• Banff, Alberta, Canada •
A highly-suggested destination in Canada, Banff has so much to offer – from its snow-capped mountains for skiing and snowboarding in the winter, to its recognized, pristine blue lakes for canoeing in the spring, summer, and fall. To simply take a look, walk around, and try to embed the memory of standing in its greatness is also a fine option for all seasons.
Now that we knew our car rental was a-okay and the route was safe, our drive from Kamloops was… uneventful, but picturesque. Other than not finding the route to Emerald Lake, that our detour meant not being able to see Gorman Lake just north of Kamloops, and passing through Revelstoke and Golden without knowing the beauty they offered… Farmland, bodies of water, small towns – you name it, we probably passed by it through rain, sun, and snow.
Rerouting our trip also meant finding new lodging, and we chose to stay at Deer Lodge. It was hella expensive, more so because I lost my $200 cheap-but-no-cancellation-Expedia-promo hotel booking, which I had to cancel because of the weather.
At this point, I was feeling a little disappointed when I thought of all the points of interest I didn’t get to see because of weather, because of time. But it helped me realize:
Don’t expect too much, and you’ll be content with what is around you.
Sometimes on a trip I am torn between meeting my itinerary (which sometimes may be hectic), and “going with the flow; don’t chase after opportunities – seize them when they appear”. I usually take week-long travels and I know the feeling all too well of trying to get the most out of it, and the disappointment eating at me if I felt like I haven’t done enough. I wonder if anyone feels this way.
On a happy note, we got an upgrade on our room at Deer Lodge. The benefits of off-season adventures! There was also a hot tub on the roof, which we didn’t use because who thinks of bringing a swim suit during a time of snow and cold?
And we were also a five-minute walk to a frozen Lake Louise. Like the Joffre Lake, the area was as quiet as a padded recording room, even with people about. It would have been nice to see the amazing blue-green-aqua glacial meltwater, but that is for another time…
Cloud covered the snow-capped peaks and the iconic three mountains situated behind the lake (like found in every Lake Lou photo), but the area is full of mountains. Take your pick.
Taking highway 93, we drove to see a very touristy spot: the Columbia Icefield and the Athabasca Glacier situated between Jasper and Banff. (At least we stepped foot into Jasper!) We rode on an Ice Explorer designed specifically to go up the glacier, learned about its geology (which I instantly forgot, it was something about trees not being able to grow due to harsh winds and the glacier slowly moving its way down the mountain), and walked on an enclosed area of glacier while braving the wind, snow, and other tourists. We also went on the Glacier Skywalk, but I opted to take photos of my boyfriend because… I was too chicken.
At first I was unsure if our wheels could handle the drive on highway 93; the roads at first were snowy and full of slush. But my boyfriend reassured me like it was no big deal, and that the trip was going well so far overall. Sometimes I feel guilty that I drag him around my crazy itineraries, often to find plans altered and then me in my disappointment-acceptance state.
Luckily it was a gorgeous, sunny day with occasional snowfall. There are also many stop-overs and trails along highway 93, if open, with amazing photographic opportunities. For sure during the summer you will see many turquoise waters along this route, so if you are in the area do not limit yourself to the usual Lake Louise and Moraine Lake!
And remember, try not to be too disappointed in yourself if plans change. It’s awesome that you set your expectations high with your strategic trip planning, but don’t forget that there is always beauty wherever you go, so don’t miss out on what is around you!