Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Oh Canada! Oh Canada!


 I have to say this was one of my favorite trips of all time...  It was a time to get away and totally disconnect from cell phones, TVs and computers.  A wonderful time to just "be". 

We flew into Calgary and rented a car... 75% of the rental cars we saw in Canada were PT Cruisers... interesting but true.  Gangsta!  We found a liquor store and bought a few bottles of wine to take to our cabin.  Interesting that a bottle of cheap Yellow Tail wine was double what we pay in the states... It was over $12 a bottle.  Canada uses the money they make on the wine/beer/liquor to pay for their citizens health insurance...wow interesting concept.  We proceeded up the Trans Canadian Highway into Banff National Park. 
A quaint little town named Canmore is where we choose to stop for lunch.  This town was adorable..a bit of an artist town.  Streets lined with shops and art gallery's and many patio style eatery's.  A street fair and art in the park was going on the day we were there...made for some great people watching as we ate at THE GRIZZLY PAW BREWING CO!  Rarrrrr!  Great variety of beer and a great beer tasting menu.  This aways makes the men so happy... for me a Vodka!  Edward's favorite was the Nut Brown Beer. 

 Moraine Lake Lodge...
A Romantic, Secluded, Magical Mountain Getaway!

A view from our cabin!

Moraine Lake Lodge is a cabin system - We had cabin #9!  It was perfect!  It was just a small stroll from the main lodge and it was set back in the trees with the view above.  Floor to ceiling windows, a king bed, a wood burning fireplace and a small deck made this cabin absolutely amazing.  The lodge supplies you with everything you need to make fires from dawn till dusk... Every evening we would fall asleep to the crackling pops of wood and every morning I would awake to my sweet hubby making a morning fire. 
From the front steps of the cabins you can take off for some amazing hikes... Our first night there we just explored Moraine Lake...there was a nice trail around the lake and a towering 10 peaks as your backdrop. .75 miles each way with a platform overlooking a glacier water stream that feeds Moraine Lake. AMAZING!


 Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

A little German Pub on the golf course at the Fairmont - Great place to grab a few drinks and some sunny rays!

Banff is a cute town... but it is very much a touristy town.  Typical things like souvenirr shops and bars line the streets.  Great place to stop in for an afternoon.  Canada has so much to offer and Banff National Park is full of fun if you just dare to venture out.  We just took off in our car one day and found a lot of special memories along the way.  We came upon Natural Bridge and the Canada's 2nd largest/tallest waterfall - Takkakaw Falls...just because we got out of town!  YoHo National Park...

 Emerald Lake... A Hidden Gem!  Emerald lake is worth a visit or a stay... Emerald Lake Lodge is on this lake.  A place we are sure to stay in the future! Pictures don't do this place justice....just like Moraine Lake.  I never knew places like this existed till my trip here.  Quintessential nature and God's amazing creations. 

The Rockpile at Moraine Lake...
After our day of exploring we headed back to our lodge for dinner.  Before dinner we made one last hike to the "Rockpile".  A short walk/hike in return for these amazing views... speechless!

A view from the Rockpile of Moraine Lake Lodge.....

Oh a Hiking We Will Go!
Larch Valley
This was a steep and long climb to the top with 10 switchbacks leading into the valley.  We started off with many layers of clothing and as we hiked and our bodies warmed we shed them.  Then they were back on again.  This hike was like walking into Narnia.  We started in sunny cold weather and hiked into snowflakes and ultimately into frigid pelting ice storms... It was like walking through the seasons.  I have never experienced anything quite like it!  We climbed over 2000 ft in elevation and hiked 3.7 miles to the top.  The highest point you can climb on a marked path in Banff National Park. 

Off For Another Hike....
Lake Agnes Tea House
This tea house that was build in 1901 sits high up in the mountains and is only accessible by hikers.  It is a great place to stop for a cup of coffee or coco as you take a break from the hiking.  There is no other way to this place besides hiking to it.  Everything sold up there has to be brought up by the employees on their hikes into work.  Also all trash has to be hauled down each day.... Makes for a limited menu but a very special place.  It's worth the hike of 3.4km. 

Some of my favorite things from our Canadian Getaway:
Canadian Wild Flowers
The smell of wood burning in our fireplace
Oodles of covers to keep you warm in the cold nights
Sleeping with the doors open
Clean Mountain Air
Cold Yummy Water straight from the faucet
No power lines at our Lodge - pure and clean!
Blue water lakes - rock flour!
Random Mountain Streams and Waterfalls
Hiking through the seasons
Northface Fleeces
Trading in high heels for Uggs
Being the first set of footprints in fresh snow in Sentinel Pass