Two weeks in the Canadian Rockies
For those who know my background, it is not the first time I had the chance to spend some good time in the Canadian Rockies; aka Banff/Jasper & all.
For the others, a simply reminder that my boyfriend and I were working in Alberta for two years after school. We used to live in Fort McMurray (850km from Jasper) and I also spent a couple months in Calgary. So there are some places, such as Lake Louise, that we have been like 5 times in summer, spring & winter (we even skated on the lake). So we decided not to return, so as a lot of others places around Banff that are worth it too.
So, in this 150th anniversary of Canada (which means free Canada Park Pass) and having the chance to have friends and family in Alberta, it was the perfect timing (and not too expensive too). We had the chance to get lent car and some camping stuff (cooler, mattress, etc.) reducing some expenses.
Basically, our holidays looked like; no rest : camping, hiking (in forest & moutains) and adventure.
I do not want to made it too long, but here is a summary of our adventure.
Top 3 favorites places:
I really think I have a preference for places where we can see mountains as far as the eyes can see. I don’t really know why. It is such a feeling of intense freedom. So it seems nomal that my top 3 activities that I have had the chance to do are at a thousands of meters above sea level.
No 1 – A photo session at 2650m heigh.
It was IN-CRE-DI-BLE! A splendid couple session, two perfect lovers, at the top of Mount Terry Fox in Valemount (BC). A big plus: our ride! We took the helicoptere. We felt like being where only a few have been, as it is not a commercial summit.
It was such an experience to be able to fly above the highest peaks in Canada. We could see the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson (3954 m).
If you a re looking for a «Heli-Tour », it it so worth it.
You can as well see the result of this photography session here 😉
No 2 – Mount Whistler, AB (Jasper)
A Skytram is available at Mount Whistler. You can always hike, but the climb is quite long and it seems you never have enough time on vacation.
So we went at the opening (8am) to avoid traffic (beacuse yes there is lots of tourists in this beautiful region during the summer). We even had our breakfast at 2263m above see level (for free) at the Skytram restaurant.
Thereafter, a little hike (1.2km, moderate) allows us to reach the summits (false & true summit) where we can see the mountains to infitiny! BREATHTAKING!
NO 3 – Mount Wilcox, Ab (Colombia Icefield)
This one was a real hike. A beautiful 8km hike (round trip-moderate) that allows us to go to the top of this mountain and see the Athabasca Glacier. The view is, like the others, magnificient. Also, the scenery and vegetation that change throughout the climb are really nice. Forest, then tundra, it was really impressive.
- See family and friends we haven’t seen for 2 ans years, and being so well welcomed <3
- 2 weeks of sun and warm weather, with temperature between 25 and 33 degrees (I had such a beautiful complexion that you would think I was coming back from 2 weeks in the south) 😉
- Bathing in the cold lakes (glacier water) – my little pregnant belly really appreciated it at more then 30 degrees.
- Takakaw Fall (0.5 km) (steep climb – vehicule max 25 feet) : the 254m waterfall is simply beautiful!
- Minewonka lake – Cruise: You have the choice to rent a small craft or take the cruise. That’s what we did. It was really informative and besides, we saw a big black bear (which was actually brown) 😉
- Bow Lake Falls: the finality is worth it. It feels like Arizona arid lands when you get there (considered moderate, but easy at first and then steep).
- Peyto Lake: a little quiet hike 😉 (sarcasm) not very touristy. A 300 m height difference in only 1km.
- Moraine Lake: it is magnificient and a must. The walk to the other side of the lake is also nice and easy (3km round trip, 45 min)
- Walking at the toe of Athabasca Glacier (the bus ride is worth it too, but for $97, as we have done it in the past, we decided to skip)
- The Swiss Bakery and the Cariboo Grill in Valemount, so delicious!
- The numerous hikes that allowed us to see lakes of all shades of blue and green, falls, canyons, mountains and others.
- The opportunity to see wildlife naturally, sometimes closer then we would have wanted (when tourists do not interfere) – elks, bears, mountain marmots, deers, bald eagles , hawks, goats, big horn sheeps, birds and ducks of all kind, loons, squirrels, pikas (pikachou?), salmon (yes only 1) and so much more.
- Swim with elks (at this temperature, they were hot too!)
- If you go on a trip in tent without a plan like we did, it is better to take off in the morning and leave early for your next campground (if you wait to much in the day, it is already full).
- Visit nearby towns (less touristy); there will be fewer people, but it is as much beautiful.
- Do early visits, especially for the most popular places (it is really busy between 11am & 3pm). In addition, the clarity hours are much greater in this part of Canada, which allows you to leave very early and come back very late if you want.
- Think of always having water (some campgrounds do not have water and all of the ones visited, no shower). So you have to plan carefully.
- If you go to the glaciers, the nights are really cold, so as the glacier tours too. Bring clothing & blankets accordingly.
Lake Louise (Ab) – Banff (Ab) – Emerald Lake (BC) – Waterfowl lake (Ab) – Colombia Icefield (Ab) – Honeymoon lake (Ab) – Jasper (Ab) – Valemount (BC)
Campgrounds pricing: between $15,70 and $31 per night (without services)
We traveled nearly 3000km during our vacations, to explore the surroundings and also to go fly from and back to Edmonton/Quebec.
Thanks for the pictures my friend! (Ruby, Tamey & Matt)
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