Monday, June 29, 2009

There are Always New Trails - Pulsatilla Pass, Banff National Park

Pulsatilla Pass

On Saturday, we started the day early and headed out to Lake Louise. As we were driving along, the thermostat kept dropping and then we noticed that the overflow ponds and creeks beside the river were frozen. Ah....June in the Rockies. Despite this -2c start to our "summer" day, it turned out to be a perfect weather day.

Keith, Steve, Mike, Phil, Tannis and myself started from the Lake Louise ski hill and ran into the Ptarmigan and Baker Lakes area. From there, we parted ways, with Keith and Tannis visiting Skoki Lodge and the rest of us going to Pulsatilla Pass.

That's me and my honey off in the distance with Redoubt Mountain lurking behind us. I was super excited for this trip, because we were going to try something BIG. A long and challenging run that would take us 72 km through some remote backcountry, from Lake Louise all the way to Banff. There was also a section of trail that I had never travelled before, that of Pulsatilla Pass. It is situated far in the backcountry 25 km away from any trailhead, in the heart of grizzly bear country. We followed the frozen foot prints of a giant beast for many kilometres and saw diggings everywhere. The bears had been doing some serious excavating.

Swimming, anyone?

Pulsatilla delivered the goodies, a beautiful high remote pass that felt oh-so-out-there. It was stunning.


Phil, breaking wind. Wait. That was me.

Phil had decided on a new experiment in "fueling for the long run" which was to purchase some very cheap and tasty Little Caesars Pizza. It kept us happy and running, but there were some highly toxic side effects. Sorry guys.

Them's are Big Mountains.

Despite enjoying a great day, I was feeling a little rough and decided to bail out at the 50km mark. I emerged back into civilisation at Johnson's Canyon trail head, which was a little shocking as it is a busy place on a Saturday. The last few kilometres on the trail, I saw a couple of girls in string bikini's and flip-flops, one guy hiking with a Ghetto Blaster (do they still call them that?) and 3 ex-coworkers from Melissa's Restaurant smoking weed in the bushes. Keep on rockin' the free world, dudes.

It was an easy hitchhike back to Banff and I made it back to town just in time to enjoy a BBQ down by the river to celebrate a friends wedding. I'm glad I cut it short. The boys took a few more hours to finish their epic day, to round up a solid 12 fun hours on the trail. Nice work boys. What an epic run. Keith and Tannis did 37km and got treats at Skoki.

It's nice that there are always new trails to enjoy in Banff National Park. Summer has arrived and I am so fortunate to live and play here!

Steve's photos here.
Mike's photos here.


Anonymous said...

Hi Leslie,
sounds like fun.
Say hi to Chris and your Mum.
Canada is so far away...
one day I make it back to Canada...
but at least we have some mountains just around the corner...

Backofpack said...

Looks like fun, though I'm not too sure about the trek through grizzly country. We are really gonna be wishing we were up there with you later this month. Serious FOMO.

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

I need to book a trip up there. wow

Meghan said...


Leslie said...

Hi Eric and Michelle, we'll miss you this summer but there's always next year!

Hi Chistel, good to hear from you!

Howdy Dave, have you conquered through grad school madness yet? Hope all is well!

Miss Meghan! Welcome back!
We've missed your presence in blogworld and your stories of wolves, and buffalos and elk. When are you going to do a posting on Yellowstone vs. Yosemite?

Thanks for the comments all!


el moderno Prometeo said...

Hi Leslie!
I have similar pictures from last summer: Pulsatilla lake, my first trail through Banff. These are wonderful memories from your country, and people who live there. My god, I should be Canadian.
Anyway, this summer I'm going to Peru: Huaraz and Andes are waiting for me.I will keep you informed
Regards to Iris and Julie.

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