It’s amazing how a few photos can inspire travel. I’m guilty of having that Pinterest board that contains dozens of Pins of places I want to go – yet at what point does the dream become a reality for many of these destinations?
In the case of Banff – in virtually no time, when you’ve got a sister hell bent on going and a locale that is actually easily accessible. I hadn’t even heard of Banff National Park (or even ventured into Canada for that matter!) until Rachie sent a draw-droppingly beautiful snap of one its lakes. Not only did Banff immediately go onto the Pinterest board, but thanks to her persistence, it also landed on this year’s travel itinerary. It didn’t take her long to assemble our crew:
Technically, this is an international trip (cue the usual travel snafus), but one of the easiest kind – Calgary is just a three hour flight from Phoenix or Chicago, Banff is an hour and a half further, and you can absolutely get much of your to-do/must-see list done in a long weekend. Everyone speaks English, they drive automatic cars on the right side of the road, and they accept American dollars. Easy, easy.
The only thing that threw us for a loop was the weather. Our dose of Canadian fresh air came with unseasonably cold temps and heavy fog, which transformed every one of those gorgeous views we had been craving for months into a big white canvas. ZERO views to be had. Good thing Canadians make the BEST Bloody Mary’s to help put a positive spin on things. Called Caesars, they’re made with vodka and Clamato, which is a blend of tomato juice and clam broth. They’re lighter, tangier and unquestionably put Canada ahead in the midday drinks department.
Afternoon rain gave way to a magical, Christmas-like snowy scene in town that evening, and after an eventful night out, we awoke the next morning to clearer skies.
There are those Canadian Rockies! Rachie was intent on getting to Moraine Lake early to take in the views while weather permitted… and that she did:
Incredible, right?! I managed to booty-scoot across the logs that formed a VERY unsteady bridge to a smaller mountain/lookout point and hoist myself onto the rocks there to get as best a view as I could… in spite of the broken foot and clunker of a walking boot I had to don for the trip. The girls climbed higher to get even more picturesque shots… I sulked below but did manage to keep myself – and my camera – occupied on the dock and nearby trails.
For truly turquoise water, our next stop, Lake Louise, was where it was at. The color of the water is created by the glaciers at the head of the valley, and supposedly, when the suns shines on it you get the most intense hues. We didn’t get tons of sun on our trip, but the water was breathtaking nonetheless…
(Some of those shots were actually from the first day. The rain and fog plus the water made for quite the cool scene.)
One of our last stops was Johnston Canyon. This was an easy, one hour stroll that to me, felt the most surreal of anything we’d done. At times I felt like we were at a man-made exhibit, since the canyon is narrow and made it feel like we were indoors, and we traveled via raised catwalks above the waterfalls and running water beneath us.
See what the trees were made of?! Fluffy, thread-like fibers.
Thinking back to our very first hike that afforded us no views… I HAD to give it another go given the clearer skies.
Bingo. One side showcased our hotel (the Fairmont); the other side looked over a golf course nestled in the mountains. Well worth the huffing and puffing from running up the trail to beat the eminent rain.
Thank you to my sissy for getting us all together for such an incredible trip. Loved each and every moment with you gals. <3 [otw_shortcode_button href="/travel" size="medium" icon_position="left" shape="radius" color_class="otw-aqua"]More of Our Travel[/otw_shortcode_button]