Sunday, September 09, 2007


Toby rented a car, and we took off for Banff and beyond early Saturday morning. If there is a more beautiful part of the world, I have not seen it yet. Italy was beautiful, but I did not hike in the Alps. Maybe if I had, I would feel different, but these mountains and lakes were gorgeous. We could not have picked more perfect weather. And yep, I did some hiking.

As we started west from Calgary, Toby and I were pretty excited about the ranch land and mountains. The closer we got to the mountains, The closer we got to a large cloud looming over the edge of the mountains like giant fingers. It was just pretty cool. We drove into that cloud which stayed with us until we rose above it. Then it melted away.

We drove through Canmore which is a lovely little town. Then we got to Banff and headed straight to the gondola that goes up Sulphur Mountain. I was thinking we were going to ride the gondola, but Toby had read that the hiking trail to the top was easy and you could ride down for half price. Someone had written that "my six year old had a few problems, and I had to carry my two year old..." So Toby talked me into hiking the "2 - 5 hour hike". Now, I have been walking around Calgary for two weeks getting my legs in shape, but I still have problems with my calves cramping up. I have started to write about the problem, but who wants to hear about my leg trouble. Usually, if I just keep walking and resting, the tightness goes away after a while, and things are good. That is what happened on this hike. When my legs finally quit cramping, I did pretty good. Then the only problem was shortness of breath. I kept thinking, "What the heck was I thinking to climb a mountain like this?" It was not an "easy walk"; it was up a mountain - steep at times, but constantly up. People kept passing us walking fast using those ski poles, clicking along like it was easy. I wanted to take the poles and poke 'em. Then there was the lady with the bell on her back pack - isn't there some joke about finding little bells in bear poop? We just kept pluggin' along. We met all sorts of people - had some great conversations. One family we passed, then they passed us, then we passed them, but they beat us to the top. One guy said, "Aren't you glad you are passed half way?" I replied, "No, now I cannot go back." A thought that kept me going was, "Won't Catherine be proud of me! And Jan too!"

Well, I did it! I climbed that sucker to the top, ate a big meal, walked around the observation deck, rode down, walked all around the big hotel, walked around the town...Take that Becky Miller! Did I mention that it snowed on us at the top?

I will post pics of Lake Louise and Lake Minnewanka and tell more tales later. It was a great weekend. It was a perfect weekend.


catherine said...

Bravooooo Lou! So glad you made that amazing hike! You must indeed feel invigorated and super Banff Buff after that adventure! I SEE the beauty, smell the air and experience every mile through your great description. Just wish I could have been there in person, widyaz!

Isn't the color of Lake Louise undescribable? I hope you'll paint it!@!

BTW...the NM trip with "The Madonnas" to Mike
Hearne's music festival was spectacular! What fun!

Shelly said...

I agree with you it is breathtaking. My husband and I went a few years ago. Glad you are experiencing all the beauty of Canada.


Bag Blog said...

Catherine, are you home from your NM adventure? Did my mom behave herself? I thought about you and wondered how it all went. Skootin' a boot to Mike Hearne and "New Mexico Rain" is good stuff.

Buck Pennington said...

Great pics and a great narrative. You and Toby are better people than I, Lou: I would have rode up and down on the funicular. Good on ya!

I haven't heard the joke about bells in bear poop, but I did laugh at your inference...and totally AGREE!

Catherine said...

Lou, Craig and I got home last night. Your Mom's flight to WF was cancelled so she got a "bonus day in Dallas!" My Mom's luggage was lost..but other than those minor details it was a wonderfully fun weekend with some mighty nice music under blue, blue, skies and sweet NM breezes! AND BOTH of the Moms behaved! :)

We had a blast with both of them - I'm sure most people would think we need to have our heads examined -- takin' Moms on a trip, but I'm just guessin' they don't know our Moms and how much fun they are! They were up at the crack-0-dawn rarin' and ready to go -- and like the Everyready bunnies, still boot scootin' til the wee hours of the morning!

Becky said...

Lou, reading your post brought back memories of hiking Mt. Vesuvius. Here my sister and I--young women in our 20s--huffing and puffing along and being passed by old ladies in high heels. Total bummer!

It sound like you are having a great time on your trip. Cody has been to Canada, as he keeps reminding me, but I've never been. I'm enjoying myself vicariously through you. :)

Bag Blog said...

Becky, years ago my sister and I hiked up Wheeler Pk (tallest mt in NM). That was back in the day when I could do it fairly easily. My sister got upset when this little old man passed us. Pretty funny!

Catherine, I know you are crazy for taking my mom, but she is lots of fun. I just bet you were up at the crack of dawn - Barker trait.