July 23rd

Lake Magog Campground(275.9mi/444km)-Sunshine Village/Banff(292.2mi/470.2km)
Daily Distance: 16.3mi/26.2km + 1.4mi/2.3km(off trail)=17.7mi/28.5km

Elevation profile created by Zdenek on his 2014 GDT hike  Thank you for allowing me to share these Zdenek! 

Brrr, it was a nippy one this morning at 37F/3C, but felt colder with a crisp air. Wonderful hiking though! We hiked north to Sunshine Village/Banff and away from the magical Assiniboine. A cloud stuck to it most of the early morning and made it look like a chimney. 
It was a nice smooth stroll for awhile leading to Lake Og. I was in the most chilled relaxed mood and just cruised it while listening to more of Amy Poehler’s, “Yes, Please” audiobook. E and I hiked apart just a bit most of the miles today. It was just easy trail with not navigational challenges and we were able to do it our own paces. 

At one point, I realized that this smooth and winding trail reminded me of something I was very fond of….The Pacific Crest Trail! It was wonderfully groomed trail that wound and wove. It felt like it was holding me and laying out all this calming scenery as I strolled by. Loved it:)
Then there was a long, and fairly gradual uphill to get over Citadel Pass. Man, it was a long climb and I dripped sweat. More of a climb than I anticipated, but nice to warm up. Once we got over the forested pass, there was a nice traverse along a mountainside that made me really think of Washington on the PCT. Ah:)
As we got closer to Sunshine Village, things opened up and the dark clouds we had all morning, finally released some rain. It was about 30mins of light rain and then it was gone. We really have lucked out with all this weather so far this trip!
The wildflowers are in full bloom and AWESOME! It is overwhelming to see. In some stretches, it seemed to be more flowers than grass.

Here’s the final bit to Sunshine Village Ski Resort. You can see the lift on the hill on the left. We made our 18mi/29km for the day by 1pm. There is an option to walk the windy steep downhill to the parking lot to get to Banff or take the resort shuttle for $16CAN…we paid and it was totally worth it. Ridiculous how miles off trail are like triple the miles on trail, ha! For some reason, I didn’t take photos at the ski resort. Just looked like a regular resort with lifts. Also, no shots of Banff since we are doing the official tour tomorrow. 

We lucked out big time and have a host for tonight and our zero day in Banff tomorrow. We knew we wanted to take time in Banff and make it a zero, but months ago, places to stay were already booked. We got in at the hostel, but in a large room with many others and not my ideal spot. Then I got a message from a local named Leslie and her husband Keith. Leslie thru hiked the PCT sobo the year after me (2012) and has done large chunks nobo the last two years. My friend Rockin’ has trail angeled her when she’s been in Tehachapi and Leslie does the same for many of the hikers/bikers she meets coming through Banff. She has this hosting thing locked down! Great spacious home, great food, and company. Leslie ( was doing the GDT just a week ahead of us and had offered up her house, but she got injured (extreme tendonitis) and is now home to host us. Coincidentally, her husband also returned today from his Continental Divide mountain bike ride along with other biker Kane. As if this isn’t enough, Leslie and Keith also have a med student, John, staying in their home for a couple weeks. Here we all are having a scrumptious dinner. THANK YOU

Leslie, John, E, Keith, Kane, me.

I stayed up late tonight loading photos for the slideshow from the first part of this trip, which will go up in a day or two. I send my laptop here, so I can catch up on blog things and correspondence tomorrow. Nice to have these days to catch up. So glad things are working out. Our zero day tomorrow will be packed with a morning of sightseeing around Banff and Lake Louise and then lunch with a very special guest…hmmm…who could it be???

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