Banff National Park

Day 3 & 4: Cory Pass; exploring Banff and Kootenay National Parks.

I know you are probably thinking shut up already about Banff Jodi… 🙂 I promise this is our last post. 😦 But seriously, you have to go there. We only had time off from work to explore for 4 days, but it was iconic.

Sunday, 10/7/18: We woke up from our second night in the hostel and headed down for breakfast. Then, we packed up shop and headed off to the Lake Louise Visitor Center to get information on what to do on our way to the town of Banff. We love getting advice from the park rangers about hikes, trail conditions, bear activity and other recommendations. They are, most of the time, very helpful.

The town of Lake Louise and Banff are about 40 minutes apart, but both are located in Banff National Park. The Trans-Canada Hwy 1 is the fastest way, but we wanted to take the more scenic route on Bow Valley Parkway 1A to take in the views and possibly spot some wildlife.



One of the many views from the road.

We decided to hike to Cory Pass. The park ranger (who lived in Banff) said it was her favorite loop hike, but she did warn us of avalanche danger from the recent snow. This trail is one of the most varied trails in Banff with many different ecosystems as you hike including forests, subalpine steep ridges, scrambling in parts on rock covered ledges, and an alpine pass currently blanketed in snow. It was supposed to be a perfectly clear day so we wanted to get up high to see for miles. The mountains were calling.


This hike started in the forest then made a steep climb quickly out of the forest with views immediately of the valley below.



That is the snow covered Cory pass at 7,709 feet in the background!20181007_13180120181007_13412020181007_13413020181007_13472320181007_135701

Can you spot the trail up to the pass?20181007_14015120181007_14020420181007_14051220181007_14231620181007_14232220181007_14232420181007_142332

Wow! A nice lunch view, huh?20181007_142350

Cory pass covered in snow.20181007_14235420181007_14240220181007_14262620181007_14275820181007_143531

The mountain in the top right of the picture above is Mt Edith.  We had fun watching 2 guys head towards the summit while we were taking a lunch break. 20181007_143536

This is at the top of the pass, looking down at the loop trail. At this point we were in about 3 feet deep of snow and decided to turn around to make it an out and back trail. We heard really good things about the loop trail, but with the avalanche danger and not having snow shoes, we decided to play it safe.


Heading back down.20181007_162457

This hike was amazing! It ended up being 8 miles roundtrip and about 3,530 feet of elevation gain. It was very steep in the beginning and then you traverse a bit with ups and downs and then some switchbacks at the end up to the pass. It reminded us of Mt Alice in Seward, AK because of the steepness in the beginning in the forest and then opening up to some incredible views (shout out to all our Seward friends out there, we miss y’all!!).20181007_170823

After the hike, we headed into the town of Banff to check into our hotel and then go try to find the elk that congregate near the town during rutting season.20181007_171507

The view from downtown Banff while we were in traffic. Not bad huh?20181007_18513120181007_190413

We found elk!20181007_19053020181007_19060320181007_19081220181007_191033

Just hanging out near the local baseball field. Haha! After this, we went to Banff Avenue Brewing for a well deserved beer (and bison chili with jalapeno cornbread!) and this marked the end of day 3. What a day!

Side note: Hockey is on TV AT ALL TIMES in Canada, just like football is on TV in the South or like surfing is always on TV in Hawaii. 🙂

Monday, 10/8/18: On our last day in Banff, we decided to take it easy and do some sight seeing instead of hiking. We slept in and it was glorious. We ate at the hotel and headed out to the Banff Visitor Center.


Then we walked just outside the city to Bow Falls about a mile roundtrip. After that, we walked around town and got some souvenirs and ate some Ramen.

Another side note: Every single Canadian we met on this trip was extremely nice. The rumors were true.

We left town and drove the Lake Minnewanka Loop getting out at various viewpoints to take pictures of Lake Minnewanka, Two Jack Lake, and Johnson Lake to name a few.


