Back from Banff: The Trip Report

Hey, all - I missed you!

My trip was fun and productive, and I enjoyed some amazing hiking in the mountains. But most of the time I worked, and it was important to have a wardrobe that allowed me to be comfortable and casual without being unprofessional. YLF to the rescue! With your advice, I nailed it.

THANK YOU to all who helped me plan my trip capsule. I ended up wearing almost everything at least once, and the apart from my denim skirt the only things I didn't wear were the cold-weather items we were instructed to bring in case of cooler temperatures. It turned out to be quite hot, so I was grateful for my extra bag of Niagara style summer clothes -- the sleeveless tops and dresses. My wool sweater, my fleece, my down vest all sat in my closet unused. However, you can never tell about the weather and it was good to be prepared.

I'm not sure why I didn't wear the denim skirt; I had thought it would be really useful. But it turned out I was more comfortable in shorts. I worked quite often curled up on the couch in my cabin, so maybe that explains it. A narrow skirt, even one with stretch, doesn't accommodate that kind of sitting.

Trip workhorses included: my black wool jacket - thank you, CocoLion!! Wore this to several evening events and it definitely finished my look. Also, being crepe, this jacket doesn't wrinkle, so it looked great straight out of the suitcase.

Jeans -- I brought 3 styles and wore all 3: distressed boyfriends (thanks, again, Denise!). Skinnies (wore them all the time rolled up as crops/clams). Straight legs.

Denim bermudas: my everyday shorts. Wore them TONS.

Bright cotton full skirt, the one I bought on consignment: my semi-dressup look. That skirt gets compliments everywhere I go.

My striped French sailor sweater: Wore with EVERYTHING.

Casual wedge sandals.

I also BOUGHT a couple of things: a new pair of cross-trainers for hiking and a new outfit (which I will post separately).

In the meantime, a few pics!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • shevia replied 8 years ago

    Looks wonderful - both the view and you! Sounds like you had a terrific and productive time and welcome back!

  • Claudia replied 8 years ago

    Welcome back. I missed you. Gosh, the pictures are amazing! Beautiful.

  • ramya replied 8 years ago

    Wow!!! /What a view!!!! Fab place... give us some more details about this Suz I think I missed the previous post :(

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    Ramya, I was in Banff for a writing fellowship for a month; just prior to that I was in Niagara for a conference for my work, and I had to bring clothing for two climates as a result.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 8 years ago

    Welcome back Suz - we missed you! Sounds like it was all a wonderful experience for you - so pleased it all worked out. And your hard work planning your wardrobe obviously paid off big time!

    Thanks so much for the pics of Banff too - I've been several times and the beauty of that place never ceases to amaze me.

    Looking forward to seeing the new outfit - please hurry!!!

  • nancylee replied 8 years ago

    SO happy the trip went well (gorgeous!) and that your wardrobe served you well.

    Welcome back!

  • Laura replied 8 years ago

    Hi Suz! What stunning scenery - I am inspired by your French sailor sweater, and from one writer to another, did you accomplish tons? Did you meet other interesting writers? A month of writing in Banff sounds heavenly!

  • JR replied 8 years ago

    Oh Banff has such a special place in my heart. The only tourist trap I know of that I love profoundly. I am envious.

  • velvetychocolate replied 8 years ago

    Wow - sure looks beautiful up there! Glad to have you back, and pleased to read that your chosen travel/work capsule for the mountains worked out so well.

  • christy replied 8 years ago

    Wow - those photos are stunning! Glad to hear the trip went well, was productive, and that you felt so successful with your terrific travel capsule planning. We missed you around here - good to see you back!

  • Tina replied 8 years ago

    Wow! I live in Alberta (always have) and I have never been to Banff. I must rectify that soon. The pictures don't look real - thinking of #7 in particular. I've been to Jasper and they have a lake with green water as well, just beautiful.
    You look fabulous in the pics, so healthy, happy and vibrant! I'm glad you enjoyed your time.

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    Tina, that is, indeed, the colour of the water! It is glacial run-off that makes it that colour. It reflects the blue-green parts of the spectrum.

    Some of these pictures were taken near Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, not near Banff itself. My hiking was mostly in that area.

    Laura, I was involved in a specific program and they worked us very hard. I wrote a 10,000 word piece and it went through one complete re-write while I was there plus five substantial edits. So there wasn't a lot of time to do much else aside from some projects I had underway for my paid job. But it was a rewarding experience, and I did meet some nice people. There were 9 of us in the program and each of us had a private cabin for working in, but stayed in the main lodge and ate many of our meals together. Plus we had regular workshops and seminars to attend.

  • rachylou replied 8 years ago


  • Freckles replied 8 years ago

    Fun and productive, you nailed not only your capsule but the whole thing!

    A few unused pieces is not a bad thing at all as you felt they would be worn when you created the capsule and just ended up working differently than you expected.

    I love Alberta and sure miss it,..sigh. You've shared such beautiful pictures. So glad you got some hiking in.

  • CocoLion replied 8 years ago

    Your trip pictures are fantastic! What altitude were you at (sleeping/living as well as hiking points)? I live in the foothills of the Sierras so if I drive 1 hour (or less) I am in Yosemite where the higher elevations are still green. We are entirely brown this time of year at 2750, feet and a local fire plus 100 degree temps make it feel like an oven when you left the roast in too long.

    Glad your wardrobe worked out and I'm surprised you didn't need your down vest at night, was there rain?

    Thank you for mentioning me in your thread!

