Monday, 3 July 2017

Celebrating Canada

Happy Birthday Canada!  

We spent Canada's 150th birthday preparing to fly home after a fantastic holiday.  For those of you on Instagram, I posted a few pics. 
Taking advantage of the federal liberal government's generous officer of free park passes, we headed to Alberta. Each province within Canada offers something very unique and Alberta is no exception. 
We flew into Calgary, rented a car, bought bear spray, just in case, and drove through the mountains. What a sight. 

We settled in Canmore, home for the next 6 nights and went to a local pub for dinner.
Number one on our list of adventures, Banff. Who hasn't heard of Banff Springs Hotel. Beginning our day trips, snow covered mountain peaks gave us a spectacular sight around every curve. Nestled within the mountains, at an elevation of 1414 metres or 4500 feet, just outside the town, Banff Springs opened to the public in 1888 as a Canadian railway hotel in Canada's first National Park. 

Leaving the town of Banff, we headed toward the famous Lake Louise. On route, we saw a sign indicating a gondola to the right. Lake Louise to the left. We headed left only to discover it was swarming with tourists, just like us. Signs instructed us to park at overflow parking  and get shuttled in. A smart idea, if you like crowded areas. Not today, thanks. So instead we headed down the hill, turned and steered toward Lake Moraine.

Lake Moraine is 1884 metres above sea level and the view is spectacular. Wow. Simply wow. I've never seen turquoise, emerald, I called it teal lake water. Glacier fed, beautiful doesn't begin to describe it. If my shoulder had been in better shape, we would have rented canoes and gone onto the lake. But I can't guarantee I can paddle, yet, so we hiked around the lake instead. Serene, a touch of heaven, we took our time and let it soak in. 
Not ready to head home, you guessed it, we headed for the Gondola. After an ice-cream bar, we walked to the lift. The gondola was part of the ski lift so of course we opted for the open lift and up up up we went to the top of the world. A photographer's  paradise. We had dinner in Banff and headed back to Canmore for some sleep. 

Catherine, our travelling companion read about a wonderful walking trail so we packed a picnic lunch and headed to Johnston Canyon on Sunday. The parking lots were full, making it a long hike to go for a hike. About to give up, I insisted on one more drive around to look for a spot. As luck would have it, a family were finishing their walk. We waited for them to load their car and slid into their parking spot before heading to the canyon. 
Once again we were treated to that glorious glacier fed coloured water. The highlight of the canyon is the waterfall. The catwalk takes hikers over the gorge where the mist from the falls rewards you for your effort. A warm day, we appreciated that cool mist tickling our skin.


Driving back along the two lane road, I spotted something dark by the ditch. Focusing in, I identified a black bear on all fours, nibbling on something. I called out 'bear. there's a bear.', startling both Catherine and my husband. Of course my camera wasn't in my hand, ready to snap away. That would have been too convenient. With too many cars on the winding road, we couldn't stop, but we saw it. 

Did you know there's a water fall higher than Niagara Falls in Canada? Tune in next month to find out where it's located as this Canadian celebrated Canada's 150th birthday in style.