Johnston Canyon Hike
I never planned to make my trip to Canada into so many posts but it was a trip that was both relaxing and active and I feel like I was able to pack a lot of things into 5 days. Saturday, the day before the race, I started my day late because I spent the morning relaxing and drinking coffee in the Airbnb in Canmore, which had about 10 guests. I ended up chatting for a few hours with the owner of the house, who was on the Canadian national biathlon team, his father, who was visiting from Prince Edward Island, and a woman from Montreal who was sleeping in the bedroom across the hall from me. Her name was Fabienne and she'd been on a work trip from Montreal to Vancouver and was driving back and signed up for the Banff half marathon last minute.
I took my time because my friend was driving down from Edmonton that morning and I didn't want to leave Canmore before meeting up with him. Once I packed up my stuff, I headed out to one of his breakfast suggestions, a place called Le Fournil Bakery. As soon as I got there and ordered, I got one of the last open tables and ordered a latte and a pain au chocolat and got an ETA that he'd arrive in about an hour. I was happy to have time to relax, people watch, catch up on news, and read a bit.
After he arrived, we enjoyed a short catch up while ordering more food and shared some kind of blueberry tart and some lunch and headed out to park his car in Canmore but use the rental car so we'd only have to worry about one car, and then headed for Johnston Canyon (a 25 km drive). We had decided ahead of time to do something low key since he was getting over a cold and still tired and not 100% better and I had a race to run the next day! The weather was the perfect temperature and not too hot or cold. Earlier in the day, it had been rainy and the weather cleared up for a lovely hike to the waterfalls (as you can see). We walked to the Johnston Canyon Upper Falls (bigger), which were 2.4 km each way and along the way we saw the Lower Falls as well. It was an easy and relaxing walk that was perfect for catching up and talking as well as taking in the beautiful sights.
After our hike, we drove back to Banff to check into the Bow View Lodge. I entertained the idea of running the Banff marathon last June. I kept tabs on the hotel situation for two months and made the hotel reservation in August 2017. I'm really glad that I did because hotel rooms were not numerous nor were they cheap closer to the time of the race. I originally made a reservation for 4 nights, but we stayed for 2 in Banff, 1 in Invermere BC, and I spent my last night in Calgary (first night was in Canmore). It was a bit of moving around, but the distance between accommodations was not far and it didn't seem like too much driving or time in the car at all. The Bow View Lodge was close to the race start, our room had a balcony and it was clean. It isn't the Fairmont, but I'd rather spend money on doing things than a fancy hotel.
After checking in, we really needed to head out and get some food. I'd already requested a burger because that's my usual pre-race dinner for a half-marathon. So, my friend suggested Eddie Burger Bar, which hit the spot and was fairly busy considering it was early in the evening for dinner. We both had a beer and a burger and then headed off to have dessert and some decaf and more catching up at Evelyn's Coffee Bar, which was super cute and another old favorite that my friend recommended. It was cute and cozy and I also recommend it!
We ended our night with coffee and dessert and headed back to the hotel to relax and get ready for the next day, race day. Both of us needed sleep since he was still getting over the nasty cold. Overall, a pretty relaxed and perfect first full day of vacation. :)