Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Today we hit the road after saying thanks to Trace for being such a great host and our personal Banff tour guide! Valemount bound!
Because we were heading north anyway, we decided to take highway 93, the infamous Icefields Parkway and then through Jasper. When we made the transfer from the Trans Canada to highway 93 an hour north of Banff, we were stopped at a toll booth- since when are there toll routes in Canada?! After a failed attempt at scheming a discount, we paid the $20 and said to each other that this better be worth it! And holy smokes, was it ever! You can barely put a price on the continuous three hour view from Banff to Jasper, we had no idea this was in store for us!
Along the way we witnessed our first bear sighting, with two more shortly after! I was scolded by another curious passerby when I got out of Gerry to take a photo of the bear, risky but worth it. That lady just needs to spend some time at the Outpost to loosen up a bit.
We also stopped at the Weeping Wall and the Athabasca Glacier to experience two of North America's most breathtaking sights.
Testing our hitch hiking abilities just in case......we had no takers.
We are now at WWOOF stop #2 - Valley Mountain Ranch, stay tuned for an update in the near future!
Between WWOOF stop #1 and WWOOF stop #2, we decided to spend two nights in Banff, where our good friend Trace [Jessica Tracey] is working for the summer. No big deal or anything, but she is one of the staff members at Banff Springs Golf Course, which is affiliated with the world famous Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.
When we arrived, we were totally floored by the ski-village feel to this small city, we knew instantly that it was a good choice to stop in and check it out. Trace was happy to not only give us a place to bunk for the night, but she hooked us up with access to the Fairmont Castle facilities, tours of town, and new great friends. Trace must have been repulsed by our stenches, because the first place she brought us was to the Fairmont Spa shower house.....oh man......our first hot, nice shower in a while! Talk about going from one extreme to another in a short amount of time! Later in the evening we went for a beer at a local country pub, it was nice and all....but we spotted a ton of wannabe Cowboys, Tim would not approve.
After a great sleep, we hit an early yoga session at Lululemon, and then Trace gave us a run down of her action packed game plan for our day. This is what we did:
1. Hiked Mt. Sulphur - 7,456 ft ASL, 5.5km climb, killed it in 1:10 hours
2. Explored Bow River, the most popular photographing area in Banff
3. Toured around town, checking out small stores, window shopping, and bargain hunting
4. Soaked in the Fairmont outdoor hot pool
5. Hit the D-Floor at the dancing Sasquatch with a crew of friends from the golf course
Our time spent at the Outpost was not only educational, it was full of laughs, adventures, great company, and self-discovery.
Us girls on a hike, wicked view!
Things We Learned and Accomplished at the Outpost 1. How to harness and drive a team of draft horses through icy creeks, mud, snow, forestry, hills, etc. 2. How to saddle and ride horses, the true Western Cowboy way, through narrow trails along cliffs, rocks, mud, water, forestry, up/downhill. 3. Our ability to cook a group feast Cowboy style including all the requirements, it is truly is an art to make dinner with limited food, no power, no cook book or measuring cups, and hungry men in the next room. 4. That it's totally acceptable to limit your shower to once a week, if everyone stinks equally that means we don't smell....right? 5. Pack rats steal something of yours and replace it with something of theirs, such as swapping a hair clip for a pine cone.....I guess that's a fair trade. 6. That horses respond 100% to the energy of their surroundings, therefore if someone is scared / frustrated around them, they sense it and act alike......therefore there is no faking bravery with these guys. 7. Our ability to pop squats in odd places, including off high decks and directly outside populated buildings.....especially when left alone for the day, please be warned, do not walk in bare feet around where we have been. 8. Our ability to sleep, work, workout, hike, cook, read, lounge, climb, tend to horses, etc in the exact same outfit every day for two weeks, now that is talent. 9. How to speak some German, thanks to Coco- we know things such as danke scheun [thank you very much], bitte scheun [you’re very welcome] PROST! [cheers!], gutentag [good day!] freund [friend] hallo [hello] etc... 10. That living on a authentic Western Dude Ranch is one of the most amazing experiences, we already miss it and are planning our trip back!
Trudging through the water, some hiking views, getting stuck in the mud, and some trail rides!
Henry and 44X
A magnificent view!
Fears Conquered at the Outpost 1. Killing mice [definitely a lot more difficult than it may seem]. 2. Horses in general - Emma McMillan. 3. The dark. 4. Outhouses in the dark. 5. Climbing unsupervised rock faces and hoodoos. 6. Wandering around with full awareness that timber wolves, bears, cougars, sasquatches, boogy men, wild horses, abominable snowmen, and bushmen are always watching us. 7. The cold cellar. 8. Yet to be conquered.....going back to reality.
Overall, spending time at the Outpost was truly amazing. Tim and Julie are such generous, educational, welcoming people who took us in like family. They were always eager and willing to give us the full back country ranch experience. It was also a pleasure to have met our German friend Coco, who we're sure we will be visiting over seas in the near future. We can't forget about the rest of the Cowboys and ranch help, you are all unique in your own way, and will be missed greatly!
Map of the area
Tim during a safety meeting, he approved of our baking!
Please check out the Outpost's website for more information about their vacation packages or WWOOF opportunities: http://www.outpostatwardenrock.com/
P.S. If you or someone you know ever needs help with one [or more] of the following, please let Emma and I know, we will be there ready and willing: 1. Shit shoveling. 2. Rodent termination [no pesticides included]. 3. Meal preparation, Cowboy style. 4. Guides through the mountains. 5. The secret recipe to a true Cowboy Coffee.
Wine and UNO during our last night, gonna miss this view!