Sunday, January 30, 2011

Runs With Me

Life's been good and with the good life, comes the passing of time. Quickly. I'm the World's Greatest Procrastinator and when I'm busy having fun, well, things just fall to the way side. Time passes and I really don't know where it disappears. Case it point - Running. I finally sat down and looked at my schedule and when I looked back to the holidays,ski tours, lodge trips and birthdays - I realized I had only been running once a week for the past 5 weeks! Don't get me wrong, there's no shortage of activity in my world and I'm all for cross-training but I need to run.
Naturally, I decided a dedicated weekend of running was in order to get my running mojo back! I ran for 2 hours on Day 1, 3 hours on Day 2 and 2 hours on Day 3. I felt good on Day 1, rotten on Day 2 and simply awesome on Day 3. Oh yeah. We're running.  Lots of stretching, hot tubbing and eating rounded up a damn fine weekend.  And it felt good.
 I'm Smiling in this Photo

These glorious photos are from the run that I took by myself - it was pretty sweet.  Sometimes, it just takes a little run by oneself to clear the cobwebs, the complacency and the brain. 

Can We Run Now?

The next run, I got to spend time with Casey - this gorgeous puppy dog.  She was damn fine company and nearly pulled me off my feet when we were descending.  She was very appreciative afterwards and showered me with kisses and snuggles when we were done.  I sure did appreciate the doggy love!

Jumping For Joy!

For my final run, I got to spend 2 hours with my friend Lori from Winnipeg - it was her first time running in Banff.  The run was punctuated with giggles, shared stories, photographs and lots of  "Oh. My. God."  with regards to the outrageously gorgeous scenery. Just seeing my backyard through someone else's eyes is good medicine.  Running Rocks.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Trio of Skoki Delights - A Videoblog

Skoki Lodge is one of those fantasy places that people dream of when they think of the Canadian Rockies in Winter.  A snowy backcountry oasis, featuring a historic cabin in the woods, buried in snow, a fire on the hearth, a warm welcoming and food on the table.  It truly is my idea of winter paradise.  If you haven't already been, you need to make a trip and book yourself a stay at Skoki Lodge.  The hospitality is fantastic, the food is divine, the ambience is amazing and the scenery is simply unbelievable.  It's a Mountain Lover's Wet Dream.

On this particular day, we were pretty excited when we woke up to discover a foot of snow on the ground in our driveway in Banff.  It made for a sketchy drive on the highway to Lake Louise, but the reward was a beautiful wintery landscape of white and grey with pantloads of bottomless powder.  Our ski-in to the lodge was much harder than usual, as we were breaking trail the entire way. No worries, we are Powderhounds - and this is what we do for fun. We even managed to sneak in 4 glorious descents before skiing in and collapsing in content bliss at the lodge.

The crazy winter weather just kept on Givn'r all weekend long,with more snow and wind turning our world into a swirling, stormy, white Oasis.  There were a few Moments of Clarity - and lots of moments of Fun!

Our day skiing in and around the lodge was highlighted with a nice little ski tour, a few great runs, one small avalanche and with my Eagle Eye - a great wildlife sighting.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lake O'Hara - Yoho National Park

Last weekend, Keith and I enjoyed a fun-filled 3 days at the Elizabeth Parker Hut in Yoho National Park.  The trail head is less than an hour from Banff, just off of the Trans Canada Highway.  It's a fairly gentle 12 km ski in to this historic hut. The Lake O'Hara area is a ridiculously popular area in the summer months, but you'll find it a whole lot quieter in the winter months.  The mountains in this area, seem to explode out of the earth straight into the sky. 

Kind of like this...
And this....

AND this....

Seriously, my neck was sore from all of the rubber-necking I was doing.  The area is stunning and this corner of Yoho National Park is just different from any other place I've been in the National Parks. It's got it's own unique personality.  It's a big world at Lake O'Hara.  Big mountains and big terrain.

It was a cold weekend, but we were lucky enough that it had dropped about 20cm of fresh snow to freshen up the already fresh landscape. The hut was the perfect place to relax on a cold day and we filled it with 12 friends. Between the capacity crowd, the good food and the fire, we had it cooking hot in no time.

Let's Ski There!

The avalanche conditions were running high on this weekend, so we mostly just looked around and went for a little ski.  It's not a place that is famous for ski touring - possibly because the mountains are vertical in almost all directions!  We did manage to make a few turns and had a great day out there.

 Me and Anna

Brenda leads the Posse

Heading back to the Hut

It was a sweet relaxing weekend with good people in an incredible place.  I seriously ate more calories than I burned, and that was the best part of the weekend fun.  I'll be back for some future adventures - it's a location that can't be beat. The Elizabeth Parker Hut and the Lake O'Hara area are pure bliss for anyone who enjoys rugged, beautiful wild places!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Busy. Fun. Life. Good.

