Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More Good Stuff!!!

The Danish visitors left us with a new expression:  "More Good Stuff!!!"   A few years back one of them received one of those delightfully tacky talking Greeting Cards and this is what the voice in the card proclaimed.  This little goofy English expression stuck and the girls now use it frequently. It's most commonly used when one is flying down a ski slope, or a gliding through a meadow of fresh white sparkling powder guided by the moonlight and stars.

 Sunshine Meadows by Full Moon - Feb. 7th

It's been a whirlwind of More Good Stuff the past 2 weeks, actually far too much to keep up with.  There's been some amazing adventures:  a full moon ski, some warm sunny days and glorious runs and a few ski tours to new and beautiful places.  This past weekend - 3 full days at Skoki Lodge.  We made some incredible turns until my legs were sore on our first day, then we bagged an incredible high ridge on the second day and finally, we relaxed and skied back to civilization on our third day.  More Good Stuff!  

Sparkle and Snow

Either way, the expression "time fly's when your having fun" fully applies to me and my life right now.  Time seems to be passing at such an exponentially fast rate, that I feel like I could use some extra time to organize my time. :)  Or just collect my thoughts.  Too Much Good Stuff?  Truthfully, I've been a little distracted with a few ideas swirling in my head.  You see, there's this little thing I've been obsessing about.

 Twin Cairns

It's time to Howl.

 Back in the New Year I wrote:

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.  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.

Friday AM - at Skoki Lodge:  More Good Stuff

So, I've been thinking.  I've got a few big hairy audacious goals on my wishlist.  Most of them involve trails and adventures and travels - or some variation of those themes.  My big crazy dream that's been on the wishlist since I first heard about it the desire to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

Merlin's Castle - above Merlin Lake:  Skoki Backcountry

It's a trail that stretches from Mexico to the Canadian border and travels 2,650 miles or 4,265 kilometers through 7 National Parks, 24 National Forests and 33 federally mandated wilderness areas.  Until recently, I didn't think it was an attainable goal for me to take the time to do this in the next few years.  A few weeks back, all of that changed over a breakfast conversation and a morning cup of coffee with my husband.  In a nutshell, Keith told me that I should just go do it and I should do it now.  So, just like that it was decided.  When your husband gives you the "two thumbs up" to go for a very long solo walk, you have to go for it. 

Best-est Husband on Earth or in this case, on Merlin Ridge

It's been oddly surreal.  I went from "Some day, I'm going to do that!" to "I'm doing the PCT!" practically overnight. It left me a bit bewildered and I almost didn't quite believe it myself.  Now that it's settled - I'm practically bursting at the seams.This thing, this dream o' mine it's happening!  It's really happening!!

Happy Leslie!


We're Going There.  More Good Stuff.  Merlin Ridge in the distance.

Now, you're probably asking yourself:  how long does it take to walk 4,265 miles?  Well, it's a major time commitment.  Every year in early May, around 300 hikers start the PCT from the Mexican border.  Most of them are going to take 5 months and try and finish sometime in late September.  As for me, I can't start in May with this years annual crowd of through-hikers.  The time line doesn't work for me or for my employer.  I'm going to do something a little bit different and start from the Canadian border on August 1st traveling North to South.  It means I could be a little lonely and it also means I'm going to have to work very hard to make it through the Sierras before the snow arrives.  Who knows if I'll make it.  If I survive one month, then 2 months, then 3 months - I'll be a happy girl.  If I actually make it the entire distance I'll be thrilled beyond words.  If I don't make it, I sure will have had fun trying.

More Good Stuff!  Looking towards Lake Louise from Merlin Ridge

So, that's my big exciting news.  I'm hiking the Pacific Crest Trail!  More Good Stuff, indeed.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Life in a Postcard

After many weeks of grey and overcast weather, the sun made itself known again this past week.  We're not used to be sun deprived here, but it has been unusually grey and cloudy since I've returned home.  It's also been snowing a lot up in the mountains - the skiing and snowboarding is fabulous right now.  The return of the sunshine has felt more glorious than ever!  There's just something magical about a bluebird day in the mountains.

