I have a lot of respect for Canadians. My best friend is Canadian. The corner of their country I have visited – Victoria and Vancouver – was the perfect mix of beautiful, modern and quaint: a harkening back to their European roots while representing their steps into the future.
Vacationing in Canada has been more on my radar than ever before. I sheepishly must admit that, like many Americans, I think of Canada as an extension of, say, Montana. Gorgeous, rugged, undeveloped land filled with the Canadian Rockies and sparsely populated with folk who say, “eh?” Have I wanted to explore more of Canada? Sure. Have I given it much thought? eh… no.
Until my Grandma mentioned the Calgary Stampede, one of the largest rodeos in the world, “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” and definitely the largest in North America. It’s been around since 1886, and showcases not only rodeo events, but also concerts, parades, and races. It’s basically an enormous fair (and if you were wondering, it’s July 5-14th this year).
Then my Aunt Karen, an avid skier, returned from a ski trip at Lake Louise in Banff National Park (also in Alberta, Canada) with such a glowing report I couldn’t help but turn an ear. I mean, look at that lake! Not being a skier myself, I was tempted to take up the sport. But then I saw the hiking opportunities at Lake Louise (which also include Peyto Lake and Moraine Lake) which look heart-achingly beautiful. Since you’re already going to Alberta for the Calgary Stampede, why not add on a few day hike in Banff?
My travel research led me to Icefields Parkway and Athabasha Glacier (isn’t that fun to say?), also in Banff National Park. This looks like a scenic drive I’ll need to take before
global warming climate change becomes any more significant.
Apparently, however, the best hiking in the Canadian Rockies (for us novice hikers) is in Jasper National Park. It is supposedly more gentle and mild, offering approachable trails.
Excitedly, I told my friend Kat about this new vacation destination. She laughed (her delightful, bell-like laugh) and said she took a train vacation to the Canadian Rockies with her grandparents last summer. Sure enough, the Rocky Mountaineer offers breathtaking routes through the region, and provides another unique way to take in the sights.
Have you been to the Canadian Rockies? Thoughts? Must-sees?