canada week : the rockies

We left Calgary and our lovely friends behind, bitterly regretting not ending our holiday with them instead and the look on our boy's face told us we were not alone. But despite destination Banff being only three hours or so away, it was time to leave and thankfully the day was wonderfully warm and sunny, and pretty much immediately the scenery was very easy on the eye. We were climbing into the Rockies in no time at all and eager to see what sights lay ahead.

We knew the weather forecast for the next day wasn't great so on reaching Banff we headed straight to the famous gondola to take in the views from Sulphur Mountain before the rain set in.

{view from the top}

This little chap was already happily having tea when we arrived. I don't condone feeding wild animals but he did make for a cute photo although despite the menu, he is actually a golden mantled ground squirrel and not a chipmunk. The way to tell the difference is to check the tail - chippies hold their tail bolt upright, whereas squirrels carry theirs out straight. So now you know!

The rain and mist had already set in when we got up the following day but even so we went for a drive, stopping at viewpoints on the way ..

{Peyto Lake}

{Mistaya Canyon}

and ended up at Lake Louise. Despite the changeable weather the emerald water created by the melt-water from the nearby glaciers did not disappoint and the atmosphere was as calm as the icy cold water. We contemplated taking a canoe out but thanked our lucky stars when the heavens opened about 20 minutes later.

Seeing a queue of traffic on the freeway is a sure sign of something interesting and funnily enough our best sightings of land mammals were seen in this way. So much for expensive trips and safaris, these animals were more than happy to ignore the people gaping at them, and they carried on munching the rich berries that were right by the side of the road.


{Black Bear}

Another must in the Rockies is a stop off at the Columbia Icefield and a trip up to the Athabasca Glacier. We were taken up in a huge ice explorer with massive wheels and deep treads to grip the ice, which is just as well seeing as we went up and down North America's steepest hill, apparently! It is said that drinking water from the Glacier affords one the elixir of youth .. obviously time will tell, but it's not looking likely so far!!

And the following day as we left Banff and headed up through the mountains to Jasper, there came one of the best and most memorable spots of the holiday as we watched this beautiful grizzly bear slowing ambling along the side of the road, within only four metres of our car. Incredible!

Hotels stayed in :

incorporates 'the only water slides in the Rockies'!! Nevertheless a welcome first hotel which went down a storm with the children

Jasper: Best Western
the only one available to us but perfectly clean, helpful, loads of space and therefore not a complaint from us


  1. Looks amazing, love the colour of the lake!

  2. Looks like the sort of holiday you will remeber all your life, breathtaking views.

  3. Stunning. The bear, elk and squirrel photos are amazing. How on earth did you get so close?

  4. Wow wow wow, stunning. I am impressed you managed to get so close to the bear. I would have locked the doors and driven off at top speed.

  5. Majestic mountains, splendidly coloured calm lakes and wild glory! Fantastic images! What an adventure!

  6. I have really enjoyed your Canadian posts. Photos are absolutely stunning! We plan on taking Miss P there for a holiday but are waiting until she is a bit older so that she can appreciate it and travel better than she does now. The squirrel is so CUTE!
    I will have to show your posts to my husband. He's been on holiday to Canada twice and wishes he could live there.
    Isabelle x

  7. Wow, such a staggeringly beautiful landscape, I had no idea! I have never considered Canada a destination for me but I am revising my opinion, thank you,

    Sarah x


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