Saturday, December 26, 2009
What are you going to do?
New Year. New Trails. New friends. New Adventures!
Past year. Quality time on my favorite trails. Good Friends. Family. New Adventures. Inspiring places. Good people. Life Is Good.
I started sifting through my photographs for this post, to do a retrospective of the year in photographs. I'm off for a hot weather escape this week and I thought I could do the post quickly before I left town for the week. What I quickly realized after being sucked in for hours looking at my photographs of the year is this:
Holy shit. It's been a good year!
Pretty profound, huh? I won't rehash it all for you and I barely touched the surface with the photographs. I had a lot of great adventures this year on the trails of Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks. I saw a lot of new places and new trails. Adventures by myself, adventures with my hubby, adventures with old friends and adventures with new friends. I'm going to borrow a quote from Meghan, who borrowed it from Edward Abbey:
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. ~Edward Abbey
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
For the weekend, we were looking forward to skiing in to Egypt Lake Shelter, but when the weather was forecast to be below -30c we thought it was best and safest to NOT wake up in a little cabin in the woods. Instead, we skiied up Healy Pass and then returned to the comfort of home. It was a cold day and I was having difficulty staying warm despite a ski that climbed for 8km!! It was the right decision for us. It was a beautiful day and you could see and feel the cold all around us. Stu and Anna continued up and over the pass and enjoyed a night at the shelter, while we scurried home to the hot tub. :)
On Sunday morning it was -30c in town and Keith and I were glad to enjoy a lazy morning. By mid-afternoon it was -25C, practically tropical so we headed into the forest behind our house and up the hill to try and get warm! We did a kick-ass short but sweet run of 1 hour with some tough climbing and I couldn't believe how strong Keith is. He hasn't lost any of his fitness and he's so excited to be back running. He was giddy to be ripping around in the woods, even in the -25C.
Last night, things had warmed up to a most enjoyable -10c, which was aaaaawesome so we jumped back on the Tuesday night program, the Sulfur Mountain night run. There were big smiles and sounds of "Weeeeeeeee!" in the woods. Yay for a week of normal temperatures in the forecast!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
My spidey-senses were tingling today! That little sixth sense in the back of your brain that says....there's something you should be aware of. I was browsing my blog to see what I was doing at this time last year and I realized a few things:
#1: I HAVE A GREAT LIFE! I'm shouting that one at the top of my lungs. Let me repeat. I HAVE A GREAT LIFE!!!
#2: At this time last year I was doing the same thing(s) with the same peep(s). Running, ski touring, complaining about the weather...but smiling while complaining. And finally.....
#3: It's my Blogaversary!
I almost forgot all about it. While birthdays, anniversaries, holidays are typically not things I pay much attention to, the Banff Trail Trash blog has been a little surprise joy in my life. It's been the inspiration to capture some images of this amazing place that I live, to share some stories of time well spent on the trails and most surprisingly to network, connect with and meet some pretty cool people. Who knew? So, thanks y'all. I really enjoy sharing my place with you and I really do love to hear from you! And for those of you that I have never heard from, please don't be shy: I'd love to hear from you. That's an open invite. And you don't even have to pretend you like running really, really, really far!
Monday, December 7, 2009
Current Conditions: Banff National Park
It's been a gorgeous week in Banff, with lots of sunshine. The full moon ski on Wednesday night was soooo much fun and spectacular! There were 7 of us who headed out to howl at the moon, but mostly it was just me doing the howling. It was clear and cold and so bright that we didn't need headlamps. We took the last gondola up to Sunshine Village, had us some dinner and then headed out. With the light of the full moon, we climbed out of the resort and above treeline and made 3 short, sweet, enjoyable runs. It was pretty magical to see the mountains and all of that high alpine scenery all lit up by moonlight. The visibility was incredible.
We planned our wardrobe.
Heeeey! See that? The big mountain? Over there? That's The Monarch!
Making a few turns...
Super-Keith breaking trail for the ladies
So, the Arrival of Winter brings new adventures and new challenges. I'm embracing it with a celebratory hot tub for a weekend well spent.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
My trip to the Grand Canyon, was a fairly spontaneous one. I had never been to Grand Canyon National Park before and was totally stupefied when I first saw it: the Grand Canyon is a vast, immense, bewildering, mind-blowing, behemoth of nature. It's sheer enormity is dizzying and it is Grand in every way.
In the past few years, as I built up my distance and started running longer and farther than I ever have...the idea of running across the Grand Canyon just got stuck in my mind. I thought this would be a super-cool way to see and enjoy the Grand Canyon. As I met more people in the Ultra running community, the consensus was that the Grand Canyon was indeed an incredible place for a run. I heard all about how tough and challenging and beautiful it was and I knew I had to do it. A great big run from rim to rim to rim: R2R2R!!
My run started in the wee hours of the day, when Keith dropped me off in the darkness of the South Kaibab trail head at 5:40 in the morning. I've never been so excited to run off into the darkness by the light of my headlamp(s)! I was giddy. Running new trails in new places is just exciting stuff, if you are me. The descent into the canyon was a whole lot of fun. The trail was wide, steep and strewn with boulders and erosion bars. There was an awareness of a deep, dark abyss out there somewhere nearby in the darkness. The morning was clear and cool and the stars were still out, but it didn't take long for daylight to make an appearance. It's hard to run in the Grand Canyon if you're a first-time visitor like me, because every corner and every view stops you dead in your tracks.
I was rubber-necking at everything in sight! I am fascinated with the desert landscape, because it is so unfamiliar and new to me. Running amongst cacti and the spiky leaved Yucca is just plain cool. I was amazed with how much water is in the Grand Canyon. The trail climbs the Bright Angel Canyon towards the North Rim and I was surprised to find it alive and flowing with water.
I was also pleasantly surprised with the fall foliage. The colors were still changing and the leaves hadn't dropped yet, making for a beautiful day.
The North Rim is 1000 feet higher than the South Rim and is largely forested with Pinyon Pine and Juniper, so the views are limited. On the descent, I had fun letting my legs run and cruised back down to Roaring Springs in no time. Jody caught me on the way and we visited for a bit and took some pictures, before she flew by.
I was pleasantly surprised at this section of trail and I even managed to run a lot of this section. I was feeling strong and enjoying the climb. As the sun went down, it cast a soft red glow on all of the high places within the canyon. The sunlight line just slowly receded on the rocks, until it disappeared entirely. I hit Indian Garden Campground for sunset and it got real dark, real quick.
I learned later that Indian Garden is at 3800' feet, 3060' feet below the rim. I still had 930 metres of climbing to go! The elevation from the Colorado River to the South Rim is over 1400 metres - that's a lot of elevation to gain at the end of a day.
I was happy to finish strong, all though it certainly wasn't easy. It took me 14 hours exactly and I enjoyed every moment of my day! Keith was waiting for me in the warmth of Bright Angel Lodge, with a big hug and a bag full of warm clothes and munchies. Thanks, honey! We celebrated with pizza and beer to wrap up an incredible day, in a very special place. I am fully, totally smitten with the Grand Canyon. We rounded up the weekend with a day of playing Tourist on the South Rim. What a great adventure!
November is an incredible time to visit Grand Canyon National Park. The weather was great and we had the entire South Rim all to ourselves. The football field sized satellite parking lots were all empty and we were frequently the only ones at some of the viewpoints. For those of you who like to run really, really, really far....well, put the Grand Canyon on your list. The R2R2R run is a helluva' challenge, but a challenge made easy by the epic scenery. For me, it really was all pleasure: a spell-binding journey through a one-of-a-kind landscape.