Susan + Holly: The Banff Exit Interviews

by Holly on June 18, 2010

in 2010 hiking trip

I can’t believe it’s almost been two WHOLE days since I got home from Banff!

I swear it was just yesterday Susan, Karen + I were snuggled up in that rented tent of ours praying the bears would not smell our delicious, blog-quality food, claw through our tent and provide the next day’s headline in the Canadian National Post reading, “Bear attacks three food bloggers in Banff; girls in coma asking if the Mary’s Gone Crackers survived.”

I can see it now.

Anyways, Susan + I thought it would be fun to conduct an exit interview highlighting the best AND worst of the trip. Over a good ol’ Canadian brew, we quizzed each other on our eight short days together…

Susan (a.k.a. The Bag Lady)

(1) Describe your trip in three words. Decadence. Hamstrings. Outdoors.

(2) What was your first impression of Holly? That she is the same person in real life that she is on her blog – energetic, outgoing, hilarious, compassionate, smart, and gives excellent advice ;)

(3) What is something you learned about Holly on this trip? Holly can eat me under the table. Which is saying a lot, because I can put back a lot of food. That girl’s got talent.

(4) Best breakfast. Day two breakfast – maple fudge oatmeal. The texture and sweetness of buttery fudge melting on top of hot oatmeal is in fact the meaning of life. True story.

(5) Best lunch/dinner meal. The elk stew I got at the Rose & Crown for our first meal in Banff. I watched the Food Network on the flight over and Laura Caldman made a boeuf bourguignon that had me drooling in my seat. The stew zapped my craving and then some. Perfectly spiced with hints of red wine, and the elk meat was amazingly tender and flavourful. Served on top of roasted root veggies and mashed potatoes, it was perfection.

(6) Best dessert. This is incredibly difficult. I want to say it’s the vanilla coconut treat I got at the fudgery… but I think it was reeeally the Cow’s ice cream we got in Banff. Nothing beats a waffle cone. Nothing. Also, let it be known Cow’s is from the Maritimes – 16% milk fat baby ;)

(7) Best local brew. Big Rock Grasshopper. All of Big Rock’s beers had a really nice finish to them. The Grasshopper was a paler ale and quite refreshing.

(8) Worst food consumed. Ironically, the worst food was the raw cinnamon roll we got at the Wild Flour bakery. Here we are trying to be healthy after days of eating nothing but red meat, and we were sorely disappointed. I have a mild obsession with cinnamon rolls too, and nothing will replace my love for a white, fluffy, sticky bun :)

(9) Favorite homemade meal concocted on the trip. I really dug the pita pizza with the almond butter sauce and dried apricot topping. Honourable mention goes to our egg scramble at the hostel in Banff. When in doubt – add smoked almonds!

(10) Favorite activity of the trip. I think this will have to go to climbing Sulphur Mountain on our second day in Banff. It was a tough hike at times, but we also had tons of fun pushing ourselves through. Plus, reaching the top was amazing. I also have to give an honourable mention to Mindy at Rocky Mountain Yoga. No instructor has ever gotten that many chaturangas out of me :P

(11) Most memorable moment. Gah! SO many! When I think back on this trip, I will always remember that first night in Calgary when we got hit on by all the creepers then lost on the “wrong side of the tracks.” I will always remember drinking tea at Lake Louise with the girls. And that image of Cascade Mountain at the end of Banff Avenue is forever etched in my heart.

(12) Most embarrassing moment. I can’t chalk it up to one “moment,” but shuffling around the mountains with a hiking bag, duffel bag and GIANT wheelie suitcase was definitely embarrassing at times. When people at bus stations asked incredulously “is that all yours!?” I felt like yelling back “I’M MOVING!! IT’S ALL MY WORLDLY POSSESSIONS!!” But instead I just said yes, and wished I was a hip backpacker instead…

(13) Favorite person we met. I fell in love with a British man making his morning Earl Grey at the YWCA in Banff. He was 60-something and traveling all around Canada. He told us to spend our money wisely while we’re young, so we can travel like he is when we’re older. Shit. I think I got that one backwards…

(14) The next place you want to travel to. My mom and Nana are in St. John’s Newfoundland right now, and I really want to go after hearing them talk about it. That will probably be next, unless I make it to Scotland first. I AM going to Scotland. Mark my words. I’m going to spend the next year saving up for the trip.

(15) Would you travel with Holly again? Without a doubt!!! It would get eerie sometimes, because our plans always matched up. When I would say “we should do this, this, then this.” Holly would say “I was thinking the same thing!!” Holly is also the perfect yin to my yang. I have a tendency to be shy sometimes, so her outgoing nature is the perfect travel buddy for me. And let’s face it, Holly could probably use my navigation skillz ;)

Holly (a.k.a. The Pyromaniac)

(1) Describe your trip in three words. Meat, soreness + FUN!

(2) What was your first impression of Susan? Honestly, I felt like we were already friends. She was just as sweet and friendly as she seems on her blog and had the most delightful Canadian accent ever…eh? ;)

(3) What is something you learned about Susan on this trip? Something I learned about Susan: she is incredibly prepared (she deserves all kudos for our oatmeal bowls) and is one tough cookie. Something I learned from Susan: Canadian geography!

(4) Best breakfast. As much as I loved me some fudge on my oatmeal, I think our Maple Maple Maple Oatmeal (maple nut oatmeal, maple jelly + maple almond butter) bowl we enjoyed on day #2 had me at hello.

(5) Best lunch/dinner meal. Bison burger baby! I had never tried bison before, but it was DELICIOUS, especially paired with chipotle mayo!

