The idea for the trip was born when Anna took a job in middle-of-nowhere-Alberta for two years. We missed her terribly and in order to make it bearable, the four of us planned on doing a trip out West. Then Cooper happened. The trip was postponed but the idea still stayed with us. "Maybe next Summer," we thought. And then Jilly happened.
Anna's two years in Wetaskiwin were coming to an end and we knew it was now or never. The plan: pick a date, find a babysitter for the kids, book a condo, and explore the world together. Our weekend started on Thursday night when we left the kids with their Nana and Grandpa in Carleton Place. An early night, an even earlier rise, and before we knew it we were watching the sun come up from the plane window.
Sometimes there are perks to being 6'10"...and today it was getting bumped to first class :) Free food and all the legroom we could ever want.
Kev and Anna met us at the Calgary airport and we headed straight for the mountains. Because of the time difference it was only 8:30am; we had the whole day ahead of us <3
We stopped at the first highway lookout we saw :)
Breakfast in Canmore at a little place called The Wood. Everyone was on different food schedules so we evened it out before heading out on our first hike.
We met up with Danielle while we were in Banff. She met us for a sushi dinner before we hit the liquor store to stock the condo.
The rest of the night was so relaxing -- sporcle quizzes, Heads Up, wine, and Somersby. Ry and I are early risers now, so at 6:00am we were up and ready to start our day. We did a little walk around Canmore and Ry did a spot of work on the balcony.
Our first of two breakfasts at the Summit Cafe.
Saturday was Lake Louise day! I took a bunch of photos because everywhere I looked was absolutely stunning.
Originally we were going to do the moderate hike up to the tea house, but the snow on the path was making me anxious. I'm so terrified of ice and the idea of walking DOWN this slippery slope was not fun. We decided to take the 5.5km walk around the entire lake, and I am so glad we did.
Ry and Kevin went right down to the water while Anna and I just enjoyed the view. They brought some of the icy crystals back so we could look at them.
Lunch at the Mountain Restaurant in Lake Louise Village.
After lunch we took an hour long drive along the Icefields Parkway. It was the most beautiful drive and it really gave us a sense of the sheer number of mountains that we've been enjoying all weekend.
Our late lunch kinda threw off our dinner plans, so we ended up eating gummy bears and chocolate covered almonds around 9:00pm while we played euchre and more Heads Up.
The original plan for Sunday was for Anna and I to drop the boys at the mouth of the Sulphur mountain hike while we hit up the Banff Hot Springs pool. For some reason there was a wooden sign on the train entrance that said it was closed. We saw people ignoring the sign and hiking anyway, but the boys didn't want to risk the fine. We decided to do the hot springs as a group of four now, and Anna and I were happy to have the company :)
Now that we'd be doing the gondola all together, Anna and I went up to the desk to get two more tickets. Ry asked the lady if the trail was actually closed and she just brushed it off like, "nahhh, that's just Environment Canada's sign, no big deal." The guys had a 10 second discussion and decided to hike up Sulphur at the last minute, instead of riding the gondola with us. It was perfect -- Anna and I could still ride and the boys could complete their last hike for the weekend.
We yelled their names out the window of the gondola thinking they might be able to hear us, but in an amazing streak of luck, Anna actually spotted them on the trail right below us! We were so excited :) Little did we know they were having the most physically challenging experience of their lives. Without water. Oh yeah, without WATER. Anna reminds me of Kevin saying, "I had a big sip before we left, I'll be fine."
At the top of the gondola, Anna and I enjoyed the views. We started walking along the boardwalk towards the observation area, and hoped the boys would have the strength to take about a few hundred more steps once they got to the top.
Yeah, they were pretty exhausted.
After an apple, a handful of glossette raisins, and the last sip of a Starbucks berry refresher, the boys rallied and we finished the walk to the observation area.
One last view before our final lunch on a patio on Banff Ave. We soaked it all in <3
It was such an amazing trip <3 We love Kevin and Anna SO much and were so happy to spend our days and our nights with them. Finding another couple who has a similar travel style to yours is a rare gift, so we're holding on tight! Also getting to see Danielle was lovely, especially in her element. She acted as our tour guide, naming the mountains and telling us how long it would take to hike each one.
I asked everyone to take videos on their phones (just short 5-10 second clips). I pieced them all together and made this, and I think it's the perfect way to end this post <3