to Hume Park. Once there I got my first look at the Great Tree Destruction of Early Winter 2016. This tree fell near the kids playing area, intent on squashing a tot or two. It had already been cut up by park workers or passing lumberjacks.

One less tree to pester people in Hume Park
One less tree to pester people in Hume Park

The next timber that had timbered was across the trail at the bottom of the stairs leading into Lower Hume Park. This is the same spot where two trees came down during the windstorm of August 2015. It is a very popular spot for trees to fall over, apparently. No one had touched this one yet but I was able to climb over it without issue. (UPDATE: This tree was finally cut up and removed in April 2017.)

Another one bites the dust. Well, snow.
Another one bites the dust. Well, snow.

The stairs, which I did not take a picture of because it likely would have resulted in many broken bones, were covered in compacted snow that had developed an icy sheen. The compacted snow was also lumpy. This had the following effect when placing feet on the steps:

  • impossible for feet to rest solidly, causing them to slide
  • sliding on an already slippery surface causes more sliding
  • with little room to accommodate aforementioned sliding it becomes very easy to slide off the current step, land on the one below and then continue the process until the bottom of the staircase is reached, where one would arrive in a pile of broken bones and contusions

I went down the stairs by gripping the handrail with both of my gloved hands and clutching as if my life depended on it, which it did, probably. Even so, I still had my feet give way a few times, nearly causing me to go down express-style. At this point, I knew I would not be coming back up, no matter which way my route went from here.

The third fallen tree was leaning over the sidewalk on North Road, just before the turn-off onto the Brunette River trail. I didn’t take a picture of it because the sidewalk here was not in good shape. It also didn’t look that dramatic as it wasn’t blocking my path.

A short way down the river trail I came across fallen trees #4 and #5. These had been cut and cleared but the debris area indicated they had come down on the trail, intent on taking out hungry squirrels or people out walking in the snow because it’s pretty. While I did take a picture, I prefer this image instead, showing the amazing power of sewers to melt snow. There is a sewer line that parallels the river and every manhole (peoplehole?) cover was a snow-free zone. This batch of eight was big enough to have a picnic on, albeit a stinky picnic.

Sewers: fighting snow since ancient Rome
Sewers: fighting snow since ancient Rome

Fallen tree #6 was at Burnaby Lake. I ventured as far as the Cariboo Dam, where I normally start my runs. The first shot shows the uprooted tree from just behind. It fell away from the picnic area, so only wandering polar bears would have been at risk. The sun is already low in the sky because we have about 40 minutes of sunlight per day right now. Good ol’ winter.

Burnaby Lake, now with one less tree
Burnaby Lake, now with one less tree

This shot gives a better view of the trail, which is now a slick, icy insurance claim waiting to happen. I knew it would be like this but it was still kind of depressing. It’s going to take a lot of sun or a lot of rain to clear this out before running can resume. And we are expecting more snow, possibly in as soon as a few hours. I will need to develop an unnatural love for treadmills, for unnatural is all it would be. Or take up knitting, which is currently not affected by snow.

Good conditions for running if you are a snow leopard or abominable sowman
Good conditions for running if you are a snow leopard or abominable snowman

And so it was here that I ended my snowy trek, turning back and heading up to ride the SkyTrain home. It was nice to get out and despite being 2ºC I managed to keep up enough of a pace to not feel cold. But I’d rather be running because when I’m running I’m not within eating distance of Bugles, Ferraro Rocher or other evil concoctions I have foolishly kept in the household.

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Keeping in shape at the mall

We got a copious amount of snow, enough that it can’t be described as a dusting, not even a mega-dusting. I’d say it was a mini-dump, enough to be a bother when walking on sidewalks that haven’t been shoveled but not enough to paralyze the area.

Today, with slightly warmer temperatures, the snow became rain and most of the plowed/shoveled areas are now bare again. Yay. The areas that were not touched are covered in a slushy, uneven mixture of water-logged snow. If this stuff freezes (and temperatures are set to go down again thanks to the ominous-sounding Polar Vortex) it will turn into an uneven mixture of jagged ice ready to impale and injure. Not so much yay there.

All of this beings me to my weekend run. I have no idea what the trail at Burnaby Lake would be like except that it would probably be some variation on the slushy, uneven mixture described above. While you can indeed walk on this stuff and stay mostly upright, attempting to do at a higher rate of speed greatly increases the risk of falling on your hiney. I prefer not to do this.

And so it is that for the first time in a long time (possibly ever, though I’d have to check) that I was unable to run due to snow. I’ve actually run in the snow before–once–and it was surprisingly pleasant. But that was when the snow was minimal (a light dusting), very dry and therefore easily compacted under foot. Looking back, it was almost exactly seven years ago (December 13, 2009). That’s long enough to seem like ancient times now. I had yet to run 10K at that point (though I did run 7.99K in the snow).

