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The Canadian Rockies Do Not Disappoint - Part 2


View 2018 on mrb430's travel map.

For Part 1, check out https://arrrblog.travellerspoint.com/61/.

After leaving Canmore, we relocated to a chalet halfway between Field and Golden, British Columbia, in Yoho National Park. We were steps from the beautiful Kicking Horse River.
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The best part? We finally had a fire pit again! We had our first outdoor fires since Apalachicola! Of course S'mores were in order.
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This was our launching point for Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and trail adventures. The road to Golden is one of the most beautiful we drove along and definitely worth a detour if you are ever in the area. Glaciers, jagged peaks, high passes, winding mountain roads, railroad tunnels through the mountains, and the extra-wide Kicking Horse River valley where the river branches constantly creating a flat basin. Not to mention lakes and waterfalls.
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Spiral Tunnel Mountain

Lake Louise

We set out for Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. I was last here 10 years ago at the end of August with my mom, dad, brother and his family so I thought I knew what to expect. NOPE! Having planned to do Moraine Lake first, we got to the turn-off and realized it was closed due to the high volume of visitors. Not deterred, we headed on to Lake Louise. After parking in the furthest lot, we made our way through the throngs down to the lake. Here's the crowd in 2008. In 2018 you couldn't see the lakeshore for all of the tourists!
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We made the best of it though. Hard not to in such a beautiful place! Scott and the girls hiked the lakeshore trail and Cadeau and I wandered a bit and then sat in the shade.
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That's Mount Victoria at the back of the lake with Victoria glacier. Close ups follow here.

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Fairmont Hotel - originally built in the 20's.
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We headed back to Lake Louise Village for lunch. Note when you stay up to watch it get dark at 12:30 (AM!) you get up at 10:30 and have breakfast at 11:30. That puts lunch at 5:30! After "lunch" we headed back to Moraine Lake and finally got in, it's about 7:00 now, and just as we did they closed it down again! So worth the effort though! The girls decided on a rock scramble and Scott and I hiked the lakeside trail (Cadeau slept peacefully in Ruby).

Moraine Lake

This has to be one of the most beautiful spots in the entire park. It really is more beautiful than the pictures!
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After another fire, more S'mores, and a good night's sleep, it was up early for...

Trail Rides!

We split up with Morgan and I doing a beautiful horseback ride in the Blueberry River Valley in the morning and Scott and Courtney doing an ATV adventure in the afternoon. Everyone was happy! In between, we had lunch at an outdoor cafe in Golden and visited their famous covered pedestrian bridge.

Morgan argued that horseback riding was best! (Of course she didn't want to ride an ATV - ha!)
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This was the normal state of Morgan's horse!

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Here's a short video. Thanks for Mrgan for the Taylor Swift soundtrack ha!

Courtney argued that ATV riding was best! (Of course she didn't want to ride a horse - haha!)
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Here's a short clip - you can mostly see over Courtney's handle bars haha!

Scott and I would have preferred to do both! We actually made it home in time to cook dinner at home (thanks Courtney and Scott!) and have a nice fire. We went to bed early because we had planned to drive the Icefields Parkway and had booked the Glacier Adventure for the following day but...

WHY DON'T WE USE MILITARY TIME!

We woke to a text message from the airline inviting the girls to check in for their flight! WHAT?! Oh no, that pesky 12:19 AM Saturday flight. Is that today or tomorrow? Yikes! That's today, well tomorrow, but tonight - well you get it. Rather than needing to get to the airport just after midnight Saturday night, they needed to be at the airport just after midnight Friday night! Phooey!

So, change being the only constant, and relying on our adaptability and resilience, we packed up and headed out to trek back to Calgary. All was not lost however! On the way, we stopped at the natural bridge and Emerald Lake. Being in Yoho, the crowds were substantially less and the views just as beautiful!
Natural Bridge
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Emerald Lake
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The weather, however, was proving a challenge. Canoe rentals had been on the girls' bucket list but the lines and cost at Lake Louise had been prohibitive. Canoes at Emerald Lake were available and reasonable. The rain was intermittent, though, and they weren't letting canoes out in it. So the girls went on a hike around the lake, Cadeau had a nap, and Scott and I had lunch. By this time we had all settled into our comfort zones! After much patience and pestering of the attendants, the sun came out and they got their paddle in while I FINALLY beat Scott at Cribbage.
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I was proud of us all for making the most of a bad situation and so grateful to the Canadian Rockies that missing one adventure is just an opportunity to experience a different one. The trip down to Calgary was beautiful and uneventful and after a nice dinner we dropped them at the airport, said "See you in Mexico!", and closed out a wonderful vacation.

