Thursday, August 4, 2011

O Canada, ay?

I love Banff! And I mean that. If I had another bumper sticker (next to the I Love NY and the Yellowstone one) that is what it would say.

I just got back from a trip to Canada with some friends who participated in the Calgary Iron Man 70.3. I pretty much had two main thoughts as I laid on the grass all day waiting for the triathletes to roll in: A) I need to be out there doing this too - being a spectator gets old; and B) These people are crazy. I like my daily runs of reasonable length where my muscles aren't screaming the following day.

My friends' (Lana & Tony) hard work paid off, though. They got into the world championships next month in Vegas. I, on the other hand, found running around Calgary's Prince Island the highlight of my athletic exertions. There's something about a city built around a river. It reminded me of Europe. So did the fact that everything closed around 5pm. Seriously? Museums, shopping, even Subway and Quiznos, closed in the evening. When I asked the concierge about it she informed me that Calgary is pretty much dead at night, no one hangs around (I guess in that way it resembles Salt Lake City).

While we were there, even the daytime was dead because of some long holiday weekend that most Canadians we asked couldn't tell us the purpose of. Random holidays sound great to me! The people were really nice though, and their accents pretty charming. To me, it resembles a Minnesotan accent. I think I picked it up while I was there. I keep talking like a Canadian and adding, "ay" onto everything, and it's not because I'm making fun of them either. Accents for me are really just addictive.
After Iron Man and a day at the Glenbow museum (which I really enjoyed...enhanced my appreciation for modern art and tried to make some of my own with Lana - see picture)

we headed to Canmore just 12 miles from Banff. We stayed at a nice resort called the Falcon Crest (like the tv show if you're old enough to remember) and loved it there as well. It was like an even cooler version of Park City or Jackson Hole and yes, the weather was cooler up there too. A nice 70 degrees.

There was a unique mountain range there called The Three Sisters and pretty much beautiful mountains all around. We headed into Banff the next day and that was definitely my favorite part of the trip, even though driving up through Glacier was awesome too. I've never enjoyed breathing so much. The scenery in Banff just had it all going on, from the glacier-cut mountains, to the glacier-milk waterways (a term for the milky greenish-blue water. Looks so good I could drink it.)

The place just has good vibes. I think I liked it almost as much as Yellowstone and that's saying a lot for me. We saw a new animal to the side of the road almost throughout the entire day. It was like someone was cueing them to show up (I secretly think they might have been). It was almost too good to be true. We saw a total of 8 bears.

EIGHT BEARS in one day - 2 black cubs, 2 brown cubs, and 4 mamas. It was awesome. And our grand total, thanks to Lana's computing skills, was 28 animals. Unfortunately, I've still yet to see a wolf.

Two of my favorite spots were Lake Louise (better than a postcard) and Takakkaw Falls actually in Yoho National Park right next to Banff. I had a Lord of the Rings moment. I just needed the soundtrack as I ran through the trees pretending to be an elf. If only...

Anyway, it was a great little vacation and refreshing to see new beauties. I'm also considering moving there now. Why not? Canada starts with a C just like my first and last name. By the way, I didn't realize that calling ourselves Americans bothers the Canadians. Apparently since we're all from North America we're technically all Americans so I guess they don't like the fact we usurped the name for ourselves. I'm sorry, but United States citizen is too many syllables when I can just say American. If they wanted to be called Americans they shouldn't have named their country Canada. Other than that, Canada's got my vote!