New Years Eve, 2014, a friend, Louis Nadeau, and I, set out around 11 p.m. to trail run from one year to the next. It was a clear night, just below freezing when we headed out to what we call, the Pipe Line Trail. This starts at the Puntledge River power station in Courtenay, B.C., and runs up to the head of the Riverside Trail. Most of it is a gravel pathway, until it enters the forest after 6-7 kms. We had run this route several times before in the dark, early morning, so we had some idea of the risks we were taking. With only the moon, and head lamps, for illumination, I figured it was good ultra training, for those long runs that go through the night, or begin early mornings.
We both wore hydration packs, with a mix of gels, and other nutrients, tucked into the pockets. We weren't running for long when we noticed the cold temperatures caused the water in the hydration pack lines to freeze-up, so we had to be careful to take frequent sips to keep things from clogging up with ice. We were midway through the winding forest trail when the New Year rolled over. I stopped at that moment, and let out a few hoops, and hollers, yelling, "Happy New Year!".
We took turns leading on the trail, as it wound its way through a fir tree forest to the Comox Lake dam. While passing through this we noticed a temperature difference, that it was several degrees warmer in the thick woods, even though we were at a higher elevation.