If you are going to be hiking or running the hills in the valley, being prepared for any circumstance should be at the forefront of your thoughts.

Morgan Syvertsen, an avid marathon runner, from Drumheller, trains in these hills to prepare for his grueling races and has come across many different situations during his years of training.

He says "Get off the pavement, and run through the hills, because it is so much better for your body. I can run way longer and farther on trails than I can on pavement."

So with it being easier running through the hills and on softer ground, there are some obstacles that Syvertsen has come across. Some of them are known to be quite dangerous and you need to take caution.

While on a trek with 3 other people, a cougar was spotted and confirmed by the game warden, in the hills behind the Tyrell Museum.

Syvertsen says "I've seen fox, coyotes, 2 lynx, porcupines, no end of deer, and had a run in with a beaver.  It gave chase, and I had to bugger off."

"Moose, of course, those are the ones you really gotta watch out for," Syvertsen says, "As far as wildlife goes, they hear you and they are gone."

A main concern of runners is off-leash dogs in the hills. Syvertsen says, "I was running the little loop behind Midland Coal and came across an owner with four off-leash dogs, which they are not supposed to be, and the dogs came at me. My only defense was my water bottle. All I could do was spray them in the face, but that happens so rarely, it's not an issue."

As far as the terrain is involved Syvertsen says, "Stay away from the bentonite. It doesn't mean that you can't run on the trails. You just gotta make sure that where you're running is not on the slippery, slimy stuff."

"Most people aren't aware of the Midland Park itself, is not just down in the valley, it's actually up on top for a little ways as well. Really nice old deer trails there and you are up above the bentonite."

"The real issue when you get out in the hills, especially by yourself is falling because the ground is really uneven. There are sinkholes," Syvertsen warns, "You really have to pay attention. You have to watch every footfall because you can end up with a broken knee cap or a sprained ankle."

When you're heading for the hills, always let people know where you are going and carry a light pack in case of emergencies and always carry some food and water.

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