This is Lake Minnewanka, the largest lake in Banff National Park.20181008_140447

After the loop, we decided to drive about 40 minutes to Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park. 20181008_150710

We passed the continental divide!!!20181008_151306

Below are pictures from Marble Canyon. This canyon was very unique and crazy beautiful with turquoise glacier melt slicing through the canyon.  It had a lot of signs explaining the history behind this canyon, how it was carved out, and the different rock compositions. This hike was about a mile round trip and can be done in any kind of weather.20181008_15250020181008_152513

We loved the icy blue water. 20181008_15252220181008_15275520181008_15344020181008_15352220181008_15363420181008_15365720181008_15381520181008_15381920181008_154204

We headed back into town and drove around to see if we could spot any more elk. We found some on a golf course! 🙂20181008_17100020181008_171641

We spent one more night in Banff and then headed out the next morning for our 10.5 hour trip back to Seattle.


One of my favorite parts of the drive was seeing all that Canada does to protect their wildlife.  Their highways are lined with fencing (above) that lead to land bridges (below) for the animals to use to cross the highways. 20181009_10525720181009_120140

We passed this gorgeous river on the way back.20181009_132559

One last picture of the wonderful larches on a hillside in Canada. 🙂

This day marked 621 miles of hiking together since marriage on 3.17.17!

We are thankful for every step.


Moraine Lake & Peyto Lake

10/6/18 Day 2: Moraine Lake, Hector Lake, Crowfoot Glacier, Bow Lake, Bow Glacier, Peyto Lake.

On our second morning, we woke up at our hostel and headed downstairs for a quick bite at Bill Peyto’s Cafe in the HI Lake Louise Alpine Lake Centre. Then we headed to the Lake Louise Visitor Center to chat about trail conditions and avalanche danger.

We already knew the road to Moraine Lake was closed to vehicles, but we were allowed to hike the road at our own risk. We felt a lot better after we spoke to the park ranger. We found out there was only about a 100 meter stretch of avalanche danger on the whole 8 mile road up to Moraine Lake. She told us where to be extra cautious and after that we were ready to go! It was going to be a long day since we decided to walk/run the 16 mile stretch out and back to Moraine Lake.

We parked across the street from the start of the road to Moraine Lake at a picnic area parking lot and set out on our hike!


We stayed on the road the whole time since the snow was pretty deep on the trail.20181006_11172020181006_113824

Phil on the road!20181006_114020

The scenery wasn’t so bad for a nice jog, huh?20181006_11411320181006_11433220181006_11445120181006_121333

We made it the 8 miles up to Moraine Lake!20181006_12194320181006_12195820181006_124303


What a view!


Moraine Lake.20181006_130533_001

We made it! The best part about the road being closed, was the fact that we had Moraine Lake to ourselves! It was totally worth the hike up for this once in a lifetime experience. This place was unreal!20181006_130820



It took us about 2 hours to get to the top, an hour exploring around and then about 2 hours to get back down. What a perfectly clear day!20181006_16465620181006_164908

At this point, we made it back to the car and went back to the visitor center. She told us the weather had changed and we should see as much as we could today since we might be clouded in tomorrow. So we set out to drive up the famous Icefield Parkway. These are pictures out of our car window!20181006_16512420181006_16512620181006_16512720181006_16513020181006_165435

Bow Lake. 20181006_16543820181006_16561420181006_17063120181006_17063520181006_170652

Bow Glacier.20181006_17152620181006_17163020181006_17175620181006_174110

Short hike up to Peyto lake. 20181006_174255

Peyto Lake!


Now we were headed back to the town of Lake Louise for our second night staying at the hostel in Banff National Park.20181006_18065920181006_18071420181006_18074520181006_18083320181006_18132320181006_182050

This 20 mile day marked 610 miles since marriage.

What a perfect day! 🙂

The Famous Lake Louise

Banff National Park Day 1: Lake Louise, Lake Agnes, and Big Beehive.

In early October, Phil and I made the 10.5 hour drive from Seattle up to Banff, Alberta. We left after work on Thursday night and drove 4 hours to a small town called Merritt. We stayed in a last minute Motel and then woke up to drive the next 6.5 hours.

From Seattle, we went straight north into Canada and then drove east. We chose the northern route since it was more scenic and a little faster, but more of a risk this time of year depending on the weather. Some parts you might need chains on your tires so beware, but luckily we did not.


