It's Never Too Late to Become a Sporty Outdoors Gal

It's Never Too Late to Become a Sporty Outdoors Gal

Nordic Walking Success Story

Marguerite Friesen of Elk Point, Alberta confessed to never having been a sporty gal or a lover of being active outdoors. Indeed, she agrees the label “couch potato” suited her well. Until Valentine’s Day, 2017 when everything changed.

On that fateful day, Marguerite sat on her comfy couch and opened the Edmonton Journal on-line to an article about Urban Poling that was published a few days earlier. The article and video piqued her interest. She thought, “What a novel idea! I could do that! I would like to try Urban Poling!” Right then and there, she dialed in to the Urban Poling website and covered the content from end to end. As there were no instructors and no classes nearby, that very night, she signed up for the on-line course, which came with her very own pair of Urban Poles. If Marguerite was going to take something on, she was going to do it right. A transformation to a thoroughly “sporty gal” began.

Before a month had rolled by, Marguerite had booked a one-on-one session in Edmonton with Master Trainer, Susan Yackulic. That was followed by Marguerite giving her first Urban Poling presentation to the local TOPS weight loss group and on April 11th, after meeting with the Town Rec Director, gave a presentation at the library for the public. Immediately after that, she formed the Elk Point Pole Walking group, which meets every Wednesday, no matter the weather, for a group walk. It continued throughout the winter of 2017-2018 even adding a Sunday walk. Not content to simply complete the on-line instructor course to obtain her Urban Poling certification, Marguerite travelled to Calgary in June to take the course in-person, along with City of Calgary fitness staff.

Marguerite set two very ambitious walking challenges on the UWALK website, which tracks steps walked and encourages people to set and complete walking goals. The specific challenges she set up via UWALK for 2018 were: (1) to walk 1000 km in 2018 and (2) to walk 1000 miles in 2018. Marguerite admitted she was really nervous about the huge commitment she had made. But in successful goal-setting fashion she shared her goals with her husband, her fellow Nordic walkers and colleagues at work. Not only did Marguerite complete her Walk 1000 miles goal, she did it with an astounding 51 days to spare, inviting and encouraging others to join her (including me!).

Three years ago, Marguerite visited the Amalfi Coast of Italy while on a bus tour. She marveled at the tiny ants she saw marching up the near vertical cliffs along the coastline. Then she realized they were not ants, but people ascending thousands of steps. She was amazed that people could do that, or would even want to do that. She definitely thought that was something she could not or would not want to do.

  • Atop the Path of the Gods, Amalfi Coast

  • Mandy & Marguerite

But with the growing confidence of an emerging sporty gal, she signed up for my 2018 Nordic Walking Tour of the Amalfi Coast, calling it a “working holiday” on which she would earn the label of “hiker.” I can report that Marguerite earned the hiker designation in grand style, logging 233,067 steps on her Fitbit during her 15 day European holiday. That converts to 177 kms, which works out to almost 12 kms per day. Marguerite even lost 4 pounds despite all the delicious Italian cuisine and wine on offer. But even more inspirational was the fact that Marguerite hiked the breathtaking Path of the Gods and hiked up to the summit of Mt. Vesuvius, challenges that would have been unheard of a year earlier! Marguerite is presently giving thought to her goals for 2019, which will include another UWalk challenge that we can all join in on. Marguerite would also like to get her local community and her work community involved in stepping up with UWalk. More Nordic walking presentations are on the horizon and maybe even another Nordic walking tour. Congratulations Marguerite on all that you have accomplished since Valentine’s Day, 2017. I hereby officially declare you to be a true sporty gal and invite you to join my hiking gal pals in the by-invitation-only group known as the “Women of Rock.” I hope I can keep up with your exploits in 2019!

Marguerite (closest) on the Glorious Path of the Gods

What to wear & bring (Spring, Summer, Fall):

  1. Wear comfy casual clothes.
  2. Bring a warm extra layer & rain jacket, just in case.
  3. Running shoes are fine while light trail or hiking shoes provide even more support and are ideal.
  4. Please no flip-flops or sandals.
  5. Leave purses at home. A small backpack is a great bring-along.
  6. Don't forget your water, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, insect repellent and your camera.

What to wear & bring (Winter):

  1. Wear a long sleeve t-shirt/thermal underwear top plus 1 or 2 layers (i.e.: light fleece top, heavier fleece top) & a wind/waterproof shell. Heavy winter parkas and snow pants are usually too warm.
  2. Wear winter boots or lined hiking boots. Icers, which go over your footwear to prevent slipping, are provided when necessary.
  3. Leave purses at home. A small backpack is a great bring-along.
  4. Bring water, gloves/mitts, a hat/headband, scarf/buff/neck warmer, tissues/handkerchief, sunglasses and don't forget your camera!

Reserve OnLine:

It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Simply click the "Book Now" button, select your preferred date to check availability, fill in your personal details and then make a secure payment via credit card. The system will automatically send you a confirmation of your session with the relevant details.

Liability Waiver:

Liability waivers are a necessary part of any commercial activity experience. I recommend that you take the time now to review this legal document that you will be required to sign before we start our clinic or walk together:

View the Waiver

Your Health & Physical Activity Readiness:

We ask guests who are experiencing cold symptoms and symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home and practice self-isolation under the direction of the appropriate governing body. For almost everyone, the benefits of physical activity far outweigh any risks. For some individuals, special advice from a Qualified Exercise or health care provider is advisable before becoming more active. This questionnaire is intended for all ages – to help move you along the path to becoming more physically active.

Please review this Questionnaire if you have concerns about your health or fitness level for participating in Nordic walking.

Cancellation Policy:

Full refunds are given if a cancellation is received 24 hours or more prior to the clinic or tour date. No refunds are given with less than 24 hours notice. Clinics/tours go rain or shine. If the weather is extreme, then it may be cancelled with a full refund given.

Malcolm Hotel

Canmore Public Parking


Parking is available on-street or in public lots throughout Canmore. It is a good idea to arrive early on busy days to locate suitable parking.

Malcolm Hotel - Onsite


Restrooms are available at the Malcolm hotel in the lobby.

Canmore Public Restrooms


Public restrooms are available within a short walk:

Canmore Public Restrooms - Trailheads


Public pit toilets are available at all trailheads.

Canmore Various

Where to meet:

Starting locations will vary seasonally with instructions included in your booking confirmation.


Parking options will vary by location with details included in your booking confirmation.

Tour Canmore

Various Canmore Trailheads

Canmore Walking Tour 1.5 Hour

Canmore Walking Tour 3 Sisters

Hikes Cognito Form

Winter Hikes Cognito Form

Chat Modal