I hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend. I celebrated Thanksgiving in a fairly non-conventional way compared to my usual turkey eating, football watching family time. On a last minute decision, I hopped into my bar, Kobe, and made yet another brief 9-hour drive to Alberta for a weekend of hiking in the mountains. After 12-years of visiting the mountains, they continue to humble me and always make the drive worth while.
I met up with 3 other fresh mountain-air enthusiasts (driving all the way from Winnpeg) and we made camp in Harvey Heights. And by “made camp”, I mean that we stayed at the Banff Boundary Lodge. The leader of this expedition was a very experienced outdoorsmen friend of mine (long story short: we kind of dated for a while and the combination of distance, conflicting schedules and very ambitious individual goals led to…well you know how the story goes) and the rest of the pack included his son, an ex-downhill skier and yours truly.
The first day we headed out early, picked up a bagel and a coffee and hiked the Iceline / Twin Falls trail in Field. We managed 24km, with 1000+m elevation gain over 6 hours. We made it high enough that it was snowing (rather than the rain that was coming down in the parking lot). As we walked along an ancient glacier, it only seemed right to build a snowman and do some handstands with the inukshuks. Being in such a beautiful and seemingly isolated place is a surreal experience for me. During our last 2 kilometers (where the trail was very wide and flat) we came across two gentlemen, armed with dress shoes, jeans and 1 bottle of Powerade between the two of them, were a little shocked to find out how improbable their journey had quickly become. Having heard how we managed the first 22kms and were jogging the few, I think we frightened them a little bit.
We wrapped up our day at the Truffle Pig where we stuffed ourselves with frog legs, pork tenderloin and ginger beer. The next day led us to the Canmore area and a hike called Buller’s Pass. A short 21km long, 1000+m elevation filled trek through the pass (which is actually up and over a mountain rather than a pass between them), landed us at Ribbon Lake. We passed by waterfalls, a female moose grazing near our path and a handful of other hikers who gave us odd stares due to our lack of technical gear, hiking poles and day packs (we travel pretty light). We ran all the way down the last quarter of the trail and an intense wave of euphoria filled my head and my wary legs. For some reason, I tend to struggle with jogging any more than 30 minutes in the city but I can bound down a mountain for 45 minutes straight without so much as a second thought.
The last morning, with the previous days DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) beginning to kick in, we opted for a short but pretty hike up to Grassy Lakes before packing up our cars and driving back to our respective cities. What an adventure! Reaffirms just how many things I am truly thankful for.