Clearly, life's been to busy to write quality posts. In the mean time, you'll have to settle on such gems as "Blame it on the Boogie". :) BTW, I'm still singin' that damn song.

I just can’t, I just can’t (Yeah)I just can’t (Woo) control my feet

Officially, I'm playing blogging "Catch-up". I haven't even posted any of the photos from the New Year's Day ski tour - and it was a glorious sunny day. Forgive me blogging buddies, for I have sinned. Too much living being done here.

Amidst all of this, was some continued Holiday Socializing with a side of Holiday Eating to leave me in a Post-Holiday Daze. Please. I can't possibly eat any more chocolate. Oh wait. This past weekend we squeezed in 3 days at Lake O'Hara and we actually ate more than we exercised. Of this, I am utterly sure. Somewhere in there, I also missed my own Blogging Anniversary (whoa - December 2007) and as a Grand Finalee, yesterday I turned 42.

Hot Damn.

Time really DOES fly when you're having fun!

For my birthday, I kept it simple. A nice sleep-in. Coffee and breakfast cooked by husband. A birthday run. Massage. Dinner at Home. Movie. = Awesome!

It was cold: -24c and snowing hard when we woke up, but it improved to a balmy -19c and snowing harder by the time we left for the birthday run. We had 4 hours to kill outside, before my 3:00 massage was booked. It was the first massage I've had in over a year.

To keep us motivated and lure my husband into 4 hours of running on a cold and snowy day - I broke the run up into many short pieces. We managed to stay on trail for the entire thing, except for a fun mid-run Coffee Stop. The run went like this:

-run to the Rimrock hotel on the backyard trail
-run to Spray bridge and the old Quarry
-run to visit Mike at the Banff Springs Hotel
-run to downtown Banff and a lap of Fenland Trail
-run to Jump Start Coffee shop for a coffee and snack
-run up Tunnel Mountain
-back to town and quick lunch at Wildflour Bakery

All of this got me to my massage appointment on time, with about 2 minutes to spare. I've got to do more silly runs like this in the future. Because the weather was so terrible (grey day, low cloud, cold and snowing) there aren't any photos of gorgeous scenery - just photos of gorgeous people. :)

Hello, snowy day!

Quarry Bridge: Spray River

Queen of the Castle

At the Wildflour Cafe
Warming up on Tunnel Mountain

Queen of the World!

Husband of the Day Award

Home. The View out my front door.

We're off to Skoki Lodge tomorrow for a couple of days, I'm looking forward to more time on trails and more eating. It seems to be a good combination!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's: Blame it on the Boogie

Remember the '70's disco classic "Blame it on the Boogie" by the Jackson 5? It's real good stuff, groovy beats and high quality lyrics like...

Don't Blame it on Sunshine

Don't Blame it on Moonlight

Don't Blame it on the Good Times

Blame it on the Boogie.

I heard this little gem while listening to 70's satellite radio this weekend and it has wormed it's way into my brain and lodged itself there. Because I can't seem to get rid of it, I've decided to adopt it as my New Year's Mantra: OW! Sunshine! Mmmm. Moonlight. Good Times. Boogie.

On New Year's Eve day, we started our day with a hike/run up and down Sulphur. Both Keith and I hadn't been up there in awhile and we lingered at the house until the temperatures warmed up to a balmy -19c. I forgot the camera for photo documentation, but we had loads of fun. I'm trying to get my hubby and I back in some kind of regular running - the running has been inconsistent. My theory is it's all good as long as we're getting out. The trip up Sulphur took us almost a couple of hours and it was good to be out and about with just my honey and me!

After our jaunt up Sulphur Mountain we did a quick turn-around and headed back out to Lake Minnewanka for a late day adventure. We joined up with Anna and Stew and their 2 dogs Kona and Oscar.

Anna and Stew were determined to spend New Year's Eve winter camping, so we helped them carry out some extra gear on this freezing cold day. That gear included lots of sleeping gear, chocolate and lots of liquid in the form of hot wine and hot boozy coffee. Got to keep your lady warm and happy on New Year's!!

Minnewanka shoreline - Winter Edition

It was a great day. It took us a couple of hours to travel the 8km to the campground and Keith and I came back on the ice across the lake in less than an hour. It was so bright on the frozen snowy lake that we didn't even need our headlamps. So, sing-a-long with me as we dance our way into the New Year....

Owww. Sunshine!

Woooo. Moonlight!

Good Times!


New Year's Day

Simplify. Life's only as complicated as you make it! Happy New Year!