Driving through the Rockies

I apologize to those that checked my blog yesterday. I accidentally posted all the photos without including any written content. Oops! Worst blog post ever, but I promise to make up for it below... As you may know from my previous posts, Roger and I spent our week summer vacation in Western Canada--Alberta and British Columbia to be exact. Originally we planned to go somewhere south to relax on the beach, but when we found out my cousin Jennifer was getting married in Grande Prairie, we switched gears and decided to extend our stay out West after the wedding. Roger used to work out on the oil rigs and likes to downhill mountain bike, so he's had the pleasure of visiting both Alberta and BC. I had only been so far as Banff, AB. Roger loves to drive long distances and I love being the passenger beside him, so the 18 hour commute was by no means a hassle. To be honest, it was my most favourite part of the trip. Winding roads, picturesque scenery, fresh mountain air, wildlife galore... what's not to love about that? We didn't even turn up the radio, not even once (although, to be fair, there was no signal in the National Parks.) Just me and my love travelling through the Rockies with no work commitments, no cell service, and enough guacamole to feed a small army. Pure bliss. Route to Vancouver We had a few must-see attractions on our list and if you look up to the map, a lot of them happened to be spaced pretty far apart. We picked up a rental car in Edmonton and hit up the following spots: - Jasper National Park - Yoho National Park - The Icefields - Banff National Park - Lake Louise - Radium Hot Springs - Revelstoke DSC_0001 DSC_0008 We ran into this big guy in Jasper National Park. He was very chill; Roger snapped a photo of him from a few feet away. This is not advisable. There is signage all around the park warning not to feed or get close to the wildlife. Other cars were stopped at the side of the road and we could not resist! DSC_0016 DSC_0017 Our first official stop was Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park where we stared in awe of the location's natural beauty. We could feel the mist coming off the falls and asked a family to take our picture. The sucky thing about travelling in a twosome is that you're at the mercy of a stranger's photography skills. Sometimes you luck out and get an expert shot and other times you wonder if you mistakenly asked a favour from a toddler. Our experience at Athabasca Falls was with the latter. We managed to get more photos together in Vancouver! DSC_0041 That night we checked into Sunwapta Falls Resort--a cutesy lodge in quite literally the middle of nowhere. Our room had its own fireplace, small TV, and fresh spring water on tap. A bit of a tourist trap, accommodations were not cheap at $200/night. Feeling sleepy from our day of driving, we retired to our little log cabin in the woods. The bed was comfy and their gift shop was extensive. We perused their selection of Jade figurines and were surprised to find that some works of art retailed for over $250K. DSC_0048 After a homestyle breakfast of enough oatmeal to satisfy Goldie Locks AND the three bears we hit the road again en route to Radium Hot Springs. IMG_4894 IMG_4866 IMG_4870 DSC_0130 DSC_0128 We experienced unexpected gridlock midday. More than one hundred cars were lined up and stopped on the road waiting for maintenance workers to repave a strip of highway. Time for a photo-op! It's amazing how forty-five minutes of idle waiting is 100 times more tolerable while on vacation. DSC_0125 Then we travelled through the majestic Icefields Parkway where we were treated to glaciers as far as the eye could see... DSC_0081 ... and the most turquoise and serene of waters. DSC_0093 DSC_0095 DSC_0097 DSC_0075 DSC_0076 A trip through Banff National Park would not be complete without a visit to Lake Louise. I've been there twice before and it has since been my dream to live there for a couple of months while writing my novel by the lakeside. DSC_0106 IMG_4880 DSC_0109 Next stop: Radium Hot Springs! Roger and I were beyond excited to visit the famous natural hot springs. The hotel concierge at Sunwapta Falls highly recommended we take the 4-hour detour from our journey to bathe in them, so obviously we took her advice. We almost got back into a car when we discovered the truth about Radium Hot Springs--it's not a natural spring at all. Back in the 1920s everyone flocked to the wondrous pool in its primitive state, but ever since a fire in the 1950s, the walls surrounding the pool have been concrete and the liner blue. Because the Springs can see approximately 6000 swimmers per day, for both sanitary and aesthetic reasons, they cannot revert to the original. We drove all that way so we decided to stick around. IMG_4893 It was my FIRST time in a bathing suit all summer and quite possibly my last, so I'm super happy we took the plunge. IMG_4897 After a refreshing dip, we headed towards Revelstoke, BC for the last leg of our journey. There we saw a massive black bear cross the road. Unfortunately I did not take the picture fast enough--this bear bum is all I have to show for the occasion. Exciting nonetheless! DSC_0158 Dinner and double caesars at the Village Idiot gave us a sense of the local flair in Revelstoke. IMG_4915 IMG_4914 We booked accommodations on the road at Glacier House Resort in Revelstoke, BC. It's primarily an attraction for ski, snowboard, snowshoe, snowmobile enthusiasts, but it suited our summer vacation needs quite nicely. We spent our evening swimming laps in the pool (yay exercise)! Our only gripe was that the rooms were not air conditioned and it so happened to be a very sweltering night. Breakfast was complementary and the mountain views were breathtaking, so we were quick to forgive. DSC_0171 The trip from Revelstoke to Vancouver was an ear-popping event as we drove up mountain ranges, through tunnels, and back down again. DSC_0154 To be continued...
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Jennifer’s Wedding in Grande Prairie

