This is the last blog post in my Canadian Roadtrip series, and although it’s been over a month since we returned, I still miss the mountains, and my nostalgia has only been heightened by getting to look through all these beautiful photos all over again.
From Jasper we set off along the famous Icefields Parkway which makes for a whole day of driving and stopping basically every half an hour to see some sort of wonder or another. Probably one of the most scenic roads in the world, we stopped at many sights along the way, including Athabasca Falls, the Columbia Icefield Glacier, Mistya Canyon and the insanely photogenic Peyto Lake. It’s actually quite unusual to travel the direction we did (Jasper to Banff) so we managed to avoid much of the traffic going the other way, and we got to stop twice in “bear jams” to see wild bears by the side of the road!
Banff town was a lot busier and more touristy than Jasper, but also full of quirky coffee shops, necessary and tacky souvenir shops, as well as an awesome local distillery and bar. The Whyte Museum of the Rockies was a great place to visit on a quiet, cloudy day, as was the Cave & Basin National Site where Banff National Park all started. In the park itself, I fell in love with Lake Louise – not the overcrowded lake at the bottom, but the wonderful and secluded Lake Agnes, still frozen in early June, and its teahouse which runs on gas and makes freshly-baked cookies and hot chocolates for weary hikers.
We also took a trip to Moraine Lake where I made friends with a friendly ground squirrel, and to Lake Minnewanka where we avoided the angry bear on the surrounding trails, and stayed only briefly. Johnson Canyon Falls was a cool hike along the bottom of a raging river and to two sets of falls but again, it was very busy and touristy – very different to the quieter and more peaceful Jasper!
Overall, Banff gave us so much to see and do, and it’s amazing how quickly we became accustomed to saying ‘Not another lake. More waterfalls?” Both Jasper and Banff National Parks were absolute dreams, and there’s still so much I think we missed out on, partly because of the snow and ice which put some of our plans on hold, and partly because I don’t think you could ever get tired of exploring every inch of these beautiful and majestic places.
I can’t really put into words how happy and inspired our trip to the Canadian Rockies made me, and how much I wish every day that I could go back. So Canada: you have a piece of my heart, a big bit, and I hope to see you again someday soon.