Tag Archives: winter clothes

Banff 2.0 and Lake Louise

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.

Drive from Calgary to Banff

Driving through the plains outside of Calgary to Banff at sunrise. Purple mountains majesty ahead in the blurry background.

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.

Hike up Sulphur Mountain

Tame section of the hike up. Was too busy trying to catch my breath at the hard parts to worry about pictures.

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.

Half-way up Sulphur Mountain.

About half-way up Sulphur Mountain.

Hike Sulphur Mountain

Pitt-stop, picture break. Hoping we’re three quarters of the way there. Starting to drizzle.

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.)

Sulphur Mountain

Taken from the very top. We started way down at that white building.

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.

Lake Louise

We drove the 50 minutes from Banff to Lake Louise, a must-see in the area.

Crystal clear waters of Lake Louise, surrounded by the Rockies, glaciers in the background.

Crystal clear waters of Lake Louise, surrounded by the Rockies, glaciers in the background.

Pretty Husky

Pretty Husky


New Assignment: Shipping Sagas

So instead of going all the way back to our first assignment in Doha, Qatar. I’d like to write about something a bit more recent. A few weeks ago my husband and I received word that we’d be embarking on a new adventure. I use the term adventure quite lightly as I never would have imagined a place like Calgary, Alberta in good ol’ Canada to put up much of an adventure to be honest. But you’ll see how I was proven wrong in posts to come.

One of the many exchanges of the Company (dum dum dummm) moving us to a new place for work-related reasons, is the fact that a professional moving company wraps up and expertly packs away our belongings to ship to our new destination. Sounds great, right? I really would be lost without their services. But before they’re even booked to come to your house, you have to provide the Company and quite literally a series of different “expat advisers” an itemized inventory of all the things you’d like to ship with you. So in case your prized Beauty and the Beast mug from that family trip to Disney World years and years ago gets smashed to pieces, they will pay you back the $4 it is worth (Can anyone sense the irony, please?)

This move was relatively simple in the sense that the US and Canada share the same electrical socket, and also we wouldn’t be shipping any furniture since we knew we’d try to find a fully-furnished apartment to stay in for the 6-month duration of our assignment. Neither my husband or I had ever been to Calgary, so we really weren’t 100% sure what we were getting ourselves into. Not really sure what we’d need either.

Of course I set aside the few winter clothes we’d amassed over the last few years (living in Doha and then Houston doesn’t really prepare you for heavy winters.) Once the clothes were done I literally scourged the house for my necessities. From my yoga mat (which wasn’t as much of a necessity as I thought it would be), to packs of toilet paper I had stocked up on from Costco. Why not right? Hey, I knew we weren’t going to be stuck in no-man’s land, but if I had extra shampoo and laundry detergent laying around, why not make good use of it?

Behold, my all-encompassing inventory (without the estimated values, no judgement needed here.)

Lessons for next time? I forgot my all-important personal accumulation of recipes (oops, takeout it is) and extra toothbrushes would have been nice as well.

When the movers came, I snuck in a few extras having forgot to put them on the holy ‘list’: a pair of dinner plates, mugs, glasses, cutting board… The boring, not-so-glamourous or adventurous side of being a Petroleum-Wife.


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