Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Last Minute Excursion

I don't often spend money on my outdoor pursuits, especially when the activities take place in my own back yard..... However around noon on Saturday, I learned that I would be able to skip out of work early and not have to come back until Monday morning. So on a whim, I looked up an endeavor that I'd been curious about for quite sometime, and as luck would have it, one spot was available. By 4:00pm that afternoon I had booked myself in for a Sunday cruise up the via ferrata at Mount Norquay, and by 4:15 I was on the road to Canmore.

Now I'm not gonna lie, I went into this little adventure with fairly low expectations. I mean really - a relatively large group of people, following a guide, clipped into cables, using man-made hand and foot holds, etc.... I was prepared for it to be somewhat impersonal and maybe even a bit cumbersome. Honestly, I was mostly looking forward to simply being outside and getting my hands on some lovely Rockies limestone. Of course scrambling up to a high point has long been one of my favorite things to do, so the fact that this route ended on a peak was an added bonus.

Well let me just say that my presumptions were completely and totally one hundred percent incorrect. My expectations were blown so far out of the water I could hardly believe it! I did the Summiteer, which is the all-day version, and I absolutely loved every minute of it!

Beauty view of Banff from the Norquay Road.

And.... we're off!

The climbing starts right away.... no 'easing into it'.... LOL!

One of the cool obstacles!


Doing some 4x4-ing!

Don't look down!

Hanging bridge.

Slacklining.... sort of!

Lovely spot for lunch.

Did I mention that lunch was provided? Yum!

And the fun continues!

Nepalese bridge... the only obstacle we had to cross twice.

Summit view!

Look at that vista!

I had a most excellent time!

Time to head down - apre-climb
appetizers and beers were provided also!

The peeps in my group were fabulous - George and his brother Harry from the UK, Allan and his wife Allison from Atlanta, Richard and his kids Malcolm and Kirstin from Edmonton, and of course our witty, fun, friendly, competent and knowledgeable guide Robbie. The obstacles and the exposure of this cleverly laid out, iron path ascent were super rad, and the virtually perfect weather put the enjoyment factor off-scale high! I would definitely consider doing the other routes at some point - perhaps one of you will join me?


Monday, June 11, 2018

Here comes the rain again!

This past weekend I was joined in Canmore by my bestie Toni, and we enjoyed Saturday exploring some mellow new terrain. I've hiked Heart Mountain a few times and have climbed a handful of routes at Heart Creek, however I've never actually made it all the way back to Heart Falls - what a sweet walk!

Toni hates this pic... but it's the only one
 I have of her not flipping me the bird!

Destruction from the flooding
in 2013 is very evident.

Where is a picture of the falls, you ask? Unfortunately they are tucked away in a slot canyon that shields them from view. You can hear them, but it would have required me getting a little more wet than I was willing in order to snap a photo. I did try to get as close as possible though!

Can you see me in my invisible hiker clothing!
Thanks for the pics Toni!

We also took a spin through Bow Valley Provincial Park, which has an awesome little campground and some lovely hiking and biking trails.

Great vista from the Many Springs loop trail!

The Yam, as seen from Bow Valley Provincial Park.

Unique tree formation!

Yamnuska and the Bow River

We rounded out the day with a soak in the hot tub, where we met a friendly crew of 5 Peaks participants from Saskatchewan. Congrats to 'White Chocolate', who fared exceptionally well in the race, and to all of his counterparts who also finished the event! It was fun to visit with you guys and gals - I hope you enjoyed Canmore, and safe travels back to P.A.! Oh, and in case you are reading this, here is what you missed..... LOL.....

The rain returned with a chilly vengeance on Sunday, so it turned into an inside day. But the landscape seems to be soaking up the moisture and it is definitely nice to see green, green, green! Here's hoping the mountain precipitation tapers off to at worst a dull mist by Friday, as I tentatively have some bicycling plans. Looking forward to pedaling the Legacy Trail with Lorelee!


Thursday, June 7, 2018

What's in a name?

When my good friend Toni said "Hey, do you want to go with me to the Lilac Festival?", my mind immediately filled with images of people dancing around a park, inhaling the sweet fragrance of vibrant green bushes and their billowing purple blossoms, while some jazzy live band performed on an outdoor stage..... So when we arrived down in the Elbow Park area of Calgary on Sunday and wandered over to 4th Street, I was not really expecting to walk into this.....

'Lilac' is a misnomer, as the festival is not about flora at all. It is actually several city blocks, lined with a plethora of booths and street vendors, live entertainment and beer gardens, and packed with people..... it's like a giant block party to kick off summer in the city.

And although it wasn't what I envisioned, it definitely was entertaining! The weather was gorgeous, and we cruised around until the crowds became impossible to navigate. At which time we found a table on an outdoor patio from which to spectate and have refreshments - all in all, an excellent way to spend a day!

A token lilac plant! The only one I could find.

Jaime and Toni, in a rare moment when we
were not being herded like cattle!

Random flower from Jaime's garden.

I love the back roads!

Evening clouds.

The week has flown by, and tomorrow I'm headed to Canmore for some more of my favorite, much needed outside time in the mountains. I can't wait!