A day of rest

Noel at the Colombia Icefields. By gum it was cold!
Noel at the Colombia Icefields. By gum it was cold!

Four days of skiing and we were in need of a rest day, all that huffing and puffing up and down the Canadian slopes on plastic planks was getting a bit tiring, so we swapped our boots for trail shoes and set off up the mountain for a short run. Short? yes. Steep? Yes. Slippery? Yes. Spectacular? Oh yes.

The run from the hotel up Tunnel Mountain , just a stone’s throw from Banff town centre wasn’t far, just short of five miles. But starting at an altitude of 1300 metres and climbing another 300 metres certainly got the old heart rate going. Of course we both wore our Eccleshill running shirts, we’re hoping it will score us extra points in the club championships. And we may be the first Eccleshill Road runners to run up that particular peak.

It felt great to run up the narrow paths and then back again, meeting walkers with their big packs who were picking their way up. Though the freeze-thaw cycle on the path defeated even Noel’s fine new super-studded trail shoes and he nearly came a cropper on the steep switchbacks. I was worse, and managed a spectacular slide stopped only by grabbing the fence, I think they heard me all the way down in the valley. And then to finish with a sprint along Banff’s main street was just plain showing off, but it was our rest day and we were determined to make the best of it!

So could the day have got any better? We took our bus-sized SUV up the Icefields Parkway , a road that’s a World Heritage Site, skirting mountains, lakes and glaciers, with more oooohs and ahhhs per kilometre than anywhere in the world. It was stunning, the camera worked overtime. I got very excited to see a lenticular cloud formation, but the best sight of the day was on our way back.

There, sitting in the middle of the road, as if he owned it, was a lynx with his pal. They just looked at us as we approached and ambled off, leaving me scrambling for the camera and snapping a blurred image through the windscreen.

What a great rest day, but it’s back to the slopes tomorrow – hey ho!

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