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.

lake louise (1)

Lake Louise (2)

Lake Louise (3)

lake louise (4)

Lake Louise (5)

Lake Louise (6)

Lake Louise 2

Lake Louise

lakelouise

lakelouise1

lakelouise2

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)

morainelake

Moraine Lake

morainelake1

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!

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. 

Jasper

Elk

Jasper

Sunset in Jasper National Park

Rocky Mountains

Jasper (6) Jasper (4)

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

sunset

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

morainelake3

“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

Jasper
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.

Exploring Grotto Canyon

With the crisp winter chill in the air and impending snow on the horizon, I’ve been reminiscing about warm summer days and breezy autumn afternoons – an afternoon hike in particular. Like any well organized individual, I had a summer bucket list. Hiking was the last remaining and after my recent hike in the mountains I was finally able to cross that off the list as well (even if it is technically not summer anymore).

I tagged along with my roommate on a recent Saturday morning and after throwing on our hiking clothes and grabbing bottles of water, we took off down the highway to a spot surrounded by the mountains. Taking us just about an hour and a half to complete, this was a pretty easy hike that is also suitable for families wanting to take their children along. Parking is available at the start of the trail at Grotto Pond; washrooms available as well (after just over an hour’s drive and a lot of tea drinking on the way, this was a glorious discovery. No squatting in the bush for us that day!)

After navigating through the trees and up a few inclines, we reached the canyon. From there on out it involved a combination of hopping over the streams, going from boulder to boulder, and most of the walking is on loose stones.

grotto creek trail

Grotto Pond

Grotto Pond1

The canyon walls tower above as you make your way through. If you’re a rock or ice-climbing enthusiast, this is a popular place to do both of these depending on the season. Another unique part of this particular hike is the Indigenous pictographs that can still be seen on one of the canyon walls. Pictographs of people and animals can be clearly seen if you know where to look (a mother-daughter team pointed them out to us) and are said to be between 500-1000 years old. You can make out the images in red below, what looks like a canoe in the top photo and 3-4 people in the bottom photo.

pictograph of a canoe

pictograph of people

The end of the hike is marked by a little waterfall running down from the top of the canyon walls. You can choose to climb up the rocks near the top of the waterfall or you can just admire it from the base before turning around and making your way back the way you came. The waterfall is also a good place to take a rest and have a little picnic! However, if you want to keep going the canyon does continue on to the left. We chose to end it at the waterfall but I would definitely go back and continue on my way.

grotto falls

grotto falls1

Grotto Canyon proved to be a fun little outing on a warm autumn day and we thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and feeling so at ease after clearing our minds and connecting with nature. I would say that the only off-putting thing about this hike is that the start is located right next to the Baymag plant, which processes magnesium-carbonate. It’s not really a sight you want to be seeing when you want to be surrounded by nature and in the fresh air. All in all, this is an easy 4km hike to do, doesn’t take too much time, and has some nice views. If you plan on taking the trails during the winter months, please be aware that the canyon will be covered in a thick layer of ice and snow and it is highly recommended that you wear adequate footwear to prevent slipping.

Hike

IMG_0540