Midnight Runner Strikes Again: Pacific Spirit Park North

Another Friday night, another headlamp run around Pacific Spirit Park to see how many trails I could hit before my legs fell off.

Another midnight stroll around the park.

Another Friday night, another run up to Pacific Spirit Park to see how many more trails I could hit before my legs fell off. Spurred on by my previous, impromptu mapping adventure in the park two weeks ago, I headed up for more, this time with spare batteries, a bit of food, and a rough plan in mind to see how many of the trails north of 16th Avenue I could run.

My belly still full of sushi and veggie soba soup, I headed out around 10:45 with my headlamp, a bottle of Gatorade, a vanilla Gu and a bag of Honey Stinger Fruit Smoothie chews that hit the spot in ways I never thought possible three hours into the run. Whatever lab put together that ‘natural’ flavour was really on its game!

The rain had stopped but conditions for the run weren’t great: the rains of the past week made sloppy messes of those trails not capped with crushed gravel, most notably East and West Canyon and upper Sword Fern; and the headlamp beam illuminating the cool mist throughout the forest made it feel as though my vision was blurred much of the time. The stretch of the short Fairview trail which meets University Boulevard was even flooded well over ankle-deep and marked with warning signs. As adventurous as I may have been feeling, I had no interest in going wading just to claim a 10-metre-long piece of trail.

With the exception of that underwater stretch of Fairview and possibly a short section of Vine Maple that meets Lily of the Valley, I believe I ran every trail above 16th Avenue. It was a hard slog at times and I had second, third and fourth thoughts about doing the whole thing as I flailed up and down the slightly steeper grades of the trails north of Chancellor Boulevard during the latter half of the run, especially knowing that however bagged I was from the run around the trails, I still had another 7-8 road kilometres to get home.

The Garmin map had a few questionable plots on it but it did show once again how roughly the trails on the official park map are drawn. In addition, I found a few unofficial, unnamed trails which aren’t on the map, including a surprisingly short one that links East Canyon with Pioneer that is marked only by a No Cycling, No Equestrian sign.

Like last week, I managed about 26k on the trails, but my entrance and exit points were a little further away, making my round-trip about 41k. My feet were sore from ongoing annoyances (I will stop short of calling them injuries, thank you very much) and my right hip was whining a bit… okay, a lot, toward the end, but I did manage a brief cooldown of skips, cariocas and a short walk, so I wasn’t completely fried. My legs felt heavier but I think I was in generally better shape than I was when I got home last time. I got back just before 3:00am and someone wasn’t too happy when I finally rolled into bed after 4:00.

Click here for the PDF of the official park map.

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