  • rae replied 8 years ago

    WOW, what a beautiful setting! Sounds like heaven to be able to write away and then hike through all that gorgeous scenery.

  • catgirl replied 8 years ago

    Wow, thanks for the report and fab pictures. I'm sure you looked amazing and am glad you had fun. Happy to have you back!

  • morethanbeige replied 8 years ago

    Welcome back, Suz! What a beautiful place!

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    Thanks, all - I missed you! I did try to pop in when I was able and enjoyed reading forum and blog posts when I could.

    Denise, Banff itself is at 1483 meters, so 4,865 feet. Lake Louise (where I did a lot of the hiking) is 1750 meters, so 5741. And Sentinel Pass (where some of these photos are taken) is 2400 meters, so 7874 feet. And yup...I hiked that.

    I usually live below sea level, so it took a while to get used to the elevation! Whew.

    They've had a hugely rainy spring in the Canadian Rockies, so while temperatures were very warm for the most part, there was little danger of fire. The real danger was in the unusual number of mosquitoes. And of course bears. I didn't see one, but I did see bear scat on our trail between the time we went up and came down on our hike.

  • CocoLion replied 8 years ago

    I'll take a bear over a mosquito any day.

  • tarzy replied 8 years ago

    Hope you got lots of good writing done! A month away to write sounds absolutely amazing.

  • Laura replied 8 years ago

    That does sound like a lot of work, Suz. Glad they let you out of your cabin and into the fresh air once in a while :)

  • annagybe replied 8 years ago

    Wow! Banff and Lake Louise are on my bucket list. Love the photos. Glad the capsule worked out.

  • HelenInCanada replied 8 years ago

    Welcome back, Suz! Did you miss civilization? (I kid!) LOVE the breathtaking photos of Lake Louise - thank you for the fabulous eye candy for me in flat Toronto!

    SO glad the capsules were successful. Looks like you had a memorable trip. Hopefully that 10,000 word piece will be in publication soon...? :)

  • Angie replied 8 years ago

    Welcome back, Suz! We missed you too! I am THRILLED that your capsules worked out and that you had a great time. Lots of productive writing too, I'm sure :)

    Photo #8 looks surreal!

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    Ah, Helen, there's the nub. It has become increasingly difficult to publish long-form journalism. Mine isn't, strictly speaking, journalism, but is actually a sort of memoir, but even so. However, I do have a few potential options and have sent it out. Fingers crossed.

    By the way, the turquoise lake you see in one photo is Grassi Lake (near Canmore) and the really bright one is Moraine Lake, not Lake Louise - a bit higher up than Lake Louise and darker in colour. Other pics are taken on the Saddleback Trail (Lake Louise area) and Sentinel Pass (which begins at Moraine Lake and goes UP!)

    Anna, you would love the sights. Definitely go when you are able! I did more hiking this trip than I have done in previous trips and I must say it made the experience much more enjoyable.

  • HelenInCanada replied 8 years ago

    Uniquely beautiful! Thank you for the correction, Suz - I need to brush up on my Western Canada geography! :)

    All fingers crossed for you, and many good vibes your way...!

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    Helen, they all look really similar in the pics! Lake Louise is just bigger, more populated, and a lighter turquoise colour. But pretty much all the water there has this amazing hue.

  • Jjsloane replied 8 years ago

    I'm so glad to hear the trip was a success, the chosen wardrobe served you well and there was some productivity on the writing. The pictures you've shared are breathtakingly beautiful and I am mentally picturing myself in that lovely setting to escape the horrid work week I had.

  • replied 8 years ago

    Welcome back, Suz, I missed you! Glad you had such a productive, fun, and fashionable time!

  • Gaylene replied 8 years ago

    I'm so happy that you got out on the trails while you were in Banff. Too many park visitors just see the mountains from the town site and the roadways; those views are nice enough, but the really spectacular scenery does require a bit of effort. But, oh, what a reward when you get to the top!

    Thanks for the pictures-- and I'm glad your clothing choices worked out.

  • Joy replied 8 years ago

    What a gorgeous place! I can almost smell thefresh air. We will put this on our list of future vacation spots.

  • Sveta replied 8 years ago

    Amazing pictures and yay for wardrobe success! I am glad you had great time but selfishly I am happy to have you back, Suz!

  • Mona replied 8 years ago

    So nice to have you back, Suz! Thanks for sharing the pics. I am so glad you had a nice trip and the capsule worked well for you.

  • Janet replied 8 years ago

    Welcome back! You look beautiful and happy.

    What a wonderful place to work. I thought I recognized Moraine Lake! I have wonderful memories from that area -- we honeymooned there. This might sound completely insane, but we took a train from Baltimore to Seattle (sleeper car, all we did was sleep, eat, and watch movies on our laptop for three days, which was welcome after all the wedding frenzy). Then rented a car in Seattle, drove up through Vancouver and road tripped our way to Banff. We had reservations at the Chateau Lake Louise, but we ended up finding the much quieter Num-Ti-Jah Lodge up the highway and fell in love with the rustic isolation, so we stayed there instead. What a fabulous trip! Thanks for helping me relive it!

  • replied 8 years ago

    Suz! You're back! What incredible pictures. That scenery is beyond fantastic! Thank you for posting them. Like the others have said, they don't even look real. I'm glad your wardrobe worked out and you had nice weather. Now I'm off to check out your other thread. :)

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    Wow, Janet, what an amazing story! That sounds like a heavenly honeymoon. I have done that drive from Vancouver through the mountains and it is a wonderful one.

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