Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hey, Girlfriend!

Historically, I've spent a large amount of time in the company of men. In life, in work and in sport - in seems I've been a wee bit of a tomboy my whole life. These years and more recently, these days I seem to be amassing a rather fine collection of cool women who like to Giv'r. Having Nicola in town, was just the right motivation I needed to send off a few e-mails and before I knew it - BAM! There were 7 women who wanted to run on Saturday. Yahoo!

The weekend started early and went non-stop. On Thursday night, Nicola rolled into Banff and the first thing we did is go for a run. Now, I don't know Nicola that well, but in the first hour I determined a few things: she thinks farts are funny and she doesn't have an ounce of self consciousness. Our Mountain Bender started with an evening run around town and a trip up Tunnel Mountain:

It continued, with a ridiculously fun day which featured no less than 2 runs, a bike ride and a canoe trip. We started the day with the tandem ride to the trail head:

I've noticed that my face gets sore from smiling so much when I ride the tandem. Incidently, the tandem finally found a name last year: her name is Jill, named after this girl.

Nicola, in her happy place.

We ran for a couple of hours around Bankhead, taking in my favorite view of Lake Minnewanka and making it back to town just in time for a trip with my co-workers down the Bow River.

After that, we blast out to Johnson Canyon and the Inkpots for another hour and a half of cruisin' the canyon. I had forgotten that this run climbs the entire way! It was work than I was anticipating, in a good way. :)

I was excited for our run on Saturday because it was my first trip out to Emerald Lake of the season AND because I had the company of 6 amazing ladies. I love Yoho and the Emerald Lake area!

It's still early in the season and June is all about going out there and poking around and seeing how much snow is still out there. That's pretty much what we did on Saturday. We ran up to 3 different destinations from the lake: Yoho Pass, Emerald Basin and Hamilton Lake. The plan was to turn around wherever we hit the snow-line.

Starting out on Emerald Lake, the Chick train: Nicki Rehn, Iris Priebe, Monica Hardy, Nicola Gildersleeve, Ellie Greenwood and Angela Pierotti

Nicola cruisin'

Monica - she's strong on the climbs!

Ellie and Iris checking out the avalanche

Emerald Basin

We made it in to Emerald Basin, but Yoho Pass and Hamilton Lake were still snow bound. I can't wait to come back! It was my first time to Emerald Basin and we got to watch an avalanche of wet cement-like snow flow into the basin. At first glance, I thought it was a water fall - it looked like liquid instead of snow. And it just kept flowin'....


It was incredibly humid and we were all dripping sweat as we climbed up Yoho Pass. It's funny, this place is always like this: green, lush and moist. It's the only place in the whole park that we see cedars growing in the rainshadow of Mount Wapta. The Glacier Lilies were out, exploding from earth and snow any where they could. On the shoreline of the lake, there were lots of other flowers making their first appearance of the year.

Iris - rare mountain flower!

Hello, Emerald Lake. I love you.

To wrap up a great day of running, I had everyone over for BBQ at the house. There's no worries when you invite a house full of women over for dinner, things just take care of themselves. Everyone brought food, pitched in and made me look like a super star. The crowd grew larger, with Brenda, friend Jen Silverthorn and her baby Ellie and friend Miles joining in for the fun.

Girls of Lake Louise:
Ellie Greenwood, Nicola Gildersleeve, Nicki Rehn, Leslie Gerein

For a grand finalee of the Mountain Bender, I thought a visit to one of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth was in order. I was pleased that it looked a whole lot different than it did 2 weeks ago when the lake was still frozen! We started our run in the village of Lake Louise, ran the Tramline up to the lake and then hit the Little Beehive, Lake Agnes, Mirror Lake, the Highline, Plains of Six Glaciers and the shoreline of Lake Louise. Phew.

It was great to get to know Ellie and Nicola a little bit better as well - these ladies are talented and fast, fast, fast. And fun, fun, fun!

