Saturday, April 7, 2012

Two Tramps in Mud Time and Other Stories

Spring is in the air.  Here in Banff, that means spring snow flurries and big, wet, fluffy flakes falling from the sky.  We have received a ridiculous amount of snow throughout the month of March, but finally I can smell something different in the air.  The end is within sight!  It's spring, glorious spring that I sense around the corner.

Oh, springtime.

It's the season of poetry.  The season of change, of renewal, of growth, of love!  In Banff, it's also the season of sun, rain, snow, ice, mud and wildlife. 

Giant Wolf prints - Sunday's run

I returned from this evening's run, soaking wet after experiencing "4 Seasons in a run".  It started blissfully calm, then the wind picked up, then it snowed, then it snowed hard and blew harder:  wet/sticky flakes stuck to my clothing, my hair and found there way up my nose and down my throat.  And then the sun came out.  And then I got wet, sweaty and soaked.  I love Springtime in Banff!

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March. 

Robert Frost:  Two Tramps in Mud Time

Mount Rundle - Monday Night Run
Truthfully, the past 5 weeks have swirled by like a spring snowstorm in Banff.

I was feeling like Superwoman last month and enjoying a steady diet of adventures:  lots of long runs, ski touring and power-hiking up some of my backyard mountains.  You know, normal Leslie stuff. Then, after a hard training week - my poor tight body seized up and those tight muscles pulled my back all out of whack.  So, I've been a bit out of sorts.  I've since got the back sorted and have been working on my flexibility like crazy.  I Was Gone, But Now I Am Found.  Yip!  I'm glad to be back in the saddle.

Johnson Lake - Sunday's Run

The weekend that I put my back out, I read The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo in 3 days.  Good Grief.  I needed that distraction to maintain some form of sanity.  I couldn't sit down, so the computer was out.  So, I read the book kneeling, standing, lying and pacing.  I walked, I stretched, I soaked in the hot tub and I tried to get some mobility into my stiff spine.  It was good to take some days off.  I relaxed.  I read.  I medicated. ;)  I went to the chiropractor.  And eventually, I got myself moving comfortably again.  It was a good reminder that I do need to take better care of little ol' me.  It's time to look at what ails me and fix it so I can feel like Superwoman again!

Spring on the back deck

Also, for the past 6 weeks Keith has been nursing a busted shoulder.  My back woes were nothing compared to his injury.  While we were last ski touring, he hit a rock under the snow and took a tumble.  He ended up fracturing his shoulder and tearing a bunch of soft tissue.  He's been a very good patient.  Much better than me, truth be told!  

Danni and Stormy are Superwomen!
Speaking of Superwomen, the divine Ms. Danni came to visit us from Montana.  She brought her entourage of Ladies Who Rock, introduced me to a Montana girl who is now a Banff girl and did a Ski-Mo Race while she was here.  She recently returned from a visit to Alaska where she finished the Susitna 100, pulling a sled through snow and ice.  Danni reminds me that it's possible to do anything you set your mind to.  Last year, she made partner at her law firm and joined the Kalispell Roller Derby team.  Two year ago, she couldn't actually ski and this year she's competing in ski races.  Go figure.  She's always challenging herself, yet constantly reminds me not to take yourself or anything else to seriously, because really:  it's all about FUN.  I love this girl.

Danni, Amber and Lora:  The C-Team in the house.

But I digress.

The one thing that seems to constantly be on my brain these days, is the Pacific Crest Trail.

Oh, sweet trail of my dreams.

Normally, I'm the least obsessive person that I know but the PCT has taken hold and won't let go.  It's out of control.  It's side effect of pouring over information on the computer for hours on end.  I've got books, too.  There's even a PCT Class of 2012 group of Facebook, so I can connect with all of the other crazy kids out there who are hiking the this year.  There's a lot of good energy out there and most of these people are hitting the trail soon and have already done all of their preparations.  Me, I'm still researching and have been obsessing over such questions as:  What to eat?  What to wear?  Glasses or Contacts?  Daily distance?  Resupply? These are the questions I ask myself.

Maybe that is why my back is so sore:  too much time on the computer!

I've never been much of a planner or organizer, so it's all a little overwhelming.  I keep thinking to myself, Really?  Can't I just throw a bunch of shit in my pack and start walking?  Resupply along the way?  I'm very tempted to just do just this, it appeals to my Path Of Least Resistance nature.  I'm also a simple, uncomplicated creature and truthfully, this method might just work well for me.  As my friend Kendra likes to say: "What Could Go Wrong?!?" 