We'll be in Colorado tonight and as I finish this up in Ruby she's saying the temperature is 100 degrees out there in Wyoming. Guess we're definitely going to be warm again!!

Make sure to subscribe for updates and follow us on Instagram @Arrradventures.

Posted by mrb430 19:58 Archived in Canada Tagged mountains canada off-roading Comments (0)

Making Plans and Making Changes


View 2018 on mrb430's travel map.

So...when we took off on this adventure, selling our possessions and homes and hitting the road, we knew it was going to be an adventure. We knew the only thing we really knew was that we would figure it out as we went. That we would need to try different things and visit lots of different places to see what we liked and what we didn't. We also knew this first six months would not be representative of how we really wanted to travel - slowly. We've taken this time in Calgary to re-evaluate and make some adjustments. If you follow our travel map, you will see BIG changes we've made. More later on that.

Calgary is a Weird and Wonderful Place

Here in Calgary, we've been staying in the neighborhood called Bankview just off the funky 17th Avenue SW. It's a great location to be able to walk to restaurants and bars and still be in a residential neighborhood. Against all odds, we've totally gotten into the World Cup. Scott had it on for the first games this morning at 8:00 AM. We've eaten Greek, Jamaican, Mexican, and Thai along with plenty of good pub food.

The neighborhood is filled with eclectic, funky folks covered with tattoos, an older avant garde generation, and everyone in between. Truly a wonderful mix of all kinds of kinds. We've mainly been home-bodies but have gotten out a few times to walk around downtown and to tour the riverwalk and the heights.

We went to the historic Lougheed House built in 1891 on what was once a farm on the outskirts of town but is now completely surrounded by the City. It had a wonderfully fragrant garden.
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Downtown Calgary has awesome public sculpture all over. Here are a couple we visited.
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Fort Calgary is a cool story of a city reclaiming the Bow Riverfront for recreation and rebuilding replicas of their earliest history. It's an interesting place to learn about the history of Calgary and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. And the Riverwalk is a beautiful park. large_IMG_1726.JPG
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The bluffs above the river provide a great view of the city and you can see all the way to the Rockies.
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So we've been enjoying ourselves and this city break before heading back to the mountains and National Parks. But back to the changes!

Traveling in Any One Area for More than a Month Or So is Probably Too Long FOR US.

You Can Become Numb to Even The Most Beautiful Things
Any of you that did that month in Europe at some point I'm sure can relate to getting weary of plazas, palaces, and Roman ruins. No matter what I've done in the past, there is a limit to how much of anything I can absorb at one time. And we are feeling that now. We are mountain weary and forest full. Although we are looking forward to Banff and Yoho with Courtney and Morgan, we've realized that's gonna be our limit. The prospect of more mountains and forests with seventy degree days and forty degree nights, even the beautiful mountains and forests of Oregon and Washington, just isn't calling our names right now. And going to the Pacific beaches might be qualified as torture given the water temperatures!

There are Beach People and There are Mountain People

I've always known there are beach people and mountain people. My great friend Jill - mountain person. It doesn't mean you don't like both - it means if you can only own one vacation house, where would it be? Which are you? In any case, we are definitely beach people. And I'm talking warm sand, warm water, hot sun, cold beer and noodles and floaties. At some point I realized that given our current plans, we weren't going to see a beach with warm water until November! We're retired and we're going to miss an entire summer! We're tired of being cold and long for our toes in the sand. Add to that the amount of time we've been on the road, almost three months now and we decided to make some big changes! WE'RE HEADED TO MEXICO EARLY!

First, we've decided to head straight down to Fort Collins, Colorado, next for about a month with my parents. We want to spend time with them and we love Fort Collins but haven't ever been to Colorado in summer. We're looking forward to some short excursions, too. We also need to get some health stuff done. Dentists. I want to try to get LASIK done, etc. And we want to take the opportunity to regroup and regain some semblance of a routine - other than packing and unpacking everything every three days - before we head south.

Maintaining a Healthy Routine is Very Hard When Traveling

And on that point, it's been really hard for us to maintain any kind of healthy routine on the road. Those of you that like exercise won't relate but as I mentioned previously, we're pretty lazy. Without a regular routine, we always opt for something other than exercise. And the exercise we like - walking, riding bikes, yoga - is hard on the road and in the cold. We had done really well building exercise into our life in Florida but that's very much fallen but the wayside. Time to get it back!

It's also hard to maintain a healthy diet. Again, those of you that prefer salads won't be able to relate but we are in the land of beef and potatoes, fried food (I never knew cheese curds were such thing!), and craft beer. Ummm - I know what I'm going to eat. Cooking at home helps but that isn't always an option. So we're looking forward to a month in Fort Collins, where it's warm and beautiful and easy to find exercise options and eat better, and then 5-6 months on the beach in Mexico. La Paz, where we're headed, has a Malecon (beach walk) right outside our door and the locals walk it every morning and evening so we'll have good role models! And there's fish fish, fruit, and vegetables in the markets.

