Fearing for Your Life

Late May 2014, I was running around the peninsula at the Jasper Park Lodge in Jasper, Alberta, Canada. As I turned the corner on the peak of the peninsula, I came face to face, not 5 feet away, from a full size angry-as-f**k / startled-as-f**k bull elk mother.

The staredown, chase and fight lasted 30 minutes, and I encountered plenty of scars and scrapes form trees and branches. I rolled my ankle pretty badly as she pushed me into the beautiful Lac Beauvert.

Where the west was won

I armed myself with a masher stick, and was able to fend the mother off and stay on her flank as I angled myself back toward the cabins, and main lodge.

Luckily, a security / ranger saw me splashing around in the Lake, and as I ran back at full sprint toward the cabins, I ran past ‘her’ my saviour, and all I could say was “ELK”.

She asked me why I said that, she said it was obvious. It was 5 feet behind me and gaining on me. The mother was protecting her hidden calf, and to be fair, I would have eaten that baby elk so good if I found it.

As I was sitting in the lobby at the Fairmont, waiting for a medic to come and tend to my wounds, a delightfully friendly set of German couples came up to me to talk to me, and surely investigate what had happened.

Face cuts
arm cuts
Arm cuts

I discussed to them the story of the attack, and they were surprised. Apparently not 30 minutes earlier they had a photographic encounter with the mother elk. Just recently they sent some of those photos, and a nice email to my collegue at Atomic Improv (Donovan).

Just feeding
Just feeding
Just Chilling
Just Chilling

Your friend that had the encounter with the elk at Lake Louise said he would like a photo of the animal that caused him some grief. My wife and I whilst walking that morning came across the animal in a very composed repose and then saw it wander off towards the point. It was not until we were in the hotel that we realised what had happened to your friend. Enclosed are 2 photos that I took just before the fateful event. -Errol

I appreciate their sending of the photos. Such a glimpse into subdued calm before the storm.

When you run, follow a few safety rules:

  • Bring a phone
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back
  • If in danger, run for your life, you will be surprised at your split time.

Listen to the Rocks

I have written before about how much I enjoy running. Some individuals do not get the same sense of peace and tranquility from the perpetual motion of a good long distance run. They work out in gyms, and centers, packed with people on their phones… full of loud noises and equipment. When all you need to get your heart rate up, and get a proper sweat on, is a set of good shoes (it also helps to have a smartphone for GPS, and photos).

On a recent run in a desert heat of Tuscon, Arizona I came across some words of wisdom…

Stand Tall Even When No One Is Looking

This resonates with the runner mentality. We run for ourselves. We share the ups and downs of the run after, socially… but in the heat of the moments we can picking the best footing, the best line, the pace, and distance for ourselves. It is ultimately one of the most ‘selfish’ workouts one can indulge in.

Stop To Smell The Flowers

We must be reminded during the mind melt of a distance run that it is enjoyable. That our bodies and minds are getting stronger by doing this. We must take pause on our runs and smell the flowers, to appreciate how far you have come…

peace on top of cactus hill

or how far you have left to go….

the long way round and down

And of course… it is always worth it to indulge and imbibe after an investment of that magnitude.



But, you will never be able to hear what the rocks are saying, if you never get to listen to them. You will not hear them when people are talking. Their voices are hidden below acoustic layers of technology and society.

If rocks could talk, what would they say? If they pleaded to get thrown across a still pond, would you indulge them? If they begged you to find the smoothest one on the beach, would you spend a full afternoon? or weekend? or lifetime?