Apart from sitting at the computer too much, the research phase has actually been a lot of fun.  It's got me excited.  I bought some new gear.  Did I mention, I'm EXCITED?  But, I'm trying not to get too excited and focus on one thing at a time.  I've got lots of other things to look forward and spring is coming.  Like spring, adventure is in the air.  :)

I'm taking a short road trip with Angela and Iris to Washington to run the Yakima Skyline 50k.  I'm looking forward to an excuse to travel, run, make new running friends and see new trails.  Actually, Yakima Canyon is not totally new for me.  Last year, I had a misadventure there while on holidays with Keith which involved a lot of mud, zero visibility, my Hoka's being sucked off my feet, 7 hours of running and Keith accidentally going 4 x 4'ing in the mini-van.  It was a fun day.  I'm looking forward to a return visit, with hopefully some better spring weather.  The Mini-van is demanding a return visit.

The Bow Valley and Mount Rundle

In the meantime, I'll be enjoying the change of season and breathing in all of that good fresh air.  Spring is a magical time of year in Banff.

A bluebird comes tenderly up to alight  
And turns to the wind to unruffle a plume
His song so pitched as not to excite  
A single flower as yet to bloom.  
It is snowing a flake; and he half knew  
Winter was only playing possum.  
Except in color he isn't blue,  
But he wouldn't advise a thing to blossom.

Robert Frost:  Two Tramps in Mud Time


Kaz said...

Sorry about the back - injury sucks, but 'i'm glad it's on the mend. Hope Keith's shoulder mends well too. The logisitics of you big trip boggles the mind. Glad to have some adventures to read again. Hope the back stays healthy.

Danni said...

Blushing. I love you! And am so excited for your adventure.

Leslie said...

Hi Kaz! It's funny, once you get off that blogging wagon, it's hard to jump back on. It's good to be back! Truthfully, I think the logistics are as hard as you want to make them. It really is possible to hike and re-supply as you go. The only problem is that it's mostly junk food and processed food, which as we know is low in nutritional value and heavy. "Food for Thought", yes?!? Hope all is well with you!

Hi SUPA-Danni!
Don't be shy about your level of Awesomeness. :) If I was to give you a trail name, it would be SUPA-D!!

Leslie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary said...

I am obsessive about the jmt and it is way less mileage than you are doing. Resupply isn't that challenging though. When will you be coming thru the sierras?

Olga said...

Life in a bliss. Danni, don't blush, all true. Yakima trip should be fun! Girl's power, always:)

Barry said...

Wishing all of you speedy and full recovery. Really interesting friends and easy on the eyes. Good luck on your upcoming adventures. I wish you well and will be pulling for your great success. I shall look forward to reading about the results. Take care. Stay safe.

Barry said...

Oh! and very cool poems.

Linda W. said...

Hi Leslie, I've been a quiet follower of your blog for awhile. When you announced you were going to hike the PCT I wanted to offer my assistance. In live in the Portland, OR area and would be glad to help you out when you pass thru. I'm even interested in hiking a day or two with you if you'll have me. You can email me at if you'd like to connect. Hope your back heals quickly!

Helen said...

Great to see Spring heading to Banff. 9 C today!!! Hope you are both completely on the mend. Leslie perhaps a timely warning in your early preparation for the PCT.
My very 'novice' thought re -supply is that based on Erin's blog, you might just want to relax, get clean etc, rather than always having to think about a major shop.
Enjoy the 50 K.

Leslie said...

Hi Mary! I'll be racing towards the Sierra's as fast as I can. :) But, I'm not exactly sure when that will be. Hopefully, before the snow flys! That's the main issue that I'll be facing starting from the North. So, I'll be moving "with purpose" on the trail for the first few months. Hopefully, I'll make it to the Sierra's in time!

Hey lovely Olga! Yup, looking forward to a whirlwind girly roadtrip. Iris is coming! Danni Coffman is a Superstar.

Great to hear form you Barry! Yup, those girls are easy on the eyes. And they are "strong like bull". :)

Hi Linda! Thanks for the very generous offer! Naturally, I would love, love, love to meet you. I'll be in touch!

Hi Helen! Yup, I think you're right. Sending food ahead is probably going to be the smart thing to do and should work well for me. I can pack light, wholesome, calorie dense food and reload the pack quickly.

As far as spending time in trail towns, I'm going to think of them like Aid Stations in an Ultra: use them quickly and efficiently, and get the heck out!! I wish I had the luxury of lollygagging a bit on the trail, but as I mentioned to Mary I'm going to be seriously time pressed to get to the Sierra's. I'm planning on hauling ass to get there as quickly as I can! Hopefully, I don't explode. ;)

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