Finally! I'm back to writing after a wonderful week away. As would be expected when one travels through the Canadian Rockies, I have many breath-taking nature shots to share; however, I digress. Not all of my vacation was peppered with mountains and hot springs. Before picking up our rental car, Roger and I joined my extended family in Alberta--we flew to Grande Prairie for my cousin Jennifer's wedding. It was such a blast to get together with family, especially with my cousins that I haven't seen in years. (And finally met Roger for the first time!) As we get older and become more involved with our own lives and careers, it seems like the only times we gather is for weddings and funerals--weddings being the more joyous and obviously favourable of the two. It's pretty exciting that we have many more happy celebrations to come--Roger and I are next in line to say "I do" next summer. The photos displayed below are those captured on my iPhone--not the best of quality, but I did manage to document some fun moments with my favourite people! Jennifer did a great job at showcasing her heritage throughout the rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and reception. We dined at an authentic Greek restaurant the night before the wedding... with amazing fried and flaming alcoholic goat cheese might I add... (her dad is Greek) and all the attendants donned either Tartan ties or flowers with Scottish thistles (her mom is Scottish.) There was also a bagpiper, naturally. It was a whirlwind weekend for sure, full of love and full of wine. I'm so excited for many, many more celebrations to come! image IMG_4681 IMG_4686IMG_4688 IMG_4732 IMG_4739 IMG_4745 IMG_4755 IMG_4768 We didn't get a group shot with the whole clan, but we did get this one, which sort of reminds me of the Ellen Degeneres Oscar selfie. Yep--that's all the cousins minus the bride and some of our lovers. We are a small tight-knit group 🙂 IMG_4770 And what's a wedding without CAKE? There was even a gluten-free selection, which was of course delicious. Best wishes to the happy couple! IMG_4777
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The Start of our Vacation

I write to you from the Calgary airport, incredibly sleepy from our 3:30am wakeup this morning. Roger and I are heading to Grande Prairie for the weekend as my cousin, Jennifer, is getting married tomorrow! We are now lounging in comfy chairs and trying to make the most of our layover before making the trek even further north into Alberta (aka Roger is playing Monopoly and I am reading my Kobo.) We're prepped for quite the adventure as we've both been to a lot of places in the province, but never to Grande Prairie. The best way to start your summer vacation is with something new, right? After the wedding (which I will definitely keep you in the loop about as I'm sure it will be beautiful) we are going to rent a car and drive through the mountains to beautiful Vancouver. I'm so excited--this will be my first time seeing BC. I will no longer be embarrassed talking to Americans who have seen more of Canada than I have! The nice thing about our trip is that despite having already booked our hotel stay in Vancouver, we have NO concrete plans for activities. Freedom at its finest. We'll be making overnight stops in Jasper and Kelowna. We may also add Revelstoke to the list. Our final stop is Vancouver where we'll be staying for a couple of days. Does anyone have suggestions for what we should see/do??
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