After a couple of long two days, we were all looking to sleep in… but not yet, today’s adventure gets us up early for whitewater rafting! Arely’s first white water experience!
Eager to take on the challenge of class 3 & 4 rapids, along with the thrill of a 30 foot cliff jump, this adventure did not disappoint. After checking in, listening to instructions on how not to break bones or drown, we were finally on the Bow River. The icy cold glacier water (35 degrees) did not deter us from swimming, cliff jumping, or splash battles as we traversed our way through the beautiful scenery.
After our morning adventure. We headed back to the quaint mountain town of Canmore, which was the perfect place to enjoy lunch and rejuvenate. As a perfect town just outside the entrance to Banff National Park, Canmore is booming in popularity. With peaks such as the Three Sisters, which we humorously named Beatrice, Bernadette, and Burffa, Canmore has decided to limit its growth in order to not overpopulate and keep its quaint appeal to locals and visitors.
Heading back toward our condo, we decided to explore more of the Bow River. We took a short trail down to the riverside of this never-ending river. Beginning in Calgary, this 365 mile river continues into Banff National Park, past Lake Louise and finally settling in Bow Lake. It is a vital river to Canadians, as it provides drinking water, irrigation, and hydroelectric power to nearby towns. Of course, we took the challenge of skipping rocks into the steady flow of rapids.
Each day, we were constantly on the lookout for wildlife. Signs everywhere warn of bears, and thankfully our hosts provided us with a can of bear spray. A recommended purchase, despite the $50 cost, as bear encounters are frequent for hikers this time of year. However, despite our constant search, we struggled to have any bear sightings. On this particular evening, we took a drive around the Lake Minnewanka loop, hoping to spot something… well, it wasn’t a bear, or a moose, but we did enjoy the mountain goat family eating dinner roadside.
We stopped by the falls in downtown Banff. Crazy how these are right in town!
Then we ended our evening, with a delicious stop for crepes and pancakes at Skokis.
Did we mention that Banff has crosswalks that allows the pedestrian to walk anyway they want (diagonal etc). Well Scott and Arely thought this was the best thing ever and we had to cross diagonally even though we didn’t need too!
Wednesday marks the first day of holiday that we get to ease into the day, aka sleep in!! The weather played a perfect role, chilly and rainy. After breakfast, we were off to Lake Louise, an iconic stop in Banff National Park.
We were hoping that our late start to the day would help us avoid the shuttle, and find a parking spot in the lot. The shuttle isn’t terrible, well, I guess it is. Drive to a remote spot along the highway, pay for a ticket to ride a yellow school bus, all after waiting in line longer than you would want to, to get to the same place you could just park at if it wasn’t so crowded. After a day of taking the shuttle to Moraine Lake, we were actually willing to pass on this stop if we couldn’t find a spot. Well, the late start paid off, and just as we rolled into the parking lot, someone was leaving. Jackpot!
Lake Louise is a glacier fed lake that gets its unique color from rock flour, fine-grained, silt-sized particles of rock. The mesmerizing colors of the lake are peered down on by the Fairmont’s Chateau Lake Louise. This hotel dates back to 1890, sitting perfectly along the shore, surrounded by mountain peaks.
Our first mission was to get away from the crowds! Buses of people are dropped off daily at many of these iconic places. The majority of these guests, stop for a few photos, bite to eat, and head to their next destination. We like to explore, which gets us into more remote areas, away from crowds.We decided on the trail up to the Agnes Tea House. It is a fairly well traveled trail, that has several switch backs that leads past Mirror Lake (below)
then a bit farther to Agnes Tea House. This cash only (caused us to eat less!), historic stop has been popular since 1905. The stops of the views didn’t hurt either!
The trail was a little challenging! A consistent incline of 1,500 feet!! Along with chilly rain, it made us eager to sip some hot cocoa and grab a snack at the Tea House.
Views from the walk up to the tea house……
After a little chill time, we took the time to explore a little farther into the mountain, just on the other side of Lake Agnes. We were fascinated by the idea of hiking and climbing the rocks through snow in July! Turns out, with the steepness and instability of the rocks, it was easier to keep climbing up to the next trail, rather than back down the treacherous terrain!
A much more enjoyable hike down, with drier weather, ended our time at Lake Louise. We ended going into the hotel to see if we could grab something to eat. A one in a million chance, we saw our family friend Billy with his parents walking by! Billy is the one who introduced us to Banff almost 20 years ago!! So crazy to run into him there ( he only comes up seasonally).
We ended taking in one more chill view of beautiful Lake Louise.
Had dinner at Rose & Crown, to enjoy some more poutine!
Next up: A trip to Jasper along one of the best drive’s in the world, the Icefield Parkway!