Our drive was absolutely breathtaking. A lot of these pictures are through a car window so bare with me, but you get the idea.20181005_135920

We passed many Canadian towns on the way to Banff. One is Revelstoke which is supposed to have some of the best skiing in the world.20181005_140031

Speed limit signs like this one were very common and made us do a double take when we saw 100!20181005_135802

We either passed or drove through three National Parks on the way there. First was Mt. Revelstoke National Park, then Glacier National Park of Canada, and then Yoho National Park.20181005_12352820181005_12283820181005_122614

We were very lucky to still get some fall colors in early October. 20181005_123648(0)20181005_12374920181005_15160320181005_123926

We drove through many of these snow tunnels on our drive, strategically placed in avalanche prone areas. 20181005_152713

If you guys didn’t know already, Phil is a good planner and had this trip planned out to a T. At some point on our drive, we decided to call the visitor center to ask about bear activity and hiking conditions. Well we called, and they said in the last 24 hours they had a massive snow storm and most of the high country was closed due to avalanche danger including the road to Moraine Lake. We were absolutely devastated. I was reading our lists of hikes to the park ranger and she basically said that all were closed, but enter at your own risk. Luckily, Lake Agnes was one on our list that was still open and we decided to go see Lake Louise and hike up to Lake Agnes since we wanted to do this one anyway. 20181005_152824

The entrance to Banff National Park! This is also where you cross from British Columbia into Alberta. 20181005_153439

After 6.5 hours we finally made it to the small town of Lake Louise in Banff National Park. We planned on staying here two nights and then the town of Banff for our other two nights.20181005_153558

We thought about camping, but decided to stay in this hostel. We loved it! It had a very convenient and affordable restaurant downstairs in the hostel. Prior to coming to Banff, we kept checking the weather to decide if we wanted to camp or not. With night temperatures in the teens and occasional single digits, we decided to splurge and stay indoors. 🙂

We arrived in town at about 4 pm, quickly checked into the hostel, changed and headed out to explore before dark. 20181005_162023

We started our hike at Lake Louise and then on to Lake Agnes and further up to the Big Beehive for a view of Lake Louise from up above. 20181005_16250220181005_16245620181005_162704

The famous Lake Louise! We started walking around it to the right and split off on the path up to Lake Agnes. This trail was supposed to be about 6 miles round trip to Lake Agnes. We added the short hike up to Big Beehive at the top, making it about 7 miles total. 20181005_16294320181005_16350320181005_17055320181005_17102420181005_17120620181005_171210

The microspikes were a must in October with the recent snowstorm! 20181005_171703(1)20181005_17205020181005_172054

The staircase up to Lake Agnes and the Teahouse!


Lake Agnes!


Look at that reflection. IMG_8486IMG_8487IMG_8489

This is the Tea House at Lake Agnes. It was closed since it was after 4 pm, but I love the idea! The tea house is at 7,005 feet, if you’re ready for a hot cup of tea after you hike up to Lake Agnes! Very neat. 20181005_17242120181005_172605(1)20181005_17301220181005_173409

After Lake Agnes, we started hiking around and up to Big Beehive Lookout. 20181005_173845

The Larches!!!20181005_174053(1)20181005_174321

On the other side of Lake Agnes, that is the Tea House you can see across the lake.20181005_17451820181005_17474520181005_17475620181005_174758

We just loved the Larches!20181005_17553820181005_175729(1)From the top of Big Beehive looking down over Lake Louise.

20181005_180313Big Beehive Lookout!

20181005_17585320181005_18052920181005_18051620181005_18061820181005_18063320181005_180643The famous Fairmount Hotel on Lake Louise.

20181005_18065020181005_180755IMG_8492The water was crazy blue from all the Glacier melt.



Headed back down…IMG_850720181005_18192320181005_18252920181005_18261820181005_18294420181005_19220720181005_192245 220181005_192334

Back to Lake Louise for dusk and this beautiful reflection after the sunset.

The end of this day marked 590 miles since marriage.

What a great first day!

Below is a video of Phil skipping rocks on frozen Lake Agnes.

We had no idea it would make this really cool sound!

Can you hear it? Also, it made this sound when the wind blew over the ice. How cool! 🙂

Back in Seattle, 561st Mile.

We just couldn’t stay away! It has been exactly 2 summers since we lived in Seattle the first time, and fell in love!

