Monday, July 21, 2014

On the road 2014 - Banff and the Calgary Stampede

Greetings from Boulder, CO!  It is HOT, HOT, HOT, but we are still enjoying our time in Colorado and, in general, visiting friends and family, seeing new places and returning to familiar and favorite haunts.  I admit that a part of me looked forward to a massive road trip as a way to avoid post-Ironman blues.  While the travels kept that particular malaise at bay for a while, I think that the "what is next" thoughts have started to creep in and unsettle me a bit.  More on that later...

For now, a quick recap of our travels between Coeur d'Alene and Boulder, which, I should add, have not followed any logical path from a geographical standpoint as we headed north to Canada and then back west to Seattle and Bellingham and then east again to Colorado.  If we were to retrace our steps on a map, it would look like a big tangled up ball of yarn.  Despite the lack of logic geographically, timing-wise it worked.

Our first post-IM stop was Banff, Canada where we spent 3 much-too-short days.  To be honest, Banff was never on my list of places that I *had* to visit, but now that I've been there, I can only hope that I'll return one of these days.  We spent our first full day there, July 1st (which was Canada Day) trying to recover from a long day of either racing or spectating followed up by a long day of driving.  It was nice to sleep in, relax, watch the World Cup, and sleep some more.  I finally felt hydrated enough to enjoy some champagne too!

I am no longer wearing that wristband, by the way!

I fully expected that I would come down with some sort of a cold or infection the week after the race, but I ended up being the only one of us who did NOT get sick.  With my parents not feeling great, Michael and I explored the Ice Fields Parkway on Wednesday.  It claims to be one of the most scenic drives in the world, and that might be true - the scenery was amazing - towering mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, alpine lakes, peaks and valleys that seemed to go on forever.  

Hanging out with Gus

One of the many amazing lakes we saw


This makes me feel pretty insignificant in the world.

And on Thursday, with my parents well-rested and feeling a bit better, we explored Lake Louise, which is super touristy by the lake, but once you get on a trail and leave the hotel and the shops behind, it offers some good hiking and is well-worth it.  There are several good hiking options - a short stroll to an all-day excursion, but we wanted something in-between, so we opted for a hike up to Lake Agnes, where there is a tea house.  Again, this is a very popular hike, but even with a relatively late start time (around 9:00 am), we didn't find the trail too crowded.  
Lake Louise

On the trail to Lake Agnes

Exploring around Lake Agnes

We then drove some of the Icefields Parkway again, just so that my parents could take in the amazing views.
Lots of oohs and aahs.

Finally, on Friday, we packed up all of our stuff and headed to Calgary for the Calgary Stampede.  When we started to plan this trip, my mother mentioned the fact that she had always wanted to go to the Stampede.  Well, how could we not go, being so close and the dates working out?  So, we 'stampeded', which apparently is a verb in Calgary.  I knew almost nothing of the Stampede beforehand and had zero expectations.  All I knew was that it was a rodeo - the largest in North America.  There are tons of activities, most of which we missed, but the rodeo was well-worth the trip.  I have been to a rodeo before, and while it's not really my 'thing', this one was very entertaining.  While I'd love to return to Banff and explore more of that area, I'm not sure that I need to go back to the Stampede.  Still, it was a fun experience to share with my parents, and it closed out a week full of surprises and new experiences for all of us!


kilax said...

What a beautiful vacation and way to spend time with your family post IM! I know what you mean about those blues... I felt that way last week after RAGBRAI!

I need to hear more about what this Stampede is all about!

Kristina said...

It was a great post-race trip, and totally good to have something else to focus on! I can't wait to hear what you're going to take on post-RAGBRA!

The Stampede - well, there is a LOT more to it, but we just went to the rodeo which was a ton of fun, much better than I could have expected. I wish that I could say more about it, but there were lots of bulls and horses and real cowboys!