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Katie and Andre's West Coast Adventure: Part 1
By:  Katie McMahon   (2014/08/04)

It's the middle of the summer and Ottawa is one humid bug bath! Perfect time to head west! So far on this year's summer vacation, Andre and I have accomplished quite the eclectic bunch of activities. Treating this trip as part ski training camp, part family visit we have been able to try a bunch of new things. Sometimes, especially in the monotony that summer training can become, a change of location is a great solution for the cross country ski athlete.The first part of our western adventure began in Canmore/Banff.

Having been to Canmore many a time in the winter to ski race it was quite interesting to go in the summer and take advantage of all the mountains had to offer. Spending the first day in Banff we took the easiest/quickest way we could find to get to the top of a mountain; a gondola. Very much out of the norm for us skiers, however; traveling tends to exhaust you much more than you expect sometimes. Next, we met up with my childhood friend who is working in Banff all summer and got the "official tour".

My friend Courtney and I. Notice the clothing. This is the end of July, believe it or not. It was freezing!!!

The main point of our stay in Canmore was to visit our friend and my roommate Bronwyn and her boyfriend Bryce whose families live in what I like to refer to as "my future home" ie Canmore.
The majority of our weekend there was spent hiking in the Kananaskis mountain range to an over night cabin. Hands down, this was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been! Hiking through a meadow, surrounded by gorgeous mountains and turquoise lakes, gushing rivers and crazy sheep, life doesn't get much better than this. Not to mention the great training value and leg strength hiking with an extra 30lbs on your back will give you!

A lovely view from one part of the hike.

Andre happy to be in the mountains with his Rudy Projects

Nakkertok and Carleton Alumni Bronwyn demonstrating proper hiking technique

The gang at Tombstone Lake

Andre on top of a boulder field at Tombstone Lake

Katie and Andre at Elbow lake. Those packs were heavy!!

At Elbow Lake contemplating a swim. Don't worry, we did it and yes it was FREEZING!!! The moment was highlighted with some whooping and shrieking followed by a mad scramble back up slippery rocks with numb hands and feet.

The next evening we did a mini hike up to this place called Grassi Lakes.  A quick 20min hike up beside the dam across the road from the Nordic Centre and "Bam!" Another amazing view! An incredible sunset over the mountains; a Canmore activity that can't be beat!

The next morning we were off to Vancouver, where Katie and Andre's West Coast Adventure continues...
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