Out my front window

We've had new friends staying with us the last week, in the form of 3 energetic and fabulous girls from Denmark.  Mette, Maria and Sarah have been skiing every single day since arriving and have had nothing but sunshine.  Their smile muscles are getting sore and they are enjoying every moment of their time in Banff. We've been feeding off of each others energy and enjoying the company.

Friday's Run

 Me, on the Bow River

The lovely Maria joined my for a late day run on Friday, when the world was a glow in gold on the ice and snow.  The light was magic, the mountains alive and even the wildlife came out to play. 

Maria, the Elk and the Banff Springs Hotel


How do I see out of those things? 

As we were running along she said "It's unbelievable.  It's like running in a Postcard!!"  I couldn't agree more.  We do live in a Postcard and it's great to be reminded by someone with fresh eyes.

Late Day Sunshine

Good company is always welcome on the trail.  Speaking of which - last weekend I finally connected with Mike who has been one of my most consistent trail buddies in recent years.  I haven't run with him since I've been back in town, so we had lots of trail time to catch up.  I've convinced him to come join me on a June road trip for the Pocatello 50 Miler.  Angela is going to join in the fun as well. :) 

See Mike Run!

I also had some great ski time and play time with Angela. We were surprised at the amount of snow up on Sulphur Mountain and had a post-holing adventure in deeper than expected snow.  It was a brand new PW or Personal Worst - the slowest amount of time we have EVER taken to get up the mountain.  It was a total slog.  Angela got her pack snagged by a tree and ended up on her ass. :)  That was comedy.

....and then there was a glorious ski tour up at Sunshine.  We couldn't have asked for a better day and the air temperature was so warm we all stripped down to our base layers.  Sweet!!

The snow had the most sparkling, enormous crystals I've ever seen.  They were exploding into clusters in places and made a unique sound under the ski.  The snow was incredibly fast and it almost sounded like glass shattering when you carved a turn.

No ski tour is complete without a picnic and a thermos.
Keith and Suzy do it Right.

Our view

Life in a Postcard


We dragged our exhausted butts up Tunnel Mountain on Saturday night and Mette, Maria, Sarah and Angela did a Happy Dance as the sun set.  It was picture postcard perfect. This mountain living is hard work. :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Only in Banff

Yesterday, on my daily morning stroll to work - I saw 4 bull elk down on the river as I was crossing the bridge.  They were all standing on the frozen Bow River, with the background of giant grey rocky mountains behind them. Two of them were doing a little elk dance, a light rut if you will, it didn't look to serious.  They were locked in the classic positon of antlers entwined and I could hear the sound of horn on horn as they connected.  Cool.  I thought to myself.  Only in Banff.

After this auspicious beginning to my day, the day rolled by rather quickly.  Just a usual day, with an unusual beginning.

On my daily stroll home, I stopped by the local ski shop - you know the place, the one the local's hang out at to drink coffee and talk smack.  The owner, my friend Jason - was standing out front of the store when I showed up.  What's going on? I trilled.  We're having a bacon sale.  He replied.   


Jason had just got back from a road trip to Revelstoke and he had been delayed on the highways and he was a hungry boy.  My husband who works part time at the shop, was also warming the counter and business was slow.  I think the boys were just bored and hungry, but out of boredom a brilliant marketing idea was born:  A Bacon Sale!

So, they posted the following message to their fans on Facebook: 
FIRST person to bring us 1lb of COOKED CRISPY hot bacon can have ANYTHING in the store at 50% OFF...ANYTHING..
Now, this is a shop that sells $6000.00 shiny bicycles - so 50% off is a seriously good deal.  Soon, there were friends running up and down Bear Street with uncooked bacon in hand.  And pretty darn quickly, my friend Barb rocks up, sweat on the brow - with a box of steaming hot cooked bacon and a big smile on her face.  She had to get creative to cut out of work, make a blitz run to the grocery store - and then convince the chef at the Bison to cook her up some bacon on his nice shiny clean grill.  But, at the end of the day - it all started like the beginning:  
Only in Banff!!