Now, I have both a Fitbit and an Apple Watch and the Fitbit expects me to walk 10,000 steps a day. The watch has several metrics in its Activity app designed to make sure the day is not spent on a couch pretending to be a legume. With the weather outside being frightful and the thought of lounging about indoors delightful, I had to come up with a plan if I wanted to keep my activity streaks intact (with the bonus of, you know, actual activity which is good for you).

My solution was to go to Metrotown. Walking end to end in that mall probably takes the average person 12 hours. I can do it in less time, though it is a test of my navigation skills. Sunday afternoons tend to be crowded, so I was constantly adjusting my pace, slowing and accelerating, slipping past mega-strollers and people glued to their smartphones. I also did a little shopping, mostly of the window variety. Eventually I realized a more optimal path could be found outside the mall, as the sidewalks skirting the exterior had little traffic, with the bonus of no Christmas music.

I did this both yesterday and today and hit my goals both days. It was nice to meet my targets and yet silly at the same time. Who goes to a mall as part of an exercise regime? And yet it worked.

Now I’m just biding my time waiting for this damn snow to disappear. The next week is looking dry and cold so it’s probably going to hang around just long enough to tease a white Christmas before a deluge washes it all away. It’s our Christmas tradition.

The dirty corgi walk

I went for another long walk today and once more wore my Hokas. The weather was much warmer, edging past the mid 20s as one of those fancy high pressure ridges has formed over the area (Weather Underground has a post about “dangerous, extreme heat blanketing the west” this weekend).

After completing the 18+ km route (walking counter-clockwise around Burnaby Lake this time) I noted the following vs. the last big walk:

  • my overall pace was even faster, 8:38/km vs. 8:54/km
  • my right leg started to feel achy after only one km; once the endorphins kicked in it wasn’t too bad
  • the right ankle twinged briefly again at the 8 km mark. Very weird that it would be that predictable.
  • the right shoe was rubbing one of my toes, which didn’t happen last time. Maybe the socks made the difference? The toe was rubbed red but never got to where it started bleeding
  • I jogged a few times in brief bursts and felt okay while doing so

I actually felt a strong urge to jog several times, simply to get back sooner because the shoe rubbing on the toe was bugging me a lot. A strange and unpleasant incentive, but at least it gave me the opportunity for a few test runs (ho ho).

The heat didn’t bother me. It’s much more tolerable when walking vs. running.

Oh, and the dirty corgi? This was a little weird. I passed by a number of people, given the zippy pace I was keeping, and one couple had a dog with a docked tail. I think all dogs should have big tails that can effortlessly sweep items off a coffee table and it strikes me as a little cruel to dock tails simply because it’s tradition or whatever. Anyway, it made me start thinking about other dogs that usually get docked and the corgi immediately came to mind. A few minutes later I passed a couple with a corgi. How strangely coincidental! The corgi was unleashed (no surprise there) and was distracted by a small mud puddle that had lingered since the last rain, so I (seemingly) walked by unnoticed. After sating its curiosity, it ran up to me from behind and for reasons only it will know, jumped up to say hi. Being a corgi, it only made it as far as my left hand, which it covered in water and grit from the puddle it had waddled through. I was both amused and annoyed. I washed when I got home.

I don’t like dogs. Still.

The walk was a mixed bag. The pace means the soreness of the right leg wasn’t enough to slow me down and the little joggy bits seemed fine, but after three weeks without runs I’m still uncertain whether I should try a run now or wait a little longer.

A strange walk

Today I woke up with an immense pressure headache.

I also went to bed the previous night the same way, though the pressure was not quite as immense then.

I’ve also been stuffed up the past few days so perhaps this is a renewed mega-allergy attack for an allergy that I have yet to identify but may be associated with pollen or other spring-related junk in the air. Whatever it is, it made me feel almost dizzy just to stand up. Bending down to tie my shoes was like diving in a submarine to the depths where The Great Old Ones await.

I opted to take the day off work then self-medicated with some Advil. After letting it kick in I decided to get outside, thinking that some fresh air might help and the exercise (probably) couldn’t hurt.

I tracked the walk, which took me to Burnaby Lake, around it and then back, a total of over 18 km. My pace over the first few km was in line with recent walks, starting around 9:30/km but then something strange happened (this is the first strange part of the walk). My pace picked up and continued to pick up. Save for the final km, when I finally started feeling weary, I stayed at or under 9:00/km for an overall average pace of 8:54/km. This is my best walk in months and rather unexpected. Even stranger (part 2) was that my right leg and foot (and my left foot, for that matter) felt fine throughout. I had a brief twinge in the right ankle around the 8 km mark but it lasted only a few moments and never returned. The leg continued to feel fine post-walk. It feels fine now.

What was so different about this walk compared to the others where the leg and foot have felt cranky and sore?

I wore my running shoes. The color migrating Hokas, to be precise. And I think that was enough. The Hokas may not retain their color well but they do provide a noticeable level of support. My normal walking shoes are Scarpa light trail hiking shoes. With my orthotics inserted in them they are eminently wearable but without them my left foot will start crying about me being a mean-spirited barbarian sometimes within mere minutes of walking out wearing them. Could the shoes really make that much difference? Possibly.

