Friday, October 31, 2008

The Halloween Treat Experiment

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I would try a new experiment in eating on a long run. I left the Cytomax at home, ditched the Power Bars and Gu's and filled my pockets up with Coffee Crisp mini Halloween bars. Greg the Dog and I set off for an adventure, up and over Sulphur Mountain and enjoyed 3 hours of fun at a very leisurely pace!

Coffee Crisp #1-Greg and I climbing......
This was Greg's first time on Sulphur Mountain trail. He didn't like the noises that were coming from the Banff Gondola, which passes high above. It was kind of like dogs that hate hot air balloons or thunder. He freaked! Had I not had him leashed he would have run blindly, full speed, never to be seen again! Poor guy.

Coffee Crisp #2-Summit! yeah!

Coffee Crisp #3-descending the old road, backside of Sulphur Mountain

Coffee Crisp #4-break to eat snow-yummerz!!

Coffee Crisp #5 - Just because....

Coffee Crisp #6-Back at the valley floor.....

A quick cruise back past the Cave and Basin, where there were no tourists on this beautiful day!! They have all gone away and we have reclaimed the Town as our own!! Bwaaa! Ha! Ha!

I am happy to report the Halloween Treat Experiment was a great success!! I was very excited to be eating these tasty treats, was paying extra attention to my watch and when I should re-fuel and had no G.I. problems to report in 3 hours of running. Greg was jealous and actually snagged one from me when I was taking a photo of said chocolate bar. It didn't seem to bother him.


Bwaa! Ha! Ha!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Castle in the Rockies

Postcards from Banff....
"Hi mom, I'm having so much fun in Banff. Every day I go out and run around in the woods. It is a pretty special place and I love it. I think I may never leave! I love the hot tub in the backyard and the view out of the front window. I think Keith and I are going to retire here and sit and look at the view every day. Maybe we will get rocking chairs. And a sighting scope! I don't ever get tired of looking at Cascade Mountain. Living in a National Park is swell!"
My Town
Banff Avenue (Main Street) and Cascade Mountain
I thought you might enjoy a few images of the popular sights of Banff, including the historic Banff Springs Hotel. It really is a Castle in the Rockies!

The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

Vermillion Lakes and Mount Rundle

Sulphur Mountain Gondola with Tunnel Mountain and Cascade Mountain in the distance

My Pet Elk "Mittens"

****All images courtesy of Banff Lake Louise Tourism****

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Run with Keith and Chance the Dog

Just a quick post with lots of pictures for you from todays 2h 45min adventure around and about some of our favorite local trails! Keith and I enjoyed a beautiful day with our borrowed dog Chance who took a loooooong snooze when all was done. As well as our run, we enjoyed a great lazy Sunday with lots of coffee and lounging pre and post run. Aaaaah! I love Sundays!

Yesterday, I had a super run and visit with my friend Tannis, but oops and crap, the camera failed. Or I failed the camera, so no pics from that 4 hr effort....oh well!! We hit the Lake Minnewanka shoreline and the wind was raging, which just added to the experience. White caps on the water, the wind pummeling the cliffs and a sweet tail wind.

Hope you all enjoyed a great weekend and happy trails!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

First Snowy Run AND A Run in the Sun

Yes, it's that time of year where you just don't know what will be out on the trail to greet you. Our run on Friday was a prime example! There was just a little bit of snow on the mountains out my front window, so we thought we would sneak out to Lake Louise for one last pretty fall run. My friend Alana came up from Calgary for our little run and fortunately, she is always up for an adventure! As we were running out the door, we decided maybe we should both stick our Yak Trax in our packs, just in case.

Well. We were quite surprised when the snow started to accumulate on the side of the highway and when we rolled into the parking lot at Lake Louise, there was probably 10cm on the ground and we hadn't even started our climb yet!! The trail was totally runnable, but of course, as we climbed it got deeper. Still, the trail was lots of snowy fun and beautiful - just the views were a little obscured as it continued to rain and snow.

Because it was the first snowy run of the year, we marvelled at the insulating quality of the snow, how snow makes everything so quiet and enjoyed the extra cush under (wet) foot. We also couldn't believe how wintery it was out there! When we got up to Mirror Lake, it was frozen. At the top of the Little Beehive, it was getting deep! We cruised around Lake Agnes and I couldn't believe how different it looked from a few weeks ago.

Alana rocking the shoreline trail of Lake Agnes

On the top of Big Beehive, we couldn't see a damn thing but we got a few glimpses of Lake Louise from above. On the climb to Plains of Six Glaciers, we never did get a glimpse of the magnificent Victoria Glacier. We didn't really care, we were having fun trudging through the slush and the snow, which was rapidly getting deeper. We made it to the top of the Plains of Six Viewpoint which was the end of the line - knee deep snow and the trail disappearing into an abyss of swirling white.