(Climbing to Mirror Lake)

(Gong Show - Part 1)

(Gong Show- Part 2)

(Gong Show - Part 3)

(Gong Show - Part 4)

(Lake Agnes)

(Plains of Six Glacier)


(Avalanche debris)

The outrageous scenery and great company left me feeling giddy and free. It was just what I needed to wrap up my training for Bighorn and leave me feeling relaxed, confident and inspired to just run and enjoy. Does that sound corny? Yup, but it was the perfect day.

(Ellie, feelin' the love)

So that wraps up the weekend mountain bender - thanks to all who participated and got me all fired up for the upcoming season. I'm thinking it was the "unofficial" start to my summer trail running season - I sat in glacier fed Pipestone creek post-run and the weather was warm enough to almost make it enjoyable! :)


Kaz said...

What an awesome weekend - you girls are amazing! Defo nice to have girls to hit the trails with like that. While running with guys can be fun it is nice to be free of the testosterone!
The mileage you must have done that weekend - I hope you had a lot of food at that BBQ!
Glad you feel ready for your race, best of luck,

Dan said...

Leslie, what a great weekend you had. Your run looks amazing. Thanks again for the incredible photos. I would love to see Emerald Lake for myself.

Deb said...

OMG, that looks like so much fun! I hate missing out! Can't wait to come run with you and the girls this summer. My foot is doing really good now, wahoo! Good luck at Big Horn!!!

Danni said...

So sad to miss out on the fun! Your friend's legs are like 20 feet long. I probably couldn't keep up anyhow.

Leslie's Keith said...

Can I come live there??

Oh...wait a minute, I'll be home tonight! See you in 12 hrs!



Paige said...

Man oh MAN, you live in such a heavenly place! I love all the pictures and all the running you girls did, what a blast!

Victoria said...

THAT is the kind of post guaranteed to get people to come to Banff. Beautiful-- and looked like lots of fun as well. (Since I already clearly missed out, I don't have FOMO-- just a wee bit of jealousy.)

Nicola Gildersleeve said...

I just posted my blog about this trip but without any of the names of any of the mountains and lakes because I couldnt remember any of them!!!!! (besides the obvious, emerald, lake louise).

I'll refer people to this one for 'more details'.

Can't wait to come back someday soon.

Leslie said...

Ki Kaz, good thought your way Pregolas!

Hi Dan - speedy recovery to you, you'll be back in the saddle in no time.

Howdy Deb! Can't wait for the summer, but first I have a little racey-race to get out of the way. Glad to hear you're getting better.

Danni, you're right her legs are 20 feet long. Her waist comes up to my armpits, I swear! :) They make her go really fast when she wants to.

Hi Paige and Victoria. You're both invited to the Promise-land. It's really that good. The only problem is summer is only 12 weeks long!!

Hi Nicola, sounds like your weekend left you with the same feeling that I have: pure stoke! Yeah, baby you're ready to rumble at States.
Thanks again for a great weekend!

JeffO said...

Now THAT'S Girl-butt!!! Great pix! (And the ones of the mountains are okay, too.)

Sue said...

Wow what a weekend you girls had...I'm so jealous wish I would have been there also. Amazing place you live Leslie. Good luck at Bighorn...not that your going to need it.

Stuart said...

OMG I have been to so many of those places!

As always looks like a total blast!

Anonymous said...

Hi Leslie, I saw your blog while searching for some runs in the Banff, Lake Louise, Canmore area. I'm headed up there next week from Colorado (but i'm a Canadian) and want to get in a few long runs(training for a 100 miler). The Colorado Rockies are clear and runable but i gather some trails up there are still snow covered. Any recommendation on trails to hit up? Rockwall? Assiniboine to Sunshine? please email me if you have any suggestions

thanks and congrats on your 100!

Unknown said...

I stumbled on this blog when looking up Banff in June as I will be headed there June 11-17th! I was wondering after looking through all of these pictures if you could tell me what trails will be good to go in this time and how likely will i be able to at least see some of the beautiful blue waters! Any tips, I will also be camping!

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