We Want Time to Be a Part of a Community

Finally, as compatible as we are, and we are amazingly compatible, we miss being a part of a larger community. We've decided we want to try the approach of staying somewhere long enough to find our favorite markets, bars, restaurants, and yoga studios and to meet the people that work in them. We want time to get involved in projects in the community and to meet friends. So rather than the "long road trip" approach, we're going to try the "hub and spoke" approach. Get a home base cheap enough to allow for short trips out to other areas and then come back "home". Most of the U.S. isn't compatible with that at a price we can afford. In fact, staying our budget oaths road trip has been difficult. In Mexico we are renting beautiful, two bedroom houses, some with pools, right on the water for $50-75/night! Now that's affordable!

When we thought about it in our planning, we thought maybe three to four months would be good, so this is will be longer but that's the way it's working out. We have to stay in North America with Cadeau, we want to be warm, and we have a budget. So Mexico here we come until sometime next year. But first, Banff, Yoho, and Fort Collins and Colorado. Stay tuned in!

Remember to subscribe to the blog for updates and follow us on Instagram @arrradventures.

Posted by mrb430 18:59 Archived in USA Tagged canada Comments (4)

Heading to the City!


View 2018 on mrb430's travel map.

As I write this, we are traveling through the grasslands of Alberta on our way to Calgary where we will stay for a week. Looking forward to being in a city for awhile and doing some "city stuff" before heading out to Banff and Yoho with Morgan and Courtney.

Glacier to Waterton

We are moving on from Waterton Lakes National Park. If this place isn't on your bucket list, it should be. We had a disappointing trip up from Whitefish to Waterton. The Going to the Sun Road is still closed due to the heavy snows this past winter. So that was a bummer. And the day we drove up was rainy, cold, and dense with fog. As a result, we didn't see any of the East side of Glacier, including Many Glacier, which was definitely something we wanted to see. Instead we drove a curvaceous, switch-backy road through dense fog. It didn't help that cattle and horses roamed freely, sometimes just hanging out in the middle of the road, or that there was construction on the road that resulted in places with no pavement and deep ditches filled with water. We were SO glad we were in Ruby. I felt really sorry for people in their rental cars. At times, you knew there was a tremendous drop off out to amazing views but all we saw was white fog as thick as pea soup. In a way it was pretty fascinating, exciting, and beautiful but definitely not what we had planned. There were a few breaks where we could make out a few of the mountains.
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But momma said there would be days like this...

Waterton

Our first day in Waterton continued to be overcast and rainy with the fog settled low over the mountains. It was amazing because you just knew these awesome mountains surrounded the lakes since you could see their bases; it was just a waiting game to see the full view. But the lake was calm, which made for some spectacular reflections, and we saw the historic tour boat coming up when we were on the hill by the Prince of Wales Hotel for a stunning shot (IMO).
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Waterton Townsite
Within the National Park is the Waterton Townsite. It has an interesting history starting as a Canadian Railways Town prior to the National Park, a mining town, and finally a recreation destination. There are historic buildings and cabins throughout the town as well as a campground. Herds of deer roam the streets, and can apparently be very aggressive!
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In the off season, bears and cougar do as well. Kinda glad we missed that!

It's a great place to walk around and the lake trail takes you to where Cameron Creek empties into the lake.
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Cameron Falls are just a few blocks from downtown and quite magnificent. This short clip has a view from the top and the bottom.

Yesterday the sun returned and it was a gorgeous day with light winds.

Touring About
First we went down to Lower Cameronn Lake and the Maskinonge Wetlands. There are beautiful views back up the valley, over the marsh, and out into the grasslands.
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Check out this short clip for a 360 view.

Next we went out to some viewpoints we missed on the way in. This one of the entire range was spectacular.
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Scenic Boat Ride
We took the historic M.V. International, the 91 year-old boat that tours Upper Waterton Lake (the same boat from yesterday's picture). It takes you across the U.S. border to the bottom of the lake. We took TONS of photos. The light wasn't great but here are a few of the best.
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The Prince of Wales Hotel. It sits on a small bluff out in the lake. It's huge but looks so tiny in context like in the pic below.
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The international border.

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Like I said, this is a bucket list place for sure! Right up there with the Tetons!

Up next, fun times in the Cowtown! Be sure to subscribe for updates to the blog and follow us on Instagram @arrradventures.

Posted by mrb430 12:04 Archived in USA Tagged waterfalls lakes canada wildflowers Comments (0)

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