Running at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve

Yesterday I had a crap run. I was so pumped up from signing up for the Terry Fox Run and I got out there and my legs felt like lead and brain wouldn’t push them. I got through it but I took more walk breaks than I was supposed to and felt awful and disappointed with myself when I got home.

Today I needed a redo and a little change of scenery. So I headed out to the nearby Yukon Wildlife Preserve for a run. The annual pass is only $25 and a day pass is $15, so I got the annual. The preserve features only animals that live in the Yukon and they have very large natural enclosures. They do conservation work and animal rehab for injured wild animals which they release again once recovered if possible. They also do education about animals in the Yukon.

Svelte and I visited the preserve for the first time last month with the King and Queen while they were up here for a visit. It had taken six years of living in the Yukon for me to get there even though I used to drive past it every day to get to my house. It’s too bad I missed all those years, it’s amazing! I followed the 5 kilometer loop that passes all the enclosures. I had a great run, but I kept stopping for photos.

There weren’t many people out there as it is a cold and drizzly day here. I think that everyone in the park was around that first corner though. I plodded around it near the end of my first three minute interval. I’m pretty sure they though I was some sort of heavy breathing killer animal when I came around it because everyone turned to look at me. I was super embarrassed, but I just said “hi!” and kept going.

The next five minute run was uneventful, but when the next interval came I was at the exact start of Mount Doom. Even though I’d been on the bus tour here last month and noted that there was a hill it did not seem so deadly while riding on wheels. I valiantly started to run up it and made it about 100 meters before my heart rate was through the roof and those people I startled earlier could probably hear me breathing from a kilometer behind me. I walked until I could breathe again and then I saw the moose viewing platform to my right. I had to look for moose right? Right. So I “looked for moose” for a bit which you can actually see on my map just after the km 2 marker. Haha! I saw zero moose.

I continued to ascend Mount Doom and eventually reached the peak with many breathing stops and side stitches along the way. Mount Doom is cruel because every time you think you’re at the top it turns a corner and the next bit is steeper and longer that what you’ve already done. Here I am at the summit.

Then, GLORY! I got to run downhill. I had paused my couch to 5k app on the way up because no running was going to happen. After my breathing was that of a normal human again I started it up and ran down. At the bottom of the hill I found a nice lady who told me what a great idea it was to run here to get some exercise and nature together and that she might do it in the future too. That made me smile. I also found the foxes, and ran around for a few minutes trying to get good pictures of them. Here a slightly blurry but very happy fox.

 He was found abandoned on the side of the road when very young and the family that found him thought he was a puppy. They took him home to nurse him back to health and keep him. Then they realized that he was not a dog. The Wildlife Preserve took him in and raised him but by this time he though he was a dog. He wags his tail and is apparently very social and could not be released back to the wild. The fencing you see on the ground here had to be installed because he dug his way out and went back to the animal care center in the preserve where he was raised to see his human friends. Now he stays in his enclosure with a very cute lady fox. I got a few photos of the arctic foxes too but they’re a bit far away so I’ll try to get some better ones next run.

The next stop was the mountain goats and the sheep. Here’s some shots of them.

 I stopped at the lynx enclosure for a while to try and get a photo but they were shy today, even though there was a dead mink lunch on the ground right beside the viewing platform for them.

I continued on. My c25k was done by this time but I kept running as long as I could and walking for a bit and running again. Near the end of the run I was toodling along the road and a man came out of the trees beside the trail and scared the SHIT out of me. I don’t startle easily. Svelte tries to scare me constantly and very occasionally gets a little yelp or jump which is a triumph for him. It’s the bane of his existence that he can’t scare me. There were some trees between the dirt road I was running on and the enclosure fence and he was there taking photos as evidenced by his huge camera. When he stepped out onto the road almost beside me I jumped, yelped, and ran across the road. I stopped and laughed and apologized to him for yelling and running away (because I’m Canadian and we apologize for everything), and he laughed and apologized for scaring me and we both went on our way.

At this point my old phone died so I couldn’t get any more photos. But I will definitely be back to run there often. It was so, so great! And they have a cross country ski trail which I plan to learn to do this winter. I even have my own skis from a failed attempt to learn about 4 years ago… that story will come later this winter.

So if my Yukon friends want to run the preserve with me and tackle Mount Doom together let me know! I’m in. But even if you want to go for the bus tour it’s 100% worth it. Go!

It’s fall here in the Yukon and I took a photo with no animals in it just because the yellow on the trees was so pretty.

Now I’m off to the hot tub and feeling much better today after a good run than I did yesterday!



One thought on “Running at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve”

  1. I love the pics!! The scenery is gorgeous! Great job on all your hard work! Never beat yourself up for a tough run. We all have them but they just make the great runs that much sweeter.


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