We finished up working in Hawaii in early June and spent a couple more weeks in Hawaii just enjoying paradise (future post?).

We went home to Tennessee in late June to visit some family and friends and someone turned 30!!!


We started work in Seattle in early July and are going to be here until December.


We have been busy bees! I wanted to run through a couple photos of our lives so far since living in Seattle. Pictured above, is a celebratory first day of work beer at our new jobs. 🙂


We spent the Fourth with friends watching the fireworks over Lake Union from this patio.


My first attempt at a fruit pizza!


We spent one weekend up in Leavenworth hanging out with friends.


Then we had a couple visitors in a row! Above is my cousin, Meg and her Husband, Mark!


Then Phil’s brother, Jay came to visit!


While Jay was here, we spent one day boating around Lake Union with a bunch of friends.


And lastly, Sarah popped in to do some exploring!


We enjoyed a Sounders game with MB…


And spent time with some new friends here in Seattle!


Finally, Phil ran in his second Ultra Marathon in September! He completed 31 miles in the Three Corner Rock 50k right out side of Portland, OR in a little town called North Bonneville.


Of course, we also have been doing some hiking. 🙂 Two weekends ago, we went to Mount Rainier National Park.

The planner of the two (I’ll let you guess who that is ;), chose an awesome hike up Burroughs Mountain which stands a little over 7800 feet. This mountain snuggles up close to the northeastern face of Mount Rainier (14,441 feet).

We drove to Sunrise Visitor Center at 6400 feet and started up Three Burroughs Mountain Loop Trail.


It didn’t take long before she started peaking through the trees!


This trail was about 9.5 miles and 2500 feet of elevation gain.


Mount Rainier!



At this point, we made it to the start of the Burroughs’ mountains. This area is a unique rugged alpine tundra.


Views on all sides of the trail!





Here, I am sitting on top of Third Burroughs Mountain looking up at the incredible close up view of Mount Rainier.


Pictures as we hike back down…



Can you spot anything in the picture below?


Here I’ll zoom in for you…


Mountain Goats! A nice surprise at the end.

We highly recommend this hike to get up close and personal to Mount Rainier.

This hike marked our 561st mile since marriage of hiking together. Hopefully, many more to come!

Island Time



Well to say finding time for a blog has been easy, would be a lie. 🙂 I am just going to say I have been on island time and it has been wonderful.


Hawaiian life is laid back, easy, and stress free. Even though Honolulu is a big city with lots of traffic, no one honks, and you see hang loose symbols instead of middle fingers. There is no way to be mad!

One of my favorite things about this city, are the large trees that are still around! Here are just a few of the ones I admire on my runs.


One of the unique Banyan Trees of Hawaii pictured above.


The Monkeypod Trees.


(All photos on this blog post were taken with a phone.)


Okay, enough about trees…  Many of you have been concerned about our safety with the Volcano. Since my last post was about fires and mudslides around Santa Barbara, it does seem there is a trend with us and natural disasters, but hopefully not. 😉 We are currently living on the island of Oahu and have been unaffected by the volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. Many of my patients have been complaining about Vog (Volcanic Fog), but I have not noticed a difference or been affected by the air quality. Kauai has also seen a lot of tragedy with the recent devastating flooding and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts as well.

On a happier note, we have had many visitors since living here and it has been amazing!

First was Anna Lee, my older sister for her birthday away from 3 kids!


Second was Lindsey and David, our friends from working in California.


Then was Mom and Kelly on Kelly’s spring break!



Then it was Megan, Kristin, and Becca in for a vacation!



And this week the whole Brock family will be visiting for 10 days!!

We also have been busy hiking almost every weekend. Hawaii has some very challenging hikes and some of the scariest we have ever done. Two of the most precarious hikes were Three Peaks and Pu’u Manamana.


This was taken on Three Peaks Hike with our new-found friends Gemma and Jean! And yes, we hiked to the tippy top of that mountain in the background. It was one of the craziest and most rewarding hikes I have done. Thanks to the help of these lovely, brave people, we all made it up together!!


I can’t post about Hawaii and not talk about all the unique food. Above is the famous Acai Bowl. It is delicious! Basically a smoothie in a bowl with yummy toppings.


