Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Canadian Rockies + Glacier of USA Adventure Trip of a Lifetime

Brief Itinerary ( more details of each National Park and of each place later ):

Flew to Calgary International Airport ( YYC ). Sorry, no picture of the city (we are city snobs ), as we always prefer to spend our time in National Parks for very obvious reason, NATIONAL PARKS ARE CALMING TO THE SOUL AND HEALING TO THE SPIRIT.

From Calgary, we drove to Waterton National Park, where we stayed for 2 nights for Waterton Glacier International Peace Park exploring.

Days 1- 3: Waterton Glacier International Peace Park
Waterton Glacier International Peace Park is the name of the union of two neighboring National Parks, one in Canada ( Waterton National Park) and the other one in USA ( Glacier National Park). Waterton and Glacier are not only 2 National Parks and a Peace Park, but also a UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve. Aside from amazing scenery and sights so relaxing and calming, we enjoyed so much the wildlife in these 2 National Parks of 2 different countries.

Waterton Lake with Prince of Wales Hotel in the background, Waterton National Park, AB, Canada

approaching Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park, MT, USA
Our home in Waterton Glacier International Peace Park is Waterton Lakes Lodge Resort.
home for 3 days @ Waterton Glacier International Peace Park
The border crossing between these 2 National Parks do not involve a long line of cars, it's very quiet and peaceful, Peace Park indeed.

Days 4- 5 @ Golden, which sits right at the center of 4 Canadian Rockies National Parks. These are: Kootenay, Yoho, Glacier and Mt. Revelstoke National Parks. 

On our way to Golden, BC, Canada which would be our home for 3 days, we explored Kootenay National Parks and Yoho National Parks.
waterfall @ Marble Canyon, Kootenay National Park, BC, Canada

This two National Parks are right next to each other. The hikes and sightseeing on this trip made the drive feel short and very enjoyable. 
Emerald Lake @ Yoho National Park, BC, Canada

home for 2 days at Golden, the view outside our room reminds us to be always "bear aware"

We were lucky in a way, we missed the wildfire that hit Banff and Jasper National Parks. While we were in Kootenay and Yoho National Parks, we saw the very thick haze and smoke coming from the area of Banff and Jasper. There were road signs of TRAFFIC DELAYS AND ROAD CLOSURES on Columbia Icefield Parkway. We were discussing about what we need to do if in case we could not cross to Jasper. We could not cancel our hotel reservations in Jasper because it's already too late. We also could not book for hotels in the Golden Triangle area because all hotels were fully booked, July being the peak visitation for Canadian Rockies. We believed, "RAIN WOULD SOLVE THE PROBLEM!" Thanks be to God for answered prayers! Rain poured heavily on day 5, which paved the way for our fun exploration of Banff and Jasper National Parks. 

Despite the heavy rain on day 5, we still explored Mt. Revelstoke National Park and Glacier National Park of Canada, both west of Golden. 
the town of Revelstoke from Meadows in The Sky Parkway, Mt. Revelstoke National Park

Our supposed to be itinerary for that day was hiking to Glacier Crest in Glacier National Park, but we were discouraged by park ranger to hike Glacier Crest Trail due to difficult and steep icy crossing in heavy rain. We followed instead the park ranger's recommendation of doing easy sightseeing hikes in Mt. Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks. Because of rain, though we hiked, but we did not take pictures. 

Day 6, morning, we went back to Emerald Lake area of Yoho National Park before finally saying goodbye to the beautiful Yoho. On our way to Jasper National Park, we were not sure if the wildfire was 100% put off by the heavy rain, but we were praying no more wildfire. Thankfully, the rain did put off the fire. We were able to enjoy the Columbia Icefield Parkway free from wildfire haze and smoke, we did not encounter any traffic delays nor road closures, just wildlife sighting while on the road. :) When we got to our hotel, we were welcomed by the sight of rainbow.
we were welcomed by rainbow at our temporary home in Jasper National Park
Days 6- 7: It's all about Jasper National Park, AB, Canada.
Glacial Pond at Mt. Edith Cavell, Jasper National Park, AB, Canada
( we were drenched by heavy rain here too, but no heavy rain could stop us from exploring. there's no bad weather when you have appropriate clothing )

We stayed for 2 nights in Jasper. Days 6- 7 was focused more on exploring Jasper National Park.

Day 8, we left Jasper for Banff National Park via Icefield Parkway. 
Hubby @ Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, AB, Canada

We stayed at Lake Louise for 2 nights, for Banff National Park exploring.
our temporary home at Lake Louise Village, Banff National Park
(very obviously, we were one of the few who leaves the hotel late of the day, haha! people here leaves very early for wandering, I tell ya!! But this was the last day of our 10-days trip when I took the picture, and there's no reason for us to hurry anymore, hehe)

Days 8, 9 and Day 10, was all about Banff National Park. We hiked the Plain of  6 Glaciers Trail at Lake Louise and took several short sightseeing hikes at Moraine Lake, Johnston Canyon and around Banff.

Our trip concluded with a drive to Calgary International Airport from Banff National Park. Though sad vacation has to end, but actually also happy we would be going back home since we miss the comforts of home, such as vegetables and vegetables for me. 10 days vacation was long, not in terms of physical endurance, but in terms of food! We do miss home cooked food so much, in short we missed healthy foods, which are very hard to find during vacation.

I did dream about swimming with the fishes while being in the Rockies. I guess, not even 8 amazing National Parks could take me away from the ocean, riding its powerful waves and swimming with the fishes. Canadian Rockies + Glacier of USA provided us with a very good vacation though. We had so much fun, took so much inspiration and rejuvenating energy from the mountains, and the places we explored will continue to feed our dreams beautifully. 

