Today was one of the best days I have had in a while. After breakfast I headed out to Canmore to spend Canada Day in the mountains. I picked up my trail shoes from one of my local accounts and met with two guys from Calgary who were to accompany me on the run. We left a vehicle at the Alpine Centre and then shuttled with my truck down the road to a gravel parking lot, where we would pick up one side of a mountain traverse trail. The three of us ran/power-walked/scrambled up 4500 feet of mountain to reach the summit of the Grotto (see here: http://www.summitpost.org/grotto-traverse/165652).
I started the ascent with a t-shirt, which I quickly removed, but by the time I reached the summit I had every bit of my emergency clothing on (toque, gloves, arm warmers, and wind jacket) but I still felt like I was going to die. Once we reached the summit the three of us huddled behind a rock, trying to stay somewhat sheltered from the numbing wind, as we ate what little food we packed and signed the log book that is kept in a protective capsule. It took 1:50 to get to the top and another 1:07 to run down (and I mean literally run, it was insane! Those other two guys are fearless machines) for a round trip total of 2 hours and 57 minutes.
After shuttling back to pick up my truck we then drove the short distance to a mountain run-off creek for a natural ice bath. I felt 150x better after soaking and then laying on a rock in the sun. The two guys left from there and I went back to visit my account. After a short visit I grabbed a coffee and synced up with the new Ottawa crew as they prepared for the celebrations at Parliament.
For dinner I took one of the new managers of this store to the Iron Goat restaurant, just outside of town. I was invited to stay at his house for the evening, which is quaintly located far outside of town, in the foothills of the mountains. We talked for a few hours and I discovered that he has experienced things that very few people could comprehend. Among many things that need not be discussed he shared that, as a result of treatment for another ailment, he was paralyzed for 5 months. Because of this he has an enormous appreciation for running and often jogs down the mountain to work each day. When we decided we’d go watch the fireworks at 10pm it was clear that we could not possible drive and so we strapped on some headlamps and I ran yet some more with him to a lookout point to enjoy the festivities. The show lasted for 30mins or so and was exacerbated by the echo effect of the surrounding mountains. When it was done we ran back to his quiet home and I spent the last few minutes of this day (now 11:59 p.m.) writing this blog.
We have a Mizuno run at 8am tomorrow from his store and then I may chose another run for myself from my newly purchased Rockies guide book…assuming I can walk in the morning. After Busking on Sunday I think I will have had myself a solid long weekend.