Day 1 – Toronto to Edmonton to Canmore
So it’s finally the day to leave and daddy dropped me off at the airport. I met up with Kaipa and Kaela and it was one of the fastest check-ins I’ve had. I’m not used to travelling domestic flights (in fact, I’ve only ever travelled internationally), so travelling without a passport was an extremely weird experience for me.
We walked around the terminal, got one of the best smoked meat sandwiches ever, and got on the plane. Kaela had the aisle, I got the middle and Kaipa wanted the middle. We slept most of the way and finally landed in Edmonton. We got Booster Juice and slushies – the perfect road trip beverages – and then headed to Enterprise. After a long ass time at Enterprise, we put on my GPS and headed to Windtower Lodge & Suites.
I drove the car first and then Kaela rode shot gun. As we were driving it was really hard not to speed, or get distracted by the endless skies. We played the alphabet car sign game Kaela taught us and made a pitstop 2 hours later. I don’t think I’ve ever driven so much in my life before – but luckily it was an easy drive (not to toot my own horn but I made a great playlist).
We got to Windtower Lodge at 160 Kananaskis Way in Canmore. Canmore is the cutest little Collingwood-looking village ever! Our reservation at Crazyweed (a recommended restaurant to us) was at 7:30 so we rushed over there only to get distracted by a double rainbow.
Our dining table was right next to the mountains and train tracks and our waiter was a gorgeous French man who we did not know the name of. Most of the dinner was spent playing the name guessing game – we obviously guessed the most French names we could think of, only to find out on the bill that his name was Freddy… I had:
- pan fried thick cut pork chop – parmesan potato cake, pickled fennel, green apple, peconno, hazelnut salad, with cider dijon gravy
- white sangria
Although the meal was quite expensive it’s definitely a place I recommend – as Drake and my mom always reminds me, “you only live once!”
Day 2 – Canmore to Banff
After enjoying a super cheap, but great, breakfast at the Wandering Elk (the attached restaurant), we packed the car and headed to Lake Louise. Lake Louise has been my number 1 travel destination for the past couple of months ever since a bunch of my friends have moved out West to work. Only an hour away from Canmore, Lake Louise was the most breathtaking view I’ve ever seen in my life (you can tell by the large capital letters in my travel journal).
We spent forever taking photos at Lake Louise (how could you not). The view is super hard to take your eyes off of. It makes me sad that we can’t see the view everyday and tempts me to quit everything and move out West (too bad I love my job way too much for that – and it’s the reason I had the amazing opportunity to travel out West in the first place).
Next up, time to go to our free gondola ride up Sulfur Mountain – we have the hookups, nbd. First we went to the Banff Hot Springs but it turned out to be a really lame hot pool on the side of the mountain. I can pay $8 for a pool (actually less) in Ontario…
We took the gondola ride up the side of the mountain and the view, yet again, was gorgeous. There was an option to hike up the mountain but we didn’t want to die thank you very much – and our ride was free.
The mountain view looked like a painting. We took a 1km walk up Sulfur Mountain where we saw Asian tourists walking up in heels – this always perplexes me, WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU PUT YOURSELF THROUGH THE TORTURE, I CAN BARELY WALK IN HEELS ON FLAT GROUND.
We got up to the top and took in the view.
Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.
We were also at the very top by ourselves for a while there – so we obviously took the opportunity for selfies (the only time I wish I owned a selfie stick – they’re all the rage now… legit everywhere, and nobody ever needs us to take a photo of them anymore, which makes it awkward when we need to ask someone to take a photo of us…). After spending time at the top we needed nourishment, so obviously we got Icees.
The way back down from the gondola is kind of like a Canada’s Wonderland Ride. What I mean by that is, they make you take a ride photo and then look at it when you get down.
We headed to our hotel, Banff International Hotel, after our trip up Sulfur Mountain. We were really lucky with travel and accommodations throughout our trip – knowing people and finding Groupons definitely cut back on our costs. We also took the wrong route to Banff by accident, but ended up finding Storm Mountain, another gorgeous view where I sang a lot of Pocahontas…JUST AROUND THE RIVERBEND.
We went to the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner and Kaipa and I got convinced into ordering Fishbowl Bellinis (okay, we didn’t really need convincing…). The spaghetti was alright… but it’s about the experience right? We decided to head to Ardenes and I found a new love of scrunchies. Kaela wasn’t feeling the greatest so Kaipa and I explored downtown Banff. We had the most horrific experience at The Body Shop, but I still somehow ended up buying things anyway.
The people in Banff all speak French or have French accents – like our waiter Jeff, the sassy French-Canadian. Some also have Australian accents. It’s funny how we go to Australia (and other places) to escape and they come here. After exploring we headed back to the hotel, got tape from Safeway and started to work on our travel journals.
Day 3 – Banff to Jasper to Edmonton
Wake up, climb a mountain.
On the way to Jasper we passed by Moraine Lake and took a 1.5 hour detour. Greatest 1.5 hour detour, ever. It’s only open in the summer because it’s way up in the mountains (14km to be exact) and it’s probably super deadly to get up there in the Winter. Some people chose to hike but I’ll pass…
We climbed up the rocks to get to the gorgeous view at the top above the lake. It was super windy and I totally felt a bit like Pocahontas with all the colours of the wind in my hair (I’d also been singing a lot of Pocahontas the day before…).
We drove to Jasper after – only 2 to 3 hours or so away. We took the Icefields Parkway to Jasper and ended up passing marathon runners we learned were running from Banff to Jasper. BANFF TO JASPER. I can barely walk up the stairs at work without feeling out of breath (kidding, but you get my point). I fell asleep because the altitude was giving me a headache (to be honest, I blamed a lot on the altitude that trip so who really knows why I had a headache…) and woke up to Kaela turning the car around to see the Jasper National Park Sign.
I got to be in two places at once “A Walk To Remember” style. We took tons of photos on both sides of the sign (Banff National Park and Jasper National Park) and headed back down the Icefields Parkway. As much as we all wanted to go deep into Jasper we needed to head back to Edmonton. On the way back we ran into some rams, more runners and the most expensive gas bill I’ve ever encountered in my life (gas was at 146.8 because it was the only gas station for kms…). I then took 4.5 hours off my life and drove back to the Edmonton airport where we returned the car in 1 piece with 4 wheels (the Enterprise lady’s words, not mine) and met up with Kaela’s friend Brooklyn.
We checked into our home for the next week, the DoubleTree Hilton in Edmonton and tried to go to The Cheesecake Factory – only to learn it was actually The Cheese Factory.
I then ate approximately 9 Olive Garden mint chocolates with a side of shrimp Alfredo (they’re good okay…)
Our adventure was over and it was time to get to work.
I’m a pretty lucky girl for all of the opportunities I’ve had to travel this past year. We did a whole lot in a short period of time – I’m still recovering from sleep for the past two weeks. But I’m so glad we went out a couple days early.
I’ll sleep when I’m dead.