This is the End

Brad and I leave Canmore tomorrow to head back to Brooklyn. Brad will be coming back here for another 9 days or so, but I’ll be (gasp) heading back to work. That thought makes me sick to my stomach. Regardless, it seems appropriate to do a little reflection.

This place is amazing. I see, now, why Brad loves it so much here. You are literally surrounded by mountains, and they are so very pretty, and scary, and brutal, and delicate, and so many more things. Being active outdoors is part of the lifestyle here—not going to a gym. And people do it, above all, because they love it, not to lose weight or to be healthy or to look good. The environment makes it easy to see why it is that way here, and it makes you long for that in your own life.

But let’s be real here, it is really hard. We have driven by so many people riding their mountain bikes up insane hills— each time I feel incredibly bad for them. ;) We’re not talking about 45 minute work-outs here. We’re talking about blisters, black toenails, tons and tons of bruises, millions of mosquito bites, scratches, aches and pains, and sometimes, ego-crushing blows. I seem to be in a constant battle between the devil on one shoulder that wants to drink and relax, and the angel on the other that wants to do something in the mountains. Actually, in some ways, I’m the devil in that scenario and Brad is the angel. Seriously, just try asking him for a rest day. :)

But there are so many good things that come out of these challenges, like feeling capable, feeling less afraid, capturing a view you never would have seen otherwise, being able to eat Pop Tarts because you just burned a million calories, drinking a beer that you more than earned, sleeping soundly because you exhausted yourself with activity, feeling proud. Those things keep you going back. Brad says it’s never fun while you do it, it’s only fun after you’ve finished it. That’s almost always true.

I don’t know where Brad and i will go from here. Our struggle between wanting the NYC life and wanting to be far away from it continues, and then of course, there is the distillery. I don’t know what vacation next year will bring, if any, considering the state of our bank account, but I am so very glad we came here and I experienced the Canadian Rockies. Maybe I’ll get you next time, Escargot Corner!

Mt. Norquay scramble

I like to call today’s adventure Escargot Corner Part Deux. We tried to do this climb yesterday, but we got lost, and didn’t have time to mess around because we didn’t have a dog walker. Today we tried it again, but we tried a different approach, which was through a ski area. This approach meant we would summit the mountain, rappel down the opposite side, and then climb up. Well, we got to the top, but by then there was a dark cloud over the mountain (rain was predicted, but not until later) and we still hadn’t gotten to the climb. Escargot Corner thwarted us again! We headed back, and got rained on pretty good on the way down. The climb is supposed to be one of the best in the area, with fossilized snails near the top (hence the name).

Grizzly Paw brewery tour— come on, this is Liz and Brad—this is how we do.

Bike ride to Banff

On Saturday we hiked Ha Ling peak.  (There are a few photos below.)  It’s a very popular hike here, I think mostly because it’s short (it took us about 3 hours) and it still has pretty spectacular views.  Yesterday we climbed the same peak, but we did a rock climbing route.  We had visions of climbing up over the top and all of the tourists being impressed with us.  Unfortunately, it being a Tuesday, there was nobody there.  ;)  We were impressed enough with ourselves though, even without the tourists, don’t you worry.  It was 450 meters of climbing, plus a 1 1/2 hour hike in and  an hour hike down.  All in all, it took us 10 hours.  We’re both pretty banged up today, but the only fatality will probably be my big toenail.  :)

Rock climbing at Mt. Cory— We intended to do the entire route Aftonroe, which is 9 pitches, but unfortunately, it was predicted to be 61 degrees, and it was about 48.  We decided to leave after the 3rd pitch because we weren’t dressed warmly enough.  Well, I guess it would be more truthful to say that I decided to leave.  Anyway, the route was a 5.7, and we completed the most difficult pitch.  We’re thinking about going back to it later on this week.  Brad is looking into a drone quadcopter with Go Pro so that we can get more pictures of him.   Baahaahaaa!

hike up Ha Ling

hike up Ha Ling

Crazy hail storm Thursday evening

How the hell did I get here?

Since we began this trip, I’ve found myself asking myself, “What the f*ck am I doing here?”  Before Brad and I started dating, I never did any sort of physical challenge.  I’m no athlete.  (I played on the JV volleyball team in high school as a senior.  Yes, you read that right.)  I went to the gym consistently and tried to stay in shape, but I never considered races and the like important.  I specifically remember a conversation I had with Brad in which he shared that climbing a mountain that very few had ever climbed was his ultimate goal, and I shared that mine was my family/friends considering me to be a good ________ (fill in the blank- wife, sister, daughter, friend, etc.) to them.

After we started dating, I opened up to the possibility that he may have a point.  I began to push myself to do things, that let’s face it, I didn’t want to do—- running, Crossfit, climbing, hiking.  I’m not like Brad.  I’m not comfortable in this place where people thrive on pushing themselves to the point of pain.  Each and every time I get on the train after work to go to Crossfit I hope that there will be train trouble to make me miss my class.  Every single hike I go on I question if I can make it to the top.  But when I do it, and I get there, and I beat my time, or I lift much more than I weigh…I feel strong.  Powerful.  

When I was a kid, I remember a Nike ad that really spoke to me.  I cut it out of a magazine and hung it on my bedroom door.  This is what it said:imageSo when I look at my body in the mirror each day, I notice that my legs have spider veins, my torso has love handles, my skin has age spots, my hair is wild, and a million other things I am not proud of, but it has done some impressive things.  I’m proud to be in it, and hopeful that it will serve me well for a long time to come.  

So to answer my own question, Brad and Nike got me here.  That just shows you the power of marketing.  :)  But seriously Brad, thank you.  <3

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey."

Fitzhugh Mullan

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