Today was our first full day in this mountain town, and boy, did we make the most of it :)
I was up at 5:30am with a growling belly. Thank you jet lag. I did manage to squeeze out 7 hours in the end. When Holly , Karen and I stumbled out of our bunk beds in the hostel, we once again all agreed that the first order of business would be a big ole’ pot of oatmeal.
But not just any bowl of oatmeal, ohno. For this bowl was topped with none other than maple fudge .
Omgyouguys. The fudge on the oatmeal was downright dreamy. The buttery-sugary crumbles melted ever-so-perfectly over the hot oats. Cinnamon raisin oats I might add, with soy protein powder, banana, Justin’s Cinnamon Peanut Butter and a few extra crumbles of an All Bran Honey bar. Heavenly. This will have to be on the menu of our oatmeal shoppe ;)
Then it was off to the town’s centre for our caffeine fix! (5 minute walk away).
The YWCA hostel is on the other side of the Bow River. We get to cross a quaint little bridge every day and this is our view as we do.
The water is green here!! So different than the deep blues I’m used to on the East Coast.
Ohyes, and there just happens to be a stunning mountain at the end of the town’s main street.
There is an Evelyn’s Coffee Bar on every single block in Banff. You think I’m joking, but I’m not. Clearly, we had to see what all the fuss what about.
Not bad, I went for the medium roast, which is the perfect combo of caffeine and taste. Not as good as the Down East Sumatra though (don’t worry Mark ;) )
Then it was off to yoga!!
When researching things to do in Banff, this immediately moved up to the top of the list. Practicing yoga in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains sounds like utter bliss. We hit up a 50-minute noon-hour flow class.
The studio was beautiful. I set my mat up right in front of that second window there, and had the perfect view of the mountains. It was a great class too. The instructor was just my style, and it had a good mix of easier and more challenging postures. I must say, my chaturangas are coming along nicely ;)
I’d gotten a suggestion to visit the Wild Flour Bakery. Conveniently, it was right downstairs from the yoga studio! Just in time for lunch too – my tummy growled during corpse pose.
Clearly, they specialize in homemade breads. Words can’t describe how amazing it smelled. With a slight hint of rosemary from their herbed loaves.
The place was pretty cleared out from the breakfast crowd, but we still had no problem making do ;)
They had a delicious looking assortment of vegetarian sandwiches. But you know me, I need a little protein with my bread ;)
So I opted for the Breakfast Sandwich which had an herbed frittata, aged cheddar, bacon, on sourdough bread.
Awesome. My body felt amazing after stretching it out with yoga, and this sandwich was the perfect way to replenish it :)
We didn’t stop there though. It’s one thing to do yoga in the shadow of mountains, but some mountains are just screaming to be climbed!
Banff has a famous tourist-y gondola ride that takes you to the top of Sulphur Mountain. My friend Brynne had mentioned to us that you can hike up the mountain and then take the gondola down for free. Sold.
We started at the YWCA and hike for nearly a half hour just to get to the base of the mountain, where the beginning of the mountain trail is. We fuelled up appropriately, anticipating a gruelling climb ahead.
And took pictures of said food.
We studied the map closely. We didn’t need any more unexpected forks in the trail like we came across on the walk up to the base.
Surprisingly, we only saw two chipmunks on the way up. No bears or elk or cougars. (do they have cougars in the Rockies?)
Gotta say, I felt pretty hardcore hiking up as the people riding in the gondolas passed over top.
Halfway up, we stumbled upon Middle Earth.
The first two-thirds of the hike weren’t that bad. But the last 1.5 miles were brutally steep. We stopped to check our pulse and calculated our heart rates. This is what happens when you get healthy living bloggers together.
And then we reached it!! 4.61 miles later – the summit!
Tough as nails people.
Striking a Mountain Pose on the top of a mountain….
The town of Banff in the distance!! If you squint hard, you can see a bridge crossing the river on the left-hand side of the picture… that’s where we walked from!!
Cause ya know, this is just how I casually spend my spare time ;)
It was actually pretty chilly at the top, and there was still some un-melted snow. Also notable, is that my fingers swelled from the elevation! I was fumbling a little with my camera because of it.
At the look-out point, they had all the directions and famous cities in that direction. I obviously picked out the East and Toronto. I’m going thataway soon!!
We were a little dead-legged by the end of it, and were more than happy to take the free gondola ride back down.
While passing the trails we’d just climbed up!
We used a few methods to motivate ourselves to get to the top of the mountain. By far the most effective form of motivation, was telling one another that we’d feast on fish n’ chips once we returned to town.
Holly and I noticed that Friday night was cheap fish n’ chips night at the Rose & Crown when we were here yesterday. It was meant to be.
Started with a refreshing Bud Light Lime to quench my mountain-climbing thirst.
I know it sounds silly to get fish n’ chips when I just came from the East Coast, but in all honesty, the break from the red meat was kinda nice.
The fish was battered and not breaded. Definitely the only way to have it.
“Then let them have their tarrtarrrr sauce”
Tartar sauce is my favourite condiment. Ever.
We had to save room though. The best part of the meal was yet to come!!
Cow’s Ice Cream!!! Cow’s is from PEI, and I am obsessed with it. I’m openly not a huge ice cream fan, but I really dig this stuff. It could be the 16% butterfat…
…or it could be the best waffle cones on the planet.
I got the Wowie Cowie which is vanilla ice cream, toffee bits (?) caramel, chocolate shavings, and just all round goodness.
With the chocolate and nut dipped waffle cone of course ;)
Eating ice cream in the mountains is kinda cold though!
I did get a kick out of seeing the summit we climbed up to while we gobbled up our dessert.
See that teeny-tiny structure in the very centre of the photo? That’s where we went!!