I’m going to wear my new Brooks Cascadia shoes for the rest of the week and see how they compare. Hopefully the results prove interesting, just not ancient Chinese curse interesting.

The third and final strange part of the walk came near the end. I had just exited the Brunette River trail onto North Road. There was a car in the curb lane on the bridge facing south with its hazard lights on. The rear bumper showed signs of damage, presumably from a rear-end collision. There appeared to be bits of the car on the road, under the bumper. None of this is strange because, as they say, accidents happen.

The strange part is there was no sign of the other presumed vehicle in this presumed accident. And no sign of the driver. Or any drivers. Or emergency vehicles. Or anything or anyone else that might be related to this looks-lik-an-accident. Just a slightly damaged car sitting in traffic by itself.

I got out of there quick, not just because the strangeness perturbed me, but because a car sitting on a busy road as rush hour commenced seems like a good way for more accidents to happen.

No run: The Walk

I was going to run tonight but then my leg exploded.

This is a slight exaggeration.

On Sunday’s run the muscle that went kablooey in my upper right leg last August started to ache a bit. Concerning, but yesterday (Monday) it felt a lot better so I was no longer as concerned and I planned to run on my normal schedule tonight.

Very early this morning the same muscle felt a little more sore instead of a little less sore, as expected. At first I shrugged it off as sleeping in a weird position and stretching it or something. The run was still on.

Just before getting up I stretched my legs, as one often does before rising. This resulted in a sensation in this upper right leg muscle that can be compared to (pick one or pick all):

  • 500 matches inside the muscle all being lit simultaneously
  • Satan suddenly possessing the muscle and attempting the Linda Blair head spin with it
  • a machine specifically designed to create pain suddenly teleporting into the muscle and activating

You get the idea.

I’m not sure how the simple act of stretching caused such an explosive burst of pain, but it did. I took two Alleve and tried resting (I passed on work since the incredible pain would probably prove distracting) but there was no position that went from “yes, this hurts” to “no, this doesn’t hurt” or even “yes, this still hurts but is tolerable.” So I got up and padded around, sat, had tea, got up, sat down again and so on. A few hours later the Alleve finally had some effect or the muscle relaxed sufficiently to become an ache.

It remains a dull ache tonight.

I decided a run would be unwise, plus it looked like rain, so I probably saved both my leg and my nipples*.

However, I felt a walk would be okay so I headed out and walked the river trail, touching the gate at the far end before returning. The weather was a light drizzle for about the first two-thirds. It changed to, well, steady rain for the last third, meaning I got drenched.

Still, it was nice to get out.

The Apple Watch proved flaky again, as it has before in inclement weather (or when I’m wearing a jacket, I’m not entirely sure what the trigger is). It tracked my run up to 7:20 p.m. then stopped on its own. I got inside at 7:24 p.m. so it didn’t miss much, but still, the only way to stop a fitness activity is to:

a) swipe through several screens until you get to the one where you tap the End button
b) force touch (press hard) on the activity screen until you get the same screen with the End button

Notice both of these require you to tap a specific, small button on a specific screen. There is, to my knowledge, no other way to make the app stop. And yet it did.

There’s a way to lock the screen. The next time I’m out and the weather turns bad I may try it to see if it prevents this from happening. I’d prefer it to just not happen, though. I don’t mind AI in the watch but I’d rather it not be rogue AI.

 

* don’t ask

About that March haiku where snow was forbidden…

It is snowing as I type this. I am disappointed my haiku did not have the power to control the weather.

As I have become tremendously soft and flabby over the winter I decided today to go for a walk rather than watch my expanded belly bounce as I attempted to jog. But it would be a long and brisk exercise-style walk, designed to improve my stamina and burn a calorie or two in preparation for the resumption of The Runs (not to be confused with diarrhea).

I headed out on my usual run route and shortly after stepping outside the first tentative flakes began to fell, mocking my decision to experience the outdoors. It was still well above freezing and the snow was curiously hard and bouncy, resembling small white rocks. I’m sure there’s a technical term for this. Rock snow. Or maybe it was just hail.

It relented and for awhile I forgot about it and focused on the walk around the lake. When I arrived at Caribou Dam I discovered a large section of the path, stretching from the dam to Silver Creek, had been cordoned off. It turned out the Beaver Rampage of 2014 had resulted in a copious amount of coal spilling and collecting in Silver Creek and the part of Burnaby Lake it feeds into. CN is tasked with cleaning it up before it kills all the fish, birds and turtles. They probably don’t mind if it kills the beavers.

Here is one of the nice signs explaining how the turtles will not be killed but a trout or two may choke on a lump of coal further downstream:

Coal Lake, March 1 2014

The only other thing of note on the trail were a few lingering patches of snow that were mushy or easy to avoid. There were plenty of joggers, some walkers and, of course, plenty of people with off-leash dogs because dogs must be free. Free to chase, jump, knock down, bite and maul.

I finished the 17 km or so at my usual pace of 6+ km/hr and unlike previous loner walks I escaped with nary a blister on my feet. Woot.