Sunday, January 22, 2012

Feelin' the Love

After a weekend spent surrounded by good people, I'm feeling the love.

This beautiful mountain community that I live in, currently buried under the white blanket of winter - is populated by amazing folks.  Over the 7 years that I have lived in Banff, I found that it didn't take long to connect with like-minded people.  Our collection of fun and fantastic people has continued to grow and the friends we have made in  the Bow Valley never cease to amaze me.  Young and old, I love these mountain people.

I enjoy people who love the mountains and who appreciate them as much as I do.  You don't have to be a crazy endurance athlete to enjoy and appreciate mountain living.  All of us mountain lovers share the same sense of wide wonder when we gaze upon the beauty and the vastness of the immense wilderness that surrounds us.  We are all connected by this. I just like to connect with it by feeling it under my feet, seeing it with sparkling eyes-wide-open and hearing it in the sound of crunching snow.

This weekend I got to enjoy the good company of these like minded folks and realize:  Damn.  I live in a great community.  I spent part of my day today volunteering at the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet and reconnecting with many of my friends in the Bow Valley.  The end-of-the-race party is my favorite part - a room full of good people and good energy.  A room full of the warmth of a community and of good friends.

My weekend has Slam-Bam full of reconnecting with good peoples.  As well as my super day today, I got out for a ski tour with Suzy and Monica on Friday and I got enjoy some quality time in with Super Angela.  We hit the road this morning for a few hours of run time.  It's also been All About Winter.  This week we saw -34c temperatures and a new blanket of snow covering the pine forest.  Fortunately, we broke out of the deep freeze this weekend so we could all get out and play.

Me and Suzy - getting ready to ski.

Fluffy Powder in Chickadee Valley

I'm loving up the ski touring - I always have - but it's good to be out enjoying winter in this way.  It's pretty magical - I mean, how many people get to do this?

All smiles, with Monica

I've got the whole winter to enjoy this sport - we ski here well into May and I'm planning on enjoying it.  I've been a life long skier and while I may not be using a chair-lift much these days, I still love it as much as when I was a young ski-bum. :)  I reckon the main difference is I just don't drink as much beer.

Ladies of the Bow Valley Unite!!!

Today, I did a run with Angela which has almost become a January tradition for me.  Every year, I take a road run on Highway 1A and it's awesome.  I don't know why I don't do it more often.  Keith dropped us off at Johnston Canyon and we ran home.  One of my favorite thing about running the 1A is looking for animal foot prints.  Today we saw lots of coyote prints, deer, elk and wolf.  And little critters too - like mice, voles, squirrel and pine marten.  I'm always scanning for prints - it's one of my favorite things about winter.  My friend the divine Ms. Ellie saw a Lynx today while skiing from Lake Louise to Banff.  A Lynx is a pretty special sighting - I've only ever seen 2.  Such a lucky girl!

It's a secondary highway.

Angela doing her Angela Thing.

Arriving back in Banff on Vermillion Lakes Road

Feeling the Love!!

Fenland Trail

Done!  O.K - I didn't ski from Lake Louise to Banff, but I'm awfully impressed by those who did!

There were also lots of friends participating in the ski loppet today - it's a very special race.  They only groom this trail once a year to create this epic 70km Cross-Country ski race from Banff to Lake Louise.  Maybe one year, I'll dust of my cross-country skis and give-it-a-go.  Congrats to all who finished and the stand-out performances of my friends Liza Pye and Blaine Penny!  Both of these ridiculously talented athletes (and ultra-marathoners) finished at the top of the heap today.  Congrats, Y'all. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I'm Home! I'm Home!

Travel.  Holiday.  Vacation.  I've had friends return from lengthy trips, only to be befuddled, depressed and unable to deal with the realities of their "real world".  In our case, the opposite is true.  Keith and I are literally overflowing with love, for this place that we call home.

Keith loves Banff!!

We've spent the last month adjusting back to our world, our reality, our home that is Banff.  We've always know that the life we have here is special, but it only takes 3 months away to make us even more appreciative of that fact.
The Neighbours are Good.

Since we've arrived home, we've been spending an aweful lot of time outside enjoying our special place.  We're connected to this place and these mountains.  It nurtures our soul to spend time outside in this place.  We've been running around the woods, we've been skiing, we've been strolling, we've been smelling and breathing and taking it all in with fresh eyes.
Last Week - strolling on the Bow River - Fairholme Range in the background.

This week - enjoying a birthday run.

Do I look happy?  That's because I am.  My latest pose seems to find me declaring out loud I'm Queen of the World!!  This place does that to me.  It makes me whoop out loud joyfully a lot. 

On the running front, I sure am enjoying myself running around the woods again - my backyard rocks.  It's the time of year that I spend the most time on my local trails.  In winter, your options are more limited - so I tend to spend a lot of time on the same trails.  Tunnel Mountain, Fenland Trail, the Spray River Trail, the Bow River/Hoodoos, Marsh Loop and Sulphur Mountain are all part of the fun.  My favorite winter trail is something I call the "backyard loop" which is a rather amazing 30 minute loop through the woods behind my house.  It's got a killer runnable hill, it's sheltered from the wind and it's so pretty.  I seldom see anyone on it.  Today, I saw fresh coyote tracks in the fluffy fresh powder and eventually, was treated to a vocal sing-a-long of the yipping critters.  Yip!  Yip!  Not everyone gets to experience that in their day to day lives.

Enjoying the Spray River Valley - on today's run.
Tunnel Mountain Cliffs with Cascade Mountain in the background
Backside of Tunnel Mountain - enjoying the view of Mount Rundle
Babbling non-sensically on my Birthday Run

So, you get the picture.  We're unequivocably stoked to be back in Banff running around in the woods.  I just want to shout it out loud:

I'm Home!  I'm Home!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

I love the New Year. It puts me in a contemplative state-of-mind and makes me hyper aware of the passing of time and of good things to come. It makes me think that now is the time to live my life, because every moment counts. Time is precious and we've got a limited supply.

On that note, having recently arrived home from a 3 month holiday - we're enjoying re-connecting with our town, our family, our friends and nature. It's good to be back. Traveling has taught as a few things, but one of them is to simply enjoy being present in the moment. So, this New Year's weekend as well as getting out for a few adventures I took the time to just enjoy the view and appreciate. Relaxing is just as important as Running. Sometimes, it's the best way to enjoy that limited supply of time you have. But whether you are relaxing or running, it comes back to making all of those moments count.

It's your life to live, it sure would be a shame to not enjoy it! So, if you have any big hairy audacious goals - put them on your list and start planning. Time's a ticking.

Happy New Year!

Easter in Skoki with Iris and Nicki
Summer Fun at Mount Assiniboine

February Ski with Monica, Keith and Nicki