A Visual Journey Through the Rocky Mountains, Part 2

Last we spoke, I left you snuggled around a campfire with the wine glasses clinking. After a night laughing with family, we set off for my favorite adventure: Lake Louise. I can’t believe it’s taken me 24 years to get here but I already can’t wait to go back next summer – this time to hike to the teahouses. I don’t think there’s any better motivation for a sweaty hike than ending it with an unbelievable view and a nice cup of tea. This time we settled for a leisurely stroll around the lake while I went crazy on the photos.

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Lake Louise

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I think I did an ok job of getting a photo at every possible angle, except for from above, don’t you think? We had the most crystal clear, sunshine filled day – I couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon! But the adventure doesn’t stop there.

Just down the road from Lake Louise is yet another gorgeous stop-off point. Moraine Lake, though it doesn’t have the same turquoise waters as Lake Louise, sparkles brilliantly in the sun. Better yet, if you’re just itching to get up close and personal with the shimmering water, you can rent out a canoe for a paddle around the lake!

Moraine Lake (2)

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Moraine Lake

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The rest of our time was spent in good company, fits of laughter and warming up on the cool summer evenings by a campfire.

Have you visited the Rockies? What did you think?

For a more detailed itinerary, click here!

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A Visual Journey Through the Rocky Mountains, Part 1

If you’ve never been to Canada or don’t know much about the country then all of your knowledge might just come from the typical Canadian stereotypes. That we ride polar bears to work, that we have a pet moose in our backyard, that we live in Igloos and have an unstoppable need to apologize – even when we’ve done nothing wrong. While some of these are true (can you figure out which 3 are lies and which one is true?), Canada is a lot more than it’s stereotypes and a lot more than the East and West Coast that most travelers head to. Some of the most exceptional scenery and activity packed locations is Canada’s Rocky Mountains, located in the Southern part of Alberta.

We may be a prairie province with wheat fields as far as you can see but we also have hours upon hours of mountainous terrain – perfect for a road trip with family or friends. You can drive from Jasper National Park to Banff National Park (or the other way around!) and have breathtaking views at every turn, plenty of break spots and tourist points to take some of the very best pictures and partake in tons of activities from horseback riding and hiking to whitewater rafting or bungee jumping.

Whether you’re a summer sun-seeker or a winter nut searching for some of the best powder on the slopes the Rockies are perfect all year round. This summer we took a family road trip where we made our way from Jasper to Banff, camping out along the way and exploring some of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen.

We began our journey on the road, mountains on either side and passing by herds of elk and mountain goats. We had our fun of exploring Jasper town and checking out the trails through the wooded forest near our campsite. 

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Sunset in Jasper National Park

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By the second day we were suited up in our wetsuits and willingly let ourselves be taken by the river, propped up in raft. If you haven’t tried whitewater rafting, I highly recommend it! Be prepared to be drenched in ice cold mountain water – especially if you’ve been volunteered to sit right up in front! My cousin and I may have swallowed half of the river that afternoon.

If you took the icy plunge, as we did, follow our lead and go directly to Miette Hot Springs. Lucky for us, we were camping just up the road from the hot springs and got there just as the sun was setting, dipping into the hot water to thaw our chilled bones.

Jasper National Park sunset

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After having our fill, we headed on to our first stop: Athabasca Falls.

Athabasca Falls

Athabasca Falls

And took our next stop along the Icefields Parkway, where I went snap happy and landed my favorite shot of the trip:

Icefields Parkway

Before long we had arrived in Banff National Park, setting up camp just outside of town and cozying up to a fire and some well deserved glasses of wine.

 

For a more detailed itinerary, click here and stay tuned for the rest of this adventure!

Sunday Snapshot: Moraine Lake

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“Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in awhile
and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.
Wash your spirit clean.”
– John Muir

And so we did. Break clear away, I mean. Spending a week in the mountains. We took the car from Jasper to Banff, making stops at some of the world’s most beautiful lakes along the way. This one here, Moraine Lake, boasts sparkling blue water surrounded by Alberta’s Rocky Mountains and canoe rentals to go take a paddle if you just can’t help but get closer.

Sunday Snapshot: The Icefields Parkway, Alberta

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This photo, taken along the Icefield Parkway between the Rocky Mountain towns of Jasper and Banff, AB is just one of the jaw-dropping views along this stretch of mountain highway. Looking up to the center of the photo, you can see one of the Rocky Mountain’s glaciers that supply all the surrounding lakes and rivers with pure glacier water. You can fill up your water bottle for a taste of some of the purest water in the world.

The Rasta in the Mountain

The palm trail was a straight forward hike, no more than an hour, or so they said. That hour came and went  when we came to the conclusion that we definitely missed the trail – this shrub and dirt covered mountainside surely could not have been the right way. Just as we were about to admit defeat, a head popped out from further above. A Rasta man holding a machete was hollering something at us but with distance and difficulty understanding his accent, we were unsure what he was saying.

After some yelling back and forth over the sound of the wind, it became clear. He was informing us that we’d gone the wrong way and to come directly up the mountain. It was a daunting task with cliff and sea beneath us, nothing but loose dirt, trees and shrubs all the way up. With a look of determination, we began. Clawing our fingers into the dirt in a feeble attempt to help us push ourselves further up, we scrambled up the side of the mountain.

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With words of encouragement from the Rasta man, we made it up to where he was standing and he welcomed us into his farmer’s shack. High up on the mountainside, it was a basic shelter made from tin with a cook stove that he used to  roast  breadfruit and fish over open coals and wooden boards as makeshift beds. The views overlooked the Caribbean Sea and the surrounding mountains – easily the best view I got in St. Vincent.

We chatted with him about his life as a farmer, his love for the island and how he had built this shelter for his wife, who loved to sleep in the mountains he said. After sharing our wax apples with him and his breadfruit with us, he pointed us in the right direction, offering us a hand up the last bit of the mountain. We might have had scratches all over our legs and dirt in places that dirt shouldn’t be, but we made it to the mountaintop.

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Although we got lost again, not long afterwards, this story is an example of my favorite part of traveling. Taking a wrong turn can lead to something even more beautiful, a great adventure and the opportunity to meet generous, kindhearted people. The same people that everyone warns you not to hike the mountains alone because of can turn out to be the kindest you encounter.