Our amazing 5 day road trip through the Canadian Rockies began in the small town of Hinton. Residing in a small Inn close to the entrance to Jasper National Park, we didn’t waste any time settling in, we set off just as soon as we had checked in (that’s a lie we ate first, because food is life.) Using a GPS to guide us we made our way to what was essentially Narnia without the grand wardrobe as its doors.
The drive down from Edmonton was a good 3 to 4 hours which left us only the afternoon for productivity. Considering our hectic wedding shenanigans and a tiring ride down we decided to begin with the Miette Hot Springs.
The drive up to the springs are just as scenic as you’d expect but if I bragged about this now I wouldn’t have anything to say about the rest of the trip. Surronded by the Fiddle Valley River the pools are tempered down so they are suitable for us to be in but still hot enough to feel nature working its magic. What’s best about this place is the 5 star hotel feel with the mountains as the window view (except without the window and in open air.) It was wonderfully relaxing, rejuvenating and the drive back to the Inn put us all to sleep.
The next day we were fresh and ready for another scenic ride around and about the mountains. The thing about the Rockies is that it’s just too vast of a place for you to travel on foot (unless you’re trained and it’s your mission) so we travelled around by car naturally stopping at the destinations of our choices. On our second day we visited the Patricia, Pyramid and Medicine Lakes.
Another thing to be noted is that the beauty of these lakes cannot really be compared to one another because they are all so very different.
We briefly visited the Maligne Canyons. Although it was a short hike it felt like something from Alice in Wonderland with its stunning waterfalls. There were quite a few of them too..
Side note: By this time I think my brothers all had mosquito bites covering their arms, I personally didn’t even know that Canada would have mosquitos but so far the journey had treated me well or as I liked to think of it I had “sour blood” which they didn’t really go for.
The next day was supposed to be a short hike around the Valley of Five Lakes. I say supposed to because, had we taken the shorter route we would’ve gotten to see all of 5 of them. As you’ve probably gathered, that didn’t happen. Instead we took the long route and the long route took even longer than the estimated time purely because we had old people in our group. So we hiked it up 10 km until we finally saw the most beautiful lake we had ever seen in our lives, (with different shades of blue as we walked down beside it -it was totally worth the walk) only to take the shortcut route on the way down and skip the remaining 4 lakes. So maybe it wasn’t the most clever thing we had done all week as tourists but in the end we got a lovely walk, some amazing pictures and a very good night’s rest.
We had wasted a lot of that day but we still had time to squeeze one more thing in, as tourists like to do, so we visited the Angel Glacier that had yet another 45mins hike with a stunning view. Here I attempted and failed at taking some creative pictures and copied billions of people before me by building a little rock tower of my own. Despite how tired we were, the walk up Mount Edith Cavell didn’t phase us at all. Our spirits were still high.
Mount Edith Cavell Walk
Now we moved over into the Banff territory where we visited the Columbian Icefield or Athabasca Glacier. We stayed in a hotel in the heart of the mountains which had a spectacular view at the breakfast table…(it’s a shame I didn’t take a picture of it.)
The Icefield on the other hand was a crazy, once in a lifetime experience. After more obvious mountainous sightseeing, we took a ride in the huge mountain trucks and drank fresh stream water from the Glacier itself. There really are no words to describe this place as it was truly something special, so a picture can only suffice but even that would not do it justice.
Athabasca Glacier (Columbian Icefield)
Then we walked the famous Skywalk – the cliché glass bridge hanging over the cliffs – which was both breathtaking and a bit boring. I was blown away by the view of the glaciers and how far high up we were but it may have been the gloomy weather that put me off and suddenly it all looked too familiar and unsurprising. It was fun for the very short time that it lasted I don’t think I would do it again unless in winter with the mountains covered in snow.
We rolled onto the next day. The last day. The most rewarding of all I would say. We visited two of the most popular lakes, Lake Moraine and Lake Louise (popular for good reason) and then we rode in gondolas that took us to the Lake Louise Summit. The pictures of these places say more about them then I would be able to but I’d say the highlight was being able to see a bear. The restaurant at the gondola site was a big cosy complete wooden structure. We sat here for snacks and to our surprise a bear could be seen in the distance. Yes ok, it was in the distance but we could see it clearly through the telescope and that was good enough for us. Finally our Canadian adventure was complete.
Although it didn’t seem like we did a lot, it definitely felt like we made the most of it and we enjoyed every second of it. Whether or not you choose the same destinations I can still assure you the journey will be well worth the trip.
Side note: Funny that as soon as the adventure ended mosquito bites suddenly appeared on my face, my hands and feet. Although I’ve experienced the pain before, it has never been this bad or this itchy. If they scar I guess they could be a memory of the Canadian Rockies? I’m definitely not enjoying it right now though. Ah how nostalgia works…