Happy Birthday Amanda!
Short & Sweet

August 17, 2015

What happened…

Andrew writes: Upon our return to the Rocky Mountains today, they spoke to me. They spoke to me of the warmth of the sun on their face, and their chilled, frosty peaks. Those aged peaks covered in the fragile youthful underbrush of the sub-alpine. Teeming with life at their base, devoid of life at their apex. Shrouded in the cumulus, they allowed me glimpses as though through a shower curtain. Inviting, alluring, yet fraught with peril. The words spoken to me today will continue to call, long after I am gone.

I found myself inspired to write this having once again experienced the joy and beauty of the majestic mountains situated between Banff and Lake Louise. It is my third time in this area, although my first cycling from East to West. The sun peeked out from the clouds a few times today which really gave the mountains some incredible depth. I can’t say I was moved to tears physically, but I certainly was filled with joy.

I really enjoyed all of the interactions we had with other cyclists today, first with Claudine and Tille at the Canmore Visitor Centre. These French cyclists appear to have spent several tours here in Canada, with their most recent taking them south to Mexico along the Great Divide mountain-bike route. We shared a few minutes talking about some of our equipment, and there is a chance we will meet again soon down the road.

It’s always a little awkward when someone tackles us on the side of the road, pinning us down with their questions, claiming to know of us and our plans. In this case, it was Mike, who is a friend of Andrew Nicholson, the “around the world in 125 days” cyclist from Canmore last night. He caught up with us at Vermillion Lakes, just outside of Banff, and he invited us to stay with him in Fernie, as we are “pre-approved”. I guess that means I’ll need to be on my best behaviour??

It was quite a thrill to meet Sam and Charles also, as they pedal into the home stretch of their Jasper to Banff ride. It was their first tour, and their bike bags were sparkling clean, and shiny. Sam said that her most essential piece of equipment is her blue down puffy jacket. Charles said that with the horrible weather they encountered, his tarp was the most essential.

I’m really on a podcast kick right now, after Felipe Gomez recommended them to me as a great way to pass the time. I’ve been listening to interviews with other adventurers, as well as celebrities talking about themselves and their favourite music that they would bring with them to a deserted island. Did you know that Martin Sheen’s real name (on his passport) is Ramon Gerard Esteves?!? Or that Tom Jones used to have to wash his father’s back in the tub after work?!? I’m looking forward to some other podcasts in the coming days, weeks and months including Freakonomics, How Stuff Works, and some Classic Radio Drama. Do you have a favourite podcast that you could recommend?

Tomorrow we will cycle up and over the Great Divide and cross into Kootenay National Park in B.C. I am excited to ride through this park again, especially as there is some fresh snow on the mountains!

Amanda writes:
Sheila claimed today was a birthday boxing day to start the morning combined with eggs, bacon, toast, avocado, tomatoes and peaches. Yeehaw! As we left we agreed we would try and connect for a ride in Turkey.

Again riding terrain we had ridden before it was surprisingly different. We saw things we hadn’t seen before and enjoyed the views. The fog lifted and provided unique views of the peaks of the rocky mountain tops. We met more cool people today that just made me smile every time it happened. I’m enjoying meeting people all the time, every day all day. It’s awesome!

First we met two cyclists from France actually headed in the same direction as us but taking the Great Divide route. We exchanged information and perhaps will reconnect with them South of here. Then we met a young man named Connor in Banff who was very curious about bicycle touring and asked some really good questions. We exchanged information and perhaps we’ll see him in South America as he is headed there later this year. After that we met Mike, who knows Andrew (New Zealand cyclist from last night). He learned about us from Andrew and invited us to stay at his place in Fernie in a few days – awesome! And then as we headed out of Banff we met two Calgarians who just finished the Ice Fields parkway; Sam and Charles. They too were wonderfully friendly and chatty and we hope to hear from them too. They just completed their first bike tour and while it was a wet one, they were still smiling ear to ear. It’s after meeting so many people and chatting for many hours that I’m so happy we are not in a rush and know that we’ll likely spend minimum two hours chatting. I love it!

Today’s Photographs

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Happy Birthday Amanda!
Short & Sweet