Hawaiian’s love their shaved ice. It is a mix between a snow cone and ice cream!


So much yummy Sushi!!


Above is Hawaiian spam, Korean BBQ and chicken katsu.


There are a lot of food trucks on the Island!


The delicious Malasadas. Think a donut with coconut cream in the middle!


Andddddd more Hawaiian ice! I hope you are now officially hungry! So much more to talk about with our Hawaii adventures, but I must go to bed. Until next time…


Santa Barbara Fire

When we chose Santa Barbara as our next assignment, we never would have guessed what was in store.

It is almost not fair for me to write this. Phil and I drive around the country with what fits in our cars. If they issued a mandatory evacuation, we probably would be able to leave with everything we own. That is not true for the majority of Santa Barbara residents and my heart goes out to everyone being affected by this terrible fire. I cannot even imagine living in a home my entire life and then having it go up in flames in a moments time. Having to start completely over with only what fit in your car when urgently told to evacuate. Not to mention the years and years of construction to follow for the things that were replaceable and the many tears for the things that were irreplaceable.


The Thomas Fire is now the 3rd largest fire in CA history and there is no rain in sight. It started on Dec 4th as a brush fire and now has spread closer and closer to Santa Barbara. The whole 13 days, we have had poor air quality, smoke filled skies, and ash raining down most days like snow.

Screen Shot 2017-12-17 at 2.26.19 PM 2.png

This is the most recent map of evacuations. We are now only in the voluntary (yellow) evacuation zone.


For the most part, the sky has been smokey like the picture above.

Below are images from yesterday, which was the first day the fire was viewable from downtown Santa Barbara.






It is hard to describe the city lately. It seems apocalyptic. We have been wearing our masks when outdoors and keeping windows closed due to poor air quality.

On a positive note, Phil is training for his first Ultra Marathon in January! Lately, there has been a lot of this:


Poor thing… No one likes to run long distance on a treadmill, but he is staying strong!

We go to bed with our phones on loud so we can here the emergency evacuation text messages coming through in case we need to leave during the night.

For now, we are safe and continue on with work and life as we approach Christmas.

We are looking forward to traveling up to Oakland to be with the Brocks this Christmas!!!

We are wanting to start a new tradition as this is our first Christmas as a married couple! Any ideas? What are your favorite holiday traditions?

When there is stress over shopping or holiday preparations, just remember the fire victims that have lost their entire home, or the many fire fighters that are away from their families during this holiday season. We are so thankful for everyone fighting the fires and this wonderful community here in Santa Barbara, CA.

Happy Holidays!

Our Last Week In Alaska, 283rd Mile.

Week of 9/24/17-9/30/17: 283rd Mile.

Well to say it was hard to write this post would be an understatement.

One might think as “travelers”, we would get used to goodbyes, but that is not the case. I do think one can improve at goodbyes, but they don’t get any easier. It’s funny… We are so close to our biological families, but every place we travel to feels as though we gain an additional family. I call them by their obvious name (to make it easier), but our Seward Family was like no other.

They took us in from day one and treated us like one of their own. It was so special. We had never really lived in a town this small (population ~2800) and it was such a unique experience. Life was slow, sweet and perfect. Everyone cared about everyone else and the care was genuine. There was no such thing as traffic, unless it was caused by wildlife.

Our last week in Alaska was bittersweet. We had a hard time saying goodbye, but had a pretty epic last hike.

To start off the week, we went on one of our favorite shorter trail runs together called Tonsina Point Trail at Lowell Point.


Sorry for the post-work make-up fiasco, but that’s real life. Oh and I’m blurry because I am running so fast. 🙂


This is one of many wonderful views on this trail run looking out on Resurrection Bay.

Skip a few days to Friday where we went out to lunch with our coworkers for our last day celebration.


What a fabulous crew. We sure are going to miss you all!

(By the way, Phil likes to do this thing where he sees a camera and then closes his eyes. Seriously, it’s a real talent.)


On our way back from lunch, this Moose decides to show up near the local airport.


One last Alaskan Moose viewing for us!


Last day office views. 🙂

After taking it easy on our last Friday night in Alaska, we decided to go on a long run on Saturday. We chose to go on Lost Lake Trail one last time since it is our absolute favorite.

