Oh wow. Where do I even start?? Being able to visit the Canadian Rockies and spend almost a full week in the National Parks was amazing. I don’t know how many times I said “Wow…” But here is the story of how our stay in Canada.
Stephen spent most of his growing up years in Edmonton, Alberta, just a few hours from the Rockies. So, of course, throughout all the planning of our wedding and honeymoon we knew that spending some time in Canada was a must. We would fit in some visiting time with family and friends, and then spend most of our week in the amazing Rockies, with Stephen acting as our tour guide.
We also decided to make it an epic adventure by choosing to stay in a covered wagon for 4 days. Yep. That’s right. A wagon with plenty of holes and made completely out of wood and tin. That’s us. Pioneers Extraordinaire.
Our wagon included a small propane cookstove, a wooden chair, end table, trunk, and a bed. That rested on logs and planks. And a door with knotholes taken out of it. Cozy, right? 🙂 But the best part was being able to look right outside and see the mountains in our backyard. Since we wouldn’t have a way to prepare food in the wagon (plus not being there during the day to eat it) we had a full morning of cooking on Monday morning before heading out to the wagon. There were 20 meals to prepare with breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next few days, and all of it had to be stored in Ziploc bags in order to pack it all in the cooler. Meal Prep 2.0. After bagging all of our meals up, we started on the three hour drive from Calgary to Golden, where our lovely wagon awaited us.
Thanks to my wonderful in-laws, we had a trusty travel van that took us miles and miles around mountains, lakes, and everything else there is to see in Banff and the surrounding area. And a major thanks to my wonderful husband who took on all the driving duties and let me sleep in the passenger seat whenever I wanted.
Our first stop after entering the parks was Lake Louise. Where it started snowing just minutes after we arrived. IN JUNE. We were not adequately prepared for snow weather, so our trip to Lake Louise was cut short because my toes were started to get a little bit numb. 😉 But the views were incredible. Especially when the snow started coming down. 🙂
Stephen had been hinting of a surprise during the planning process of what each day would look like, and I couldn’t wait to see what he had planned. 🙂 On Tuesday evening, after spending all day in the parks, we drove through the small downtown of Banff and I tried not to read any signs so I wouldn’t give myself any clues on where we would be going. We started going up a mountain, and finally arrived at the top and stopped at the Banff Gondola. I couldn’t believe how high the gondola went. It was just a speck when it’s ascent came to an end. And we were going all the way to the top. WOW does my husband knows how to surprise me!!! We rode for a full 10 minutes up to the top of Sulphur Mountain and it was breathtaking. Not only because the wind was insanely strong, but because you felt like you were on top of the world. Yet you could still see mountains that were higher than you were. I have a million photos from the gondola trip, so you’re welcome for narrowing it down to just these 7.
This first photo is where we got off the gondola. We then followed the wooden path of stairs up to that peak you see in the center of the photo.
Finally, we decided we should probably head back down. Our destination, that small speck at the bottom of your screen. We also somehow ended up being the very last people down the mountain. As in, the door going back to the gondola was locked. So we had to ask a janitor busy doing clean up duty to open the door for us, but instead he lead us out the emergency exit. #rebels Our car was the last one in the parking lot. 😉
And of course, we had to get a silly photo as we rode down the gondola. #lifewithcaitlin
Over the next few days, we visited Johnston Canyon, the Columbian Icefields, Wapta Falls, and so many other places. It was amazing how many gorgeous places there were just on the side of the road. Mountains towered over us wherever we went. Icy blue waters rushed underneath us and beside us. Calm cerulean waters rested among tall reaching pine trees. It was amazing.
We also saw a bear and pulled over to watch it for a while, but it wasn’t as nice as the elk, and didn’t give us a good photo. The bighorn sheep were more than happy to oblige, and Stephen almost had one stick it’s face in the open van window!
One of our hikes took us high enough that we were passing snow patches. I, of course, was so excited to see snow. We passed a good sized patch on the way up, and on our way back down, I looked at it again. There were tracks in the snow, so I leaned closer. It looked like a dog, and I started to feel slightly gipped. Then I looked closer and I noticed that there were claw points at the end of each toe. Annnnd we weren’t positive that they were there on our trek up the mountain. So we’re just going to say that we had a near encounter with a cougar. It makes a better story, right?? 😉
I’ve jokingly said that I’m so glad I married into Canada. But it’s so true. I met so many amazing people that were a part of Stephen’s life, experienced new things, have a new appreciation for indoor plumbing, 😉 and can not wait to go back.
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