(6) Best dessert. Per Susan’s advice, we went to COWS for 16% milkfat ice cream lovingly mixed with toffee, chocolate and caramel and scooped into a chocolate nut waffle cone. It was heaven.

(7) Best local brew. My fave was the Rickard’s White Ale – delish!

(8) Worst food consumed. Those raw desserts we half consumed in an effort to be healthy. Never again. I will take my dessert baked with extra butter, brown sugar and carbs please. I know Susan agrees with me on this one.

(9) Favorite homemade meal concocted on the trip. The pita pizzas we concocted at the campsite – almond butter + trail mix on one pizza and almond butter + sliced apple on the other. I will definitely be recreating these at home.

(10) Favorite activity of the trip. The first hike we took up Sulphur Mountain with Karen. It was long, gruelling and had me panting for air, but the reward of the spectacular view from the top was worth it. Completely worth it.

(11) Most memorable moment. Getting hit on SIX times in one night with Susan + her friend Brynne. Hilarious.

(12) Most embarrassing moment. Burning myself…wearing green + white fuzzy socks in public places…finishing my meal before other people had eaten less than 1/2 of theirs…taking an intensely hard yoga class with intensely good yogis…

(13) Favorite person we met. It was definitely Florian. He was 19 years old, fresh off the plane from Dresden, Germany and was desperately looking for a friend. I know Susan agrees, right?

(14) The next place you want to travel to. International: Argentina. Domestic: Grand Canyon.

(15) Would you travel with Susan again? YES! She is one of the best travel partners I’ve had – she likes breakfast as soon as she gets up, wants coffee after that, says things out loud right before I am about to say the exact same thing, has no shame in downing DELICIOUS food + beer and is the yin to my yang. In fact, I already told her we need start brainstorming our next trip :).


There you have it: bloggers + blog readers are meant to be friends in AND out of the ‘sphere.

Perhaps we need a Healthy Traveling Summit where all of us fabulous, fun + health-minded people could get together and hike gorgeous places, take a yoga class or two, eat amazing food, drink lots of coffee, drink even more beer, live our lives, laugh a whole lot and enjoy just being?

I’ll get right on that.

Until then…

Happy weekend!


Emily June 18, 2010 at 9:35 pm

I only just read through all your trip recaps, and sounds like you had a glorious time! you and susan should do a travel + food show. I would watch.

Susan June 18, 2010 at 9:58 pm

No way man, we locked those Mary’s Crackers up in a metal box!! “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our Mary’s Gone Crackers!” ;)

P.S. I found the equivalent to Evelyn’s in Ottawa – except they don’t have extra extra larges or a Holly to enjoy it with :(

Andrea@WellnessNotes June 19, 2010 at 12:14 am

Great exit interviews! Sounds like you guys are awesome traveling partners! And I’m glad that you got to enjoy some really good food… :)

Happy Weekend, Holly!

Little Bookworm June 19, 2010 at 4:34 am

Great exit interviews! :)

Crunchy Granola Gal June 19, 2010 at 5:22 am

this is genius – picture tint, inquisitive facial expressions, everything – you are fabulous, ms. holly.

Kristin (Salty Tooth) June 19, 2010 at 7:03 am

Love the pictures, it sounds like it was such a great trip!

sophia June 19, 2010 at 7:03 am

Aw, I loved this, and getting to know both of you better in each other’s eyes, too. Wish I could have joined you guys!

Lauren June 19, 2010 at 7:35 am

Okay, this post was fantastic!!! I really got such a good sense of your trip and how amusing to read! Girl, I am so glad you are back but I am also so happy that you had the time of your life!!! Incredible! :)

Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) June 19, 2010 at 9:41 am

I love, love, love how you recapped your Canadian adventures. I felt as if I were right along with you and could totally sense all the fun and excitement that you guys had.

Oh, and can I just say how much I adore these photos?!? Love it! :D

Lynn @ The Actors Diet June 19, 2010 at 11:08 am

i love the idea of a healthy travel summit! i’m in san fran now and just had a lovely meetup of my own – it’s so wonderful!

Madeline - Greens and Jeans June 19, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I already told Susan that I am crashing your next adventure. There is really nothing you two can do about it.

claire June 19, 2010 at 8:39 pm

This is so wonderful lady! I am so glad you two had such an amazing experience…I would definitely be in for a healthy travel summit…right up my alley for sure!

runnerforever June 19, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Now this is one thorough exit interview, very cool!

Molly June 20, 2010 at 12:41 am

WOW, amazing trip ladies! I wish I coulda skipped across the Asian land to join you! Canada is my dream dest. Some day, eh :) If you ever need a travel buddy, I’ll gladly invite myself! Haha, you two are too cute! Looks like an amazing time! Hard to be back in the real world again, I bet! Love ya girl!

maxinthegym June 20, 2010 at 8:00 am

Great interviews! Gave me some ideas for a trip to Banff ;)

healthulous June 20, 2010 at 9:08 am

Hey, Holly! I’m a longtime reader who just started a blog of her own – I’d love for you to check it out! :-) This trip looks like it was amazing, I’m glad you ladies had such a good time!

Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats June 20, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Yeeeeeeeah!!!! SO glad you ladies enjoyed your trip – I’m sure you’ll remember it for a lifetime!!

Mama Pea June 21, 2010 at 12:30 am

I love this! I want to go camping and drink beer and make smores and get hit on by seven guys at once. That sounds awesome. Welcome home!!!

janetha June 21, 2010 at 6:28 pm

this was SO fun to read!

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