Rockin’ the Rockies

Yesterday I ran the Blackfoot Ultra 50K. I’ll post a race report once I have images. But for now I’m going to leave you in some suspense about how it went. Clearly I’m still alive, so at least you know it didn’t kill me.

This post will focus instead on the last couple of weeks of training. Overall, the training went fairly well, but I wasn’t able to log the kind of distance I would have liked to on my longer runs. I was at serious risk of “too much too fast” but I sure have had fun, anyway! Here’s a quick recap with images on what I’ve been up to.

Powderface Loop:

I’d never run the Powderface Loop (~24km) before so I had to have a look. I now understand why so many local runners have a strong emotional attachment to this place.

I'd never run the Powderface Loop (~24km) before so I had to have a look. Turns out I couldn't see much of the actual loop itself...

However it turned out I couldn’t see much of the actual loop itself…

On the "bright" side I did look really neon for the Powderface run.

On the “bright” side I did look really neon for the Powderface run. And some parts did turn out to be snow-free.

Exshaw Ridge:

This beautiful hike (run, in my case) offers ~18km of spectacular views along a picturesque ridge line. Just like the Powderface loop, I had never been to Exshaw ridge before, either. Honestly, I don’t know many people who have been here. Even though there was great weather that day, I was the only person on this particular ridge line. Admittedly it wasn’t the easiest scramble up/down. But once I was up, the work was well worth it.

Again, checking out another hike/run/scramble I'd never seen before, Exshaw Ridge was a real treat!

Exshaw Ridge was a real treat!

Sticks and stones ain't breakin' nothin', b.

Sticks and stones ain’t breakin’ nothin’, b.

Powderface round 2:

I enjoyed my first loop on Powderface so much that I had to go back for a re-do!

I enjoyed my first loop on Powderface so much that I had to go back for a re-do!

“Rest Weekend” – this has nothing to do with running, hiking or racing but I spent a couple of days at the Emerald Lake Lodge in Yoho National Park and wanted to share just how AMAZING this place is!

This is the view from our room at the Emerald Lake Lodge. Not bad.

This was the view from our room at the Emerald Lake Lodge. Not bad.

Staying at this lodge is worth it for the views alone, but our room also came with its own wood burning fireplace + s'mores, and a king bed. and the hotel boasts a lake-view hot tub, and two amazing restaurants, among other great features. We spoiled ourselves a little extra by bringing gourmet coffee, cheese and cured meats.

Staying at this lodge is worth it for the views alone, but our room also came with its own wood burning fireplace + s’mores, and a king bed. Plus, the hotel boasts a lake-view hot tub, and two amazing restaurants, among other great features. We spoiled ourselves a little extra by bringing gourmet coffee, cheese and cured meats. Photo: Ian Holmes

Sheep River Provincial Park:

Continuing with my appetite for new and exciting places, I decided to check out yet another location I had never previously visited. The Sheep River Provincial Park is known for having a large equestrian presence. I wanted to avoid startling any horses, so I figured a cool rainy day would have less users and would therefore be a great time to check it out. I was right – practically nobody was there. I did a big loop that also included an out-and-back up Mount Ware, which required some route-finding skills, for sure.

This is why people and horses typically tend to use different trails...

This is why people and horses typically tend to use different trails…

Gorge Creek made the trip worth it, alone.

I also found some other interesting items along the trail...

I also found some other interesting items along the trail…

Heart Mountain:

What is a Mound Bagger without Wednesday hump day? For what is a mountain but a mound of rocks, a hump of dirt, a mere rounded protuberance of earth? Wednesday evenings are obviously for bagging peaks:

My buddy and I took to the skies shortly before sunset on Heart.

My buddy and I took to the skies shortly before sunset on Heart.

Wasootch:

This is one of my favourite runs in Kananaskis. The trail is engaging and the views, rewarding. I will keep coming back here multiple times per year because I just can’t get enough. Running along Wasootch always reminds my why I LOVE trail running.

 

Wasootch Ridge

Wasootch Ridge

Unrelated (“tapering”?) my pals and I went rock climbing at Heart Creek, which – I like! It scares me, and being scared is a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine of life go down.

This is me trying to do my first lead climb of the season. The picture can't capture how scared I was. Take my word for it. :S

This is me trying to do my first lead climb of the season. The picture doesn’t capture how terrified I was. I don’t know why getting back into climbing after a while is always so scary. At the end of the season last summer this climb never would have perturbed me. Honestly I felt so silly and embarrassed for being such a scaredy-cat (needlessly).

Bagging mounds in the most vertical way

Bagging mounds in the most vertical way

HAPPY BAGGING

And stay tuned for my account of the Blackfoot Ultra!

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