I'd heard stories about wildlife encounters along the path, so I asked Vanitha for advice on what to do if it happened. She said I might run into moose or bears. With moose, she said you could probably just slink away quietly. With bears you should either play dead or fight back with everything you've got, depending on the type of bear. She also mentioned that the animals might act more defensively if they had their children with them, and that bears may "bluff charge" to try to scare you.
Then, Vanitha said she had a bear bell, which helps warn bears of your presence in advance. She suggested I carry it around with me on the path. I found the concept of a bear bell humorous, but apparently they are readily available in grocery stores and all kinds of places here.
|Vanitha's bear bell|
The bear bell is a pretty cheery looking contraption, no? Maybe Santa and his reindeer are actually wearing bear bells. =D
Sunrise is already pretty late here - yesterday, it rose around 9:15 AM. Overnight, temperatures were in the teens. While living in Chicago my whole life means I am definitely used to cold weather, I still didn't want to go out in conditions THAT cold. I waited until about 11:00 when the temperatures were in the mid-20s, then finally bundled up and headed out. While it was very chilly, the sun was shining brightly and thankfully there was no wind.
On the trail:
The scenery was beautiful. I can imagine in the summertime it must be even more spectacular. This was a small inland lake:
This was the view of the ocean. If you look closely, you can see mountains in the far distance:
There were a lot of spots with benches facing out towards the water. During warmer weather, it must be heavenly to sit in those spots and enjoy the view.
Some parts of the path were clearer than others. Certain areas were icy and/or had a lot of drifting snow, so I had to be careful of my footing.
Part of the trail was closed for bridge construction, so I was only able to run about 3 miles before the trail took a detour into town via sidewalk. I followed the detour for about a mile, but some of the surfaces hadn't been plowed. Therefore, I opted to come back to the path and do some out-and-backs to get myself to 10 miles.
How it felt:
Beautiful scenery aside, I didn't feel great during this run. My body wasn't acclimated to the cold and it was tough. By Mile 3 I was already feeling the exertion so I used every mental trick I could think of to get myself through. I've heard cold can mask dehydration. Sure enough, I never felt thirsty, but forced myself to drink from my handheld water bottle. Obviously the contents got icier and icier as I progressed. At Mile 5, I took a GU, but the cold had hardened it to the point it was difficult to squeeze out of the packet.
It was an enormous relief once I finally did finish! I was so happy to come back to the warmth of Vanitha's apartment, take a hot shower, and pass out on the couch like a cat hogging the sunshine. =)
More on Alaska to come!!!
Linking up with Lauren, Van, Isabel and Marcella for Wanderful Wednesday; with Chris and Heather, Lauren, Ashley, Amanda and Brian, and Carolann and Macrae for Weekend Wanderlust; and with Arnie and Jo, Sally-Ann, Anda, and Anisa and Katherine for The Weekly Postcard.