I worked until 6pm last night, much too long again, and was itchy for a walk. But our streets are covered with thick, deathly, packed-snow ice. A tense tip toeing walk, from gravel patch to gravel patch (we have gravel sprinkled over the road ice for traction this time of year) really isn’t a stress reliever, not much in the way of exercise.

Unlike my friends in other places and countries, our population is sparse enough that we can go outside whenever we like during this pandemic, as long as we keep our physical distance.

I decided to try the 9th Ave trail last night, to see if it was less icy than the road. I’ve torn my calf muscle twice since February and have been limping on and off so I told Jeff I was only going for a short walk.

It was so nice to be out, I hiked for 1 hour and 25 minutes. The trail is hard packed snow, and really icy wherever the sun has been able to hit the trail.

I have a trail access point just a house or so away from ours, beside Robert Service’s cabin.

It is a great trail, and takes you along the upper side of town, through the woods, up and down hills, all the way to the dog park by the Moosehide slide. I haven’t hiked it since before I was sick, so probably 2.5 years!

The sun was lovely, but it is still cold enough for a toque and mittens. I didn’t wear ice cleats, so in some parts I had to slowly tip toe and brace myself. I once had to grab a tree in a big bear hug to keep myself upright.

I’m in terrible shape. But with a 3 month sabbatical starting shortly, I’ll have no travel opportunities now, so I’m thinking I’ll just hike these trails for three months? The trail goes all the way up to the dome! There are new trails I haven’t even explored yet. Maybe I’ll pack my bear spray and head out every day? Will I find a way to bring Hank where he’s not going to pull my arm off, yet also not off-leash and running off on his own?

I’ve noticed my heart rate is lower than before I was diagnosed with cancer. I was out of shape before too, but had to stop on inclines because my heart was going way way too fast. It still goes fast on an incline, but not to such an extreme. If the doctors are right, and I had cancer for a couple years before diagnosis, I wonder if that is why my heart did that?

Anyway, I didn’t meet a single soul on the trail. Just some birds. If you look at the next picture towards the river, you can see the ice road, but also the ice track where people race their beater cars around for fun.

Here is the bottom of the Moosehide slide. There is a trail that crosses it much higher up.

Even up on the trail I was on, you can hear everything going on in town. So… pretty much just two conversations that were going on outside in the whole town, and a couple of barking dogs.

We still have a ton of snow to melt around here! It hasn’t been above freezing much yet. In fact, it was below -30C for several nights in a row in the last week.

I feel so fortunate that I can do this, when people elsewhere can’t leave their house, or live in a shared building and don’t even have an outside space.

Look at all the snow piled up in the mud bog parking lot here. It’s being scooped up and trucked off the streets of town for a month now. Leaving it to melt on permafrost would turn us back into a swamp pretty quick I figure.

I walked back through town, slowly, on the ice. Next time I’m wearing my cleats! It is so quiet in town. I walked right down the middle of the streets on the strip of spread gravel. There was no traffic.

Jeff said I was groaning in my sleep last night. My legs aren’t used to hills, but it feels great! I’ll just consider it prep work for next week when I can walk and hike all day if I want to!

Here are a couple other sunny photos from the last week. One of brothers Griff and Hank at the dog park.

And one of me, after I carved a throne in the snow mountain beside Hank’s kennel on Saturday, to soak up some rays 😀