Phil and I ran our first “trail run” race on this trail back in August. Lost Lake Run 2017 was a 16 mile trail run benefiting Cystic Fibrosis. It was so much fun!

We lucked out and had a gorgeous day.


If you start at the Southern end, it starts on mile 5 of the Seward highway. This side is called the Lost Lake side and you hike through dense spruce forest until it opens up with views of the nearby mountainside such as the picture above.


At this point, the trail looks like this, with lots of vegetation and beautiful views.





Then it levels off into subalpine area of wet meadows and hemlock groves.






At this point in the season, fall had almost come and gone so there was much more of a brown landscape up in the sub-alpine and alpine areas.


After just climbing the last alpine ridge, you have your first views of Lost Lake. It is about 7 miles from the trailhead to the lake!






Here is the split. You can continue to the Primrose side to complete the ~15 mile trail from trailhead to trailhead. Today, we just wanted to do out and back so we continued left to the lake to relax in the sun for a bit.





Lost Lake 🙂



Bald Eagles were everywhere in Alaska.



Phil running back down the trail. Bye for now Lost Lake!



Views of Resurrection Bay on the way down!




Jodi running down the trail! At the end of the day, we completed a 14 mile trail run with a short break by the lake in the middle to soak up some memories. This day marked our 283rd mile together since marriage and what a day it was!


Our last sunset in Seward… We were down by the waterfront and watched the sun set on the mountains across the bay. Can you see the moon? It was just beautiful.

As the sun set on our time in Seward we were so happy to have known this little piece of heaven for the summer. We will miss this place and these people, taking them with us always in our hearts and in our memories.

A wise Alaskan lady once told me, “Memories are like roses in December.”




First Post, 265th Mile.

Hey guys! Welcome to our blog. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoy!

Phil and I got married this past St. Patrick’s Day! Ever since then, we have been writing down our hiking miles by keeping up with what hikes we do, a little bit about our experience, the date, and the mileage in a journal. This spiked the idea behind the marriagemiles blog. I always wanted to start a blog ever since we began traveling as physical therapists back in 2014. I kept putting it off and then one day I drove past this garden center. The sign out front read, “The best time to buy a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time to buy a tree is NOW.” This really hit home. I was held up on the fact that I should have started a blog years ago, when all I needed to do was start blogging today. So here we go… and thank you for reading! (This was taken from my about page for clarity).

Since marriage on March 17th, we have hiked 265 miles together. Hiking is nothing new to us, but keeping track of it is. On our honeymoon, we decided to start recording all the miles we hike together. We wrote them down in this book.


It has been so fun! I hope to go back and post about some oldies-but-goodies, but I am not promising anything.

Right now, we live in Seward, Alaska. As of late, Seward has been nothing but rain. Whenever there is a break in the rain, we hike or run!

Today, we decided to go up Mt. Marathon on the Jeep trail to eventually get to the Bowl.

mt We have done Mt. Marathon many times, but never around the back to the Bowl. It was beautiful! I didn’t bring my Canon, so the Samsung will have to do for today.


Once we got up above the tree line, we had a quick view of Resurrection Bay before the fog rolled in.


Look at those fall colors! Phil is looking up at the Bowl in this picture.




Mt. Marathon Bowl



My hiking model. 🙂


The fog came creeping in!


Then we started back down the trail.

You know how most places in the lower 48 you want to be quiet and hear nature at times on your hike? Well in Alaska, you want to make noise, talk, yell, sing, etc. They say to make enough noise so you won’t surprise a bear or other unsuspecting wild animal. We sometimes play music on our phones, yell “Hey Bear!” or talk. Today we happen to be playing a podcast. We have been listening to Up and Vanished lately (thanks to Jamie). It is so good! You should definitely check it out if you enjoy investigative journalism. Especially if you enjoyed the Serial podcast as much as I did. We were so wrapped up in episode 15 that we stumbled upon a Moose!


Luckily, she was minding her own business and there were no calves in sight. We just scooted on by and went on our merry way.


Just another day in the Alaskan wilderness! It really is the Last Frontier.

Well, this made our 265th mile together and many more to come!