Anyway, each one of us picked a favorite in our Canadian Rockies adventure, and here are our choices:

glacial pond at Mt. Edit Cavell
Hubby's Reason? So otherworldly and mind boggling landscape.

4 of us (hubby, hubby's niece, brother in law, me ) at Columbia Icefield
Hubby's niece reason? FUN hiking on top of an icefield, more specifically, the Athabasca Glacier which is part of the Columbia Icefield. 

Bow Lake from Bow Glacier Falls Trail

Our Reason? This trail has it all! So wonderfully calm lake, waterfall, glacier and amazing rock formations!

Which was our pick for the most scenic hike? Hidden Lake at Glacier National Park of USA ( 3 votes for this one).
pictures from Hidden Lake Trail, Glacier National Park, MT, USA
Though this is a trip of a lot of misses, such as we missed hiking Grinell Glacier Trail in Glacier National Park of USA, and Glacier Crest Trail of Glacier National Park of Canada, both due to steep ice and snow crossing ( trail in Glacier of USA was closed the last 1.5 mile, and trail in Glacier of Canada we were highly discouraged by park ranger due to heavy rain on steep ice and snow ascent). But the misses opened up to us a lot more beautiful adventure in the Rockies. 

Here is the screenshot of our Canadian Rockies + Glacier of USA adventure route. 1 International Airport ( Calgary International Airport ), 8 National Parks, 4 different hotels ( 2- 3 nights each mostly), 10 days of adventure in the Canadian Rockies + Glacier of USA.

Our rental car was a Volkswagen Jetta, which we were surprised to learn that it has room space almost like a SUV. We were able to fit in the trunk 2 medium sized luggage, 3 carry on luggage, backpacks, FOOD AND WATER.

More details in each places and of the hikes we explored in my later posts. 
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  1. sis Betchai, this is amazing, i have learned so many things that I've never been through because of your blog your nature of blogs and the way you share it with us. keep it coming.

  2. What can I say, top nature.


  3. Waterton Lake was so clear it looks like you're just looking at a mirror! Great places you've been Betchai. I love looking at your pictures. Makes me really believe we do have an amazing God who created all this beauty!

  4. Wow Ate ikaw na talaga ang queen of trekkers! This looks like a paradise!

  5. Those are captivating woks of Nature. Gosh, God is truly magnificent for He had made a masterpiece of Earth.

  6. You go to such great paces. I just love the picture with the bridge.

  7. Wow! look at how beautiful Canada is and the mountains too. I bet you had a blast exploring Canada Sis :-) It is very cold there especially in the winter but breath taking view :-)

  8. Too much blue! It's perfect! Nature at it's best!

  9. You have visited awesome places that are the envy of adventure junkies. I wish I could visit one or more of those beautiful sites you mentioned.

  10. What an amazing vacation! This is something my husband would love. I would too but I'm not sure if I'm fit enough to do at least 8 different hikes. Imagine 8 National Parks?! All your photos are magnificent even the wildflowers are in abundance.

    1. I believe you're fit enough Karen, I saw you do marathon, usually, what we found out, our endurance grows stronger each day during the trip. Only that what we found out in this trip, 10 days is too long, not because of strenuous physical activities, but 10 days of not having our regular foods ( we are more into fruits and lots of vegetables) feels sickening. We usually can't stand restaurant foods for long.

  11. Wow!!!! These pics tell so many stories. You sure look like you had one grand time! Medyo parusa itinerary ninyo. That must have been tough. You were mostly on the go. But for as long as you had fun, it's all worth it :-)

    1. thanks, J, we had so much fun and never had enough of nature's wonders, so it was far from being a "parusa" nor tough at all. We felt blessed for having the health to explore our world, but actually, we found that the best therapy to daily tolls of work is exercise, and exercise + nature = healing and rejuvenating. Hubby's work is very mentally stressful, thus he is into physical activity everyday ( swimming, tennis, hiking, etc) after work. I kind of followed his lead, and realized that indeed, exercising is very liberating and empowering. We actually feel weaker and sick if we simply stay at home, or stay in hotel when in vacation. Our kind of vacation is always adventure in nature, which is the very reason that inspires us to stay on top of our health, so we could continue exploring. The hikes and exploring are actually very energizing for us, I know, only hikers and those who involve in physical activities probably would be able to relate. Even at home, we continue to take care of our physical fitness, daily, either in the gym or in nature ( weekend hikes/ surfing). We get restless if we simply sit around with so much amazing beauty from nature to explore, both at home and during vacation. We always get at least 8 hours of sleep everyday ( more importantly on vacation ), to allow us to energize in nature and be relieved from all daily tolls of work. Nature wandering is our spiritual and physical healing.

  12. i always love your photos taken as always! breathaking...i always wish to see in real life the glacier...this wonder of the world always amaze me..lalo na yung mga stalagmites and stalactites..

  13. The emerald lake looks so calming. Awww...I wish I could be there...

  14. Who and how are we without a camera?

    Have camera will travel.

  15. Wow! My father-in-law visited this last year, he did the bike trip last year and that was his dreamt and wants to accomplished with his new bike( all of us were shocked he bought new bike for that trip considering he has 2 bikes already but he wants his new bike in that trip from Michigan, Montana, Canadian Rockies,Alaska and etc ). I seen some of FIL's photos and it's amazing and so your photos, Betchai. I am dreaming now and I would definitely keep in mind this itinerary and showed to hubby so he has no reason we can't go since yours is more realistic for us.

  16. Wow! I feel like nakapunta na rin ako dyan through your pics Ate! It's so beautiful! <3

    You are very blessed to witness this beauty of nature.

  17. OMG! What beautiful sights, Te Betchai! I can tell you've had a fabulous time! Your favorite is my fave too! I admire your physical stamina in hurdling through the tedious itinerary. Thanks for sharing all these beauties with us.