Only two days after my flight across the world to an unknown land, I embarked upon a very exciting trip to the CANADIAN ROCKIES! Prepare yourselves for an onslaught of photos of magnificent landscapes.
I went on this trip with a fellow UBC exchange student, Erica from Belgium, who I had met the day before…. but we had organised the trip through Facebook the week before. Ah, the joys of the internet!
After a 13-hour bus trip to Banff and a very deep sleep, the highlight of our first day was Sulphur Mountain. I quickly developed a love-hate relationship with this mountain. It’s extraordinarily steep and I nearly died walking up it…… but at the top was the MOST STUNNING view I had ever seen in my life. Little did I know what the rest of the week would bring…
That night we got our rental car, which involved a little drama but luckily everything worked out, drove to our Lake Louise campground and spent our first glorious night (of four) sleeping in the car. It was COLD. Note to self, next time bring extra blankets even though it’s summer..
The next day we did a massive 6-hour hike at Lake Louise to the Plain of 6 Glaciers via Lake Agnes.
This hike was full of ups and downs (geologically and mentally), rain and shine, a lot of sweating uphill climbing, but best of all – beautiful and awe-inspiring nature. The struggle is all part of the journey and there was definitely a lot of struggle but each time we reached a milestone it felt so so worth it. Pictured below is our view of Lake Agnes after walking right around it and then up a steep incline. It felt SO GOOD to reach that point. Pictured just above is us feeling triumphant after finally arriving back at the Lake after our long hike.
We then high-tailed it to Lake Moraine before we lost our motivation to move. We did a lovely short hike along the side of the lake, as pictured on the right of the picture below. At this point the post-Lake-Louise-hike endorphins were starting to drop but I told Erica to take her time as she still had muchos energy to take pics of the wonderful view!
The next day, we rose early after a delightful night of sleep in the car and drove down to Yoho National Park to explore. As seen to the right, our first stop was Takkakaw Falls…. very wet :P
We also visited the beautiful Emerald Lake as seen below and did the loop hike around the Lake. It had stopped raining by this point which was a bonus. To be quite honest, it was bringing down the mood a little!
Finally we did a short hike to the Wapta falls that day, before making our way through the Icefields Parkway to Jasper.
To the left you will see our sleeping arrangements in the Whistlers campground on our second to last night. This is basically what all four of our camping nights looked like :P
Our Jasper day turned out to be absolutely MAGNIFICENT as you can see from the panorama below! It started out cloudy and we first visited the Mt Edith Cavell and then did a hike to the Maligne canyon and back. We certainly managed to fit in a huge amount of activities into the 5 days we had… mainly thanks to Erica, adventurer extraordinaire!
Our last day consisted of the drive back through the Icefields Parkway to Banff for our overnight bus back to Vancouver. We picked up a cool hitch-hiker called Ken who came along with us as we stopped at various spots along the way. We (or me, at least) were a little worn down by this point – a long bus ride, four nights of (minimal) sleep in the front seat of a car, and a LOT of physical activity! But truth be told, by the time we got back to Banff, I did not want to leave. I REALLY did not want to leave this magical place.
NOTE FROM THE FUTURE: As fate would have it….. this would not be the only trip to the Rockies that I took to the Rockies that year! I went again in winter in December and had a White Christmas and it was incredible <3