by Melissa Brunner
One of my favorite ways to explore a new place is on two feet. Fortunately, my legs usually feel up to the task! For our Holiday Vacations tour to Canada, I'll admit, I was looking forward to running in a) cooler air! and b) some fantastic scenery in the national parks which we are slated to visit. I asked one of my running friends if this made me a geek or an addict. She replied probably a little of both!
A few days before we left, I decided to research the trails in Banff and Jasper National Parks. Oh, they have trails, all right - trails with several sections under grizzly bear advisories! Hmmmm.... Of course, this brings up the old joke that all I have to do is make sure I'm running with someone slower than me. Still, I don't prefer runs to end in bloodshed for anyone, so I'll be checking in with park rangers before I do any running on that leg of the journey.
Which brings me to the unexpected running surprise of the first night of our trip, staying in downtown Calgary. As we neared the turn to the hotel, our driver pointed out a trail that runs along the Bow River through downtown. I could see the trail from the hotel's 35th floor meeting room when we gathered right after our arrival. I saw people walking, biking and running - and it was just two blocks away! One lady remarked, "All you want to do is get out there for a run, don't you?"
And so, that's what I did before dinner. I'm so glad I did! A beautiful paved trail runs along the river. People were sitting along the banks, watching people float by on rafts. Music from a nearby festival kept the pace. Around one turn, you encounter a steep stair climb up a place called McHugh Bluff. It's a leg burner - but you're rewarded with a sweeping view of the city of Calgary.
I was so focused on the nature paradises which lie ahead, who'd have thought I'd encounter such a scene route in the heart of a city?
Check my Facebook page - www.facebook.com/WIBWMelissaBrunner - for photos of this rave run!