End of the Line - Let's Juggle.

The decent down was fast and fun and I sure was glad I through those Yaks in my pack. It would have been treacherous without them! Instead, we ran down with confidence and were back on the lakeshore in a flash. I suspect the next time I see Lake Louise it will be a shade of snowy white, not that brilliant milky turquoise color!

More photos of the first snowy run of the year are here.

Today, we decided to stay closer to home for our run and run some of my favorite local trails. The snow that fell in Lake Louise, fell as rain here, so we didn't have to worry about any snow blocking our path. On the contrary, the temperatures were cool, but we got to enjoy a run in the sun!

We started at Cascade Ponds and found some beautiful single track through the forest to connect up and around Johnson Lake, the Two Jack Campground and ended up at Lower Bankhead.

We dawdled by Johnson Lake because it was so pretty and calm. And of course, we had to stop at the swing!!

Ollie and I did a bonus loop up to Upper Bankhead and the Lake Minnewanka lookout. Yup, it was worth the run up the hill.

The reality is that it is time for the snow to fly. Any bonus runs we can get in like today, are all icing on the cake of a stellar season of running! I am going to continue to get out for every moment I can on the dry trails before they are all buried for the winter.

Happy Trails!!

Photos from this run here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Spot the Difference!!

Hello friends, I want you to join in a with me for a little game that I like to call "Spot the Difference!"

Exhibit A - A Run to Lake Agnes, 3 weekends ago:

Exhibit B - A Run to Lake Agnes, yesterday:

Can you spot the differences? How many differences YOU can find in the two pictures??

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thanksgiving Roadtrip

This past weekend, we had made plans to visit my folks in their home in Creston, British Columbia. Creston is an easy 4 and a half hour drive South of here and is right on the American border. Keith and I decided that as well as the Thanksgiving visit, it would be a great opportunity to have some quality time together and take a quick mini road trip! Keith has been a busy boy this month - it is his busiest time of year at work and he has been spending lots of time away from Chateau Keith and Leslie.

The area North West of Creston is called the West Kootenays and it is a recreational paradise of lakes, rugged peaks and a milder climate than here in Banff. In summer time, it is a busy destination with lots of beaches, lakes and holiday homes on the Arrow Lakes, Slocan Lake and Kootenay Lake. In winter time, when all of the people go away, the area is often grey and overcast and receives pant loads of powder snow. The thing that always amazes me about a road trip through the Kootenays, is the size of these lakes. Kootenay Lake is the largest natural lake and it is shaped like a bow and arrow, with the Main Lake (63 miles/100 km long in the North-South direction) being the bow, and the West Arm (21 miles/34 km long in a westerly and southwesterly direction from Balfour to Nelson) being the arrow.

From Banff, we drove to Revelstoke and hopped on the Arrow Lakes Ferry, one of the gateways to the Kootenays. Yeeeeeah! Sunshine and a warm car. Love it. The scenery was pretty good, too!!

Enjoying the Sunshine on the Galena Bay Ferry, Arrow Lake, B.C

We had great weather for our drive through the Kootenays and enjoyed glimpses of the shoreline and some beautiful scenery along the Arrow Lakes, through Nakusp, Slocan and Slocan Lake. On Slocan Lake, the wind was blowing and making some huge white caps across the water.

Love my honey!

We rolled into Nelson late in the day, where we stayed with our friends Christy and Steven and enjoyed a great feed and a short but sweet visit.

Who doesn't love Nelson?? Nelson, B.C and Kootenay Lake

Next day, with the clear weather, we decided to take the extended shoreline drive to Creston along Kootenay Lake. We hit the Ainsworth Hot Springs, had lunch and giggles in Balfour, before taking the 35min. ferry across to the opposite shoreline.

It is always warmer in the Kootenays. The view of Kootenay Lake at Ainsworth Hot Springs is awesome, as are the hot springs themselves. Nothing like a soak with a view!

In Balfour, it was nice to enjoy the trip on the ferry minus the summer crowds. More importantly, we didn't have to fight the small children to play on our favorite toy!!


After the pleasure cruise on the ferry, we hit the twisty turny road to Creston which never fails to make me car sick. We rolled into the folks place mid afternoon to enjoy a visit. Their place has a great view and its an easy place to spend time just relaxing and enjoying the view. My brother and his family rolled in a bit later and that evening, we had a yummy Thanksgiving feast and caught up with each other.

Did I mention, I took 6 days off running?? It was sweet! But it would have been morally wrong to not enjoy a run on such a beautiful day, so Keith and I headed out for an easy hour before driving the 4+ hours home.

Country Roads

Dads' Water Garden