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.
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
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
Then we travelled through the majestic Icefields Parkway where we were treated to glaciers as far as the eye could see...
... and the most turquoise and serene of waters.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Dinner and double caesars at the Village Idiot gave us a sense of the local flair in Revelstoke.
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.
The trip from Revelstoke to Vancouver was an ear-popping event as we drove up mountain ranges, through tunnels, and back down again.
To be continued...