Ticket in hand, Friday night flight – next stop: Calgary, Alberta.

Sunday would be my first O’ Canada marathon, first race outside the U.S., my first in kilometers.  Hold on, rewind – that’s still 2 days away.  BANFF!  Bucket list destination.  Similar to Montana’s Glacier Nat’l Park last July, sometimes the marathon run is only a small subset of life’s Master Plan.  I’m going to Banff Nat’l Park – heart of the Canadian Rockies.  YES!

Rental car pick-up, hour drive to my Canmore lodging (short 20 minutes from the Park).  Struggled motoring in kilometers. Gave up holding 80 on open highway, opted to stay with traffic – cruising 120 kph across the flat prairie landscape.

45 minutes in, the Canadian Rockies towered ahead – HUGE, spectacular.  WOW!

Hotel check-in, quick bite to eat.  Most amazing part of the evening?  Met – in person, in the flesh – my favourite blogger OF ALL TIME.

Started reading Sarah’s Nunavut-based blog posts while trapped in my NYC metro-train commuter life, 5+ years ago.  Sarah left behind her comfortable Ontario home, took a job in the Canadian Arctic & shared her adventures online: sarahontheroad.com   HUGE fan.  Ice fishing, polar bears, Inuit narwhal hunting, the Northern lights – telling ya, hooked.

KISMET.  Booked my marathon spot last Fall.  Meanwhile, Sarah took a professor position at a Toronto area university & left Nunavut. FaceBook messenger mid-May: Sar’s heading West for a cousin’s wedding.  Just outside of Banff…in Canmore, Alberta.  On the same EXACT weekend as my first Canadian marathon.  Folks, can’t make this stuff up.  KISMET 🙂

Saturday a.m. – curbside pickup.  Banff in Sarah’s Jeep Liberty.  [You didn’t think that kinda lead up was gonna end with late nite burgers?  Come on.  Kismet, remember?]

Towering snow-capped peaks.  First stop: Lake Louise.

Clear, pristine, turquoise hue.  Mountain reflection on the lake reminiscent of Colorado’s Maroon Bells.  Quiet.  No words.  Just WOW!  With as much solo trekking as I do – gotta say, life’s best memories are much better shared.  Full heart.

Next stop: Lake Agnes.  Back in Sarah’s rental?  Heck, no.  2-mile hike UP.  My kind of day.  FAAANNNTASTIC!

UP UP UP thru towering lodgepole pine.  Iconic views of Louise below.  Mirror Lake.  Waterfall.  AND…a tea house.



An iconic Banff & Lake Louise experience, accessible to hikers of many abilities.


The Lake Agnes Tea House was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1901 as a refuge for hikers. Climb steadily on a forested trail, past Mirror Lake and the waterfall that cascades out of Lake Agnes, before arriving at the idyllic alpine waters of Lake Agnes and enjoying speciality teas and delicious homemade baking.


The family-run Tea House has no electricity or running water. Some supplies (such as flour and sugar for the baking) are flown in by helicopter at the start of the season, but all fresh food is packed up the trail by the staff.



The hike to the Tea House starts on the shores of Lake Louise near the Fairmont Chateau Hotel and climbs uphill on a wide switch-backed path for 3.6 kilometres (2.2 miles). It is rated as a moderate trail and takes most people around 1 to 2 hours, more or less depending on fitness level. The elevation gain is 400 metres (1,312 feet).


The Lake Agnes Tea House is open from early June to October (Canadian Thanksgiving).


Added a jacket & ordered a pot of herbal.  Long soak of my alpine surroundings while the tea seeped.  How many times in life is THIS gonna happen, right?  Amazing life.  Just WOW.  Mountain weather turned ‘round the noon hour (just like the American Rockies) – light rain, lower elevations…snow on the peaks (but no lightning 🙂 ).  Quick [downhill] hike return.

Bib pickup at Banff’s Curling Club – my favourite winter Olympic sport.  Ok, maybe not top-top favourite…but always crazy intrigued when they bring out the broom & stone.  Kinda like watching bowling on ice.  Go Team Canada – gold medalists past 3 Olympics.

Early shut-eye before tomorrow’s first 42.2?  Heck no.

What’s a marathon without a pre-race Canadian wedding, right?  LOL>  Wee bit weird attending a wedding party not knowing either groom nor bride.  No regrets though – learned how to properly hold a hockey stick…it’s Canada, eh? 🙂



He said, she saidcheck out Sarah’s version below.

The American Rockies Meets The Canadian Rockies…



Lake Agnes, Banff



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3 Responses to American Rockies meets Canadian Rockies

  • Sarah says:

    …it was awesome to finally meet you after ‘chatting’ for so long. That tea house hike was a pretty awesome morning—worth me getting up at 5:30am on a holiday! Couldn’t think of anyone else I’d rather do that with… Loved that you ‘borrowed’ my title for your post— great minds think alike. Until the next time we meet in person—I’ll be reading about your adventures. Keep being the amazing you, you are!

    Ps. Love your photos—(the iPhone ones) you got good composition!

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