I was so excited to hear a good friend of mine from Houston was coming up to Banff for a few days for a team building retreat with her company. Incidentally, she also works in the oil and gas industry. Let’s call her H.
H had this Saturday completely free, so I was all too happy to take her up on the offer to spend the day exploring. After my first mini-exposure to the Rockies, I can easily say I don’t think I’ll ever get enough.
We decided to embrace the brisk fresh air on an ambitious hike up Sulphur Mountain. While I’ve done my fair share of hiking over the past year in Lake Tahoe and in Quebec, it’s definitely not on my list of regular activities. So it’s completely safe and accurate to assume that I was not really prepared for a 3.4mile (5.5km) hike up one of the ROCKIE MOUNTAINS. Widely considered a strenuous hike and with an acute danger of avalanches in the winter-time, the pathway up the mountain included several switchbacks that made the steep elevation somewhat tolerable on my virgin legs. As I mentioned in my previous post, the summit of Sulphur Mountain reaches 7,486ft (2,281m) high.
While we had the absolute best of intentions, H and I had not considered the vigorous nature of the hike ahead of us while making fundamental wardrobe decisions that morning. H was sporting a pretty, white, bubble jacket from BCBG, jeans, and a pair of very nice Ugg boots. I did not come to disappoint either. I had on a down jacket from Saks, skinny jeans, and a Michael Kors sweater. My only saving grace was that I had decided to change into sneakers.
Two of H’s colleagues decided to join us on our hike. One older man accepted his limits and made the very smart decision to head back after about 25minutes. Our other companion was a woman considerably older than we are, almost double my age, but absolutely in way better shape than I’ll most likely ever be! With much more experience under her belt in the hiking department, she could only hold back so many chuckles at our moans and groans up the mountain. By the way, there’s something quite intimate about huffing and puffing with a stranger.
We ran into several super friendly hikers on the way up, who we proceeded to plague with “Are we there yet?” and “How much farther?” type questions. After seeing how much we were struggling, one couple from the Netherlands, on vacation from Seattle, were actually kind enough to lend us a pair of their ski poles they were using as walking sticks. I’m loving Canadians! I always knew it was a good idea to marry one (the husband is from Montreal.)
After about an hour and fifty minutes, we reached the summit. The hike was grueling but the views were out of this world. And so was the feeling once we reached the top. We made it and we were on top of the world.