BBJ Rocky Mountain Road Trippin’

(Aka Brooke, Boone, Jessie – Clever I know)

         This past weekend I spent 4 days adventuring around, starting in YYC (Calgary) and then out West in the mountains with a friend, Jessie Williams (aka @jadubya ). She is currently living in Denver, Colorado but originally from Dallas, Texas. She had never been to Canada before so when she confirmed that she was coming North for a few days to visit me and adventure around, I knew I had to make the best of the 4 days she would be here for! Soooo…. hence the many miles, sites and things we did in such a short period of time. We traveled through 4 national parks, Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Yoho National Park and Kootney.

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Oh and we cant forget about her pup Boone (aka @boone_tails ) that she brought along for the ride! I can not wait till I have my own adventure pup companion. It was so great having them two to explore with and be around, Jessies energy and passion for life and adventure is very contagious! I know in the ‘old n’days’ our parents use to tell us never to talk to or meet up with strangers though Instagram has kind of been a game changer in that… I can admit to having talked to and met up with a number of ‘strangers’ through the app. Though it has provided me with many amazing experiences, connections and opportunity to learn and grow and be around like minded people. You just have to be smart about it 🙂

Jessie and I started following each other almost two years ago, and started chatting back and forth a few months after that, then eventually began planning a time to meet up. We can relate to SOOOO many of the same things, whether it be our careers (both working in the school district with kids, our relationships, love for adventure, the outdoors, dogs, people and so many other things.

Being a teacher down in Colorado, Jessie drove up at the start of her during her week off for Thanksgiving, and I managed to get a couple days off work to show her around! From Denver up to Calgary its about 16 hours in the car… but that didn’t seem to phase her.

We started the trip out with a day in Calgary (YYC) we went for brunch, walked around downtown, along the Bow River, then headed to the Florida Georgia Line Concert!! Which would be my favorite ‘country’ band, and luckily she loves them too… After a few drinks and singing to every song we headed to sleep and tried to get a few hours in before we started our mountains adventure!

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florida

We woke up bright and early, loaded the car up and headed straight for Tim Hortons (her first true Canadian experience). Then headed through Banff National Park towards Lake Louise – via the Bow Valley Parkway just off of the main highway, the weather was a bit foggy and gloomy but hey, what can ya do! Boone was definetely the centre of attention with all the tourists at the lake!

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(Lake Louise – 57 Kms from Banff – 183km from Calgary)

From there we headed for the Icefields Parkway (One of Alberta’s most scenic drives), making a pitstop at Bow Lake (pictured below).

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(Bow Lake – 39kms from Lake Louise)

From there we continued to Athabasca Glacier, where it was VERY windy and chilly so we piled on the layers and then headed for the icecaves – which is about a 20 minute walk up and down some rocks, we took a few wrong turns trying to get to the caves, due to the blowing wind and it having covered up other footprints and the trails but we managed to get there! I had been two years prior and WOW have the caves changed but they were still beautiful. Jessie had never seen ice caves before either so I thought it would be neat to check out.

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icecaves

(Athabasca Glacier – 106kms from Jasper)

We then continued our drive down the Parkway entering into Jasper National Park, and made a pit stop at a beautiful river sight just off the highway (Pictured below – We both were amazed by the intense aqua blue coloured water!)

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From there we continued to Athabasca Falls, though it was getting a bit dark out so the colour of the water was not AS vibrant as I had seen before and was hopping to see again this time but it was still amazing non the less! It is a very accessible place to stop if you are ever in Jasper and area.

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(Athabasca Falls – Jasper National Park – 32kms from Jasper)

We spent the night at Best Western in the town of Jasper – which accommodates dogs and is very reasonably priced! We went out to Famoso for soup and salad (which I highly recommend – even though we probably should have got their famous pizza) to warm up and then walked around the town in the evening checking out shops, before turning in for the night.

We then woke up bright and early and got on the road for 7 am, first with another stop at TIMMIES, for coffee and bagels!!! On our way out of town Jessie spotted a HUGE wolf on the side of the highway, its eyes were dark to miss. We turned around in hopes of going back to see it and we did, but there wasn’t only one but TWO of them! We both had never seen wolves out in the wild before so it was VERY neat to see. We followed them for a few minutes trotting along side the highway before they scurried off  back into the woods. I wish I would have gotten a great photo of them, but with it being dark and me just wanting to admire them I failed to do so. But here are some photos of the drive 😀

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We then stopped at Peyto Lake, which is also along the Icefields Parkway just a few kms from Bow Lake where we stopped the day before, when we stopped Sunday it was PACKED due to people there for avalanche awareness – field work, so we said we would come back the next day and it was DEAD. We were the only vehicle there so was nice to have the whole place to ourselves. The water colour of Peyto (Pronounced Pee – toe, which I just found out this trip as it was written on a information sign) blows my mind every single time I visit it. I mean look at it! How could it not 😮

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peyto

(Peyto Lake – 42 kms North of Lake Louise)

We Left Peyto and headed for Yoho National Park, entering into British Columbia, stopping at Emerald Lake Lodge and the Natural Bridge which are just a couple kms away from each other, off the highway outside of Field, BC. They can both get very crowded during peak times and with tourists but we managed to get to experience them with no one really around!

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(Natural Bridge – Yoho National Park – 32km from Lake Louise)

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(Emerald lake – Yoho National Park – 37km from Lake Louise)

It was a quick stop in Yoho, as we left quickly and headed back East before turning South into Kootney National Park! We were headed for the Lussier HOTSPRINGS, a place I have been DYING to go to. I have seen photos and heard stories of these natural hot springs, though never had the opportunity to go for myself and check them out… I thought this trip would be a perfect chance to finally check that off my bucket list. It certainly wasn’t a CLOSE drive but it was well worth it. The hot springs are located just out side of Invermere off the highway down a forest road about 18km. They get VERY busy also during the weekends and evenings during the week as people start to hear about them more and more, but again we managed to find a time to go when it was quiet, before a few people joined us.

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There are different temperature pools, pictured above I am sitting in the ‘cooler’ pool down below and pictures below we are in the hotter pool. We had to get out every once and awhile to sit on the rocks to cool down cause they are THAT hot! We also brought along popcorn to enjoy :p Which isn’t pictured. Was the perfect way to end a long two days thus far of adventuring and driving.

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(Lussier hot springs – 214km from Lake Louise)

They were soooo worth every km we drove. I would go back again and again. We relaxed there for a couple hours before making the trek back towards Banff National Park where we stayed again at Best Western because we knew they allowed dogs! (@boone_tails)  We walked quickly to grab a bite to eat and then went straight to bed, as the drive back pooped us out and we wanted to get up early to take advantage of Jessies last day in Canada!!!

We got up, went for a quick breakfast and then headed for a walk around town. I LOVE Banff and could spend days and days there just wandering. There are a number of trails along the river and through the forested areas. We wandered the river and shopped around a bit downtown Banff before heading to a few lakes near by.

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(Banff – Banff National Park – With Mount Cascade in the background)

After touring the town we headed to Vermillion Lakes – which is just outside of Banff. It is a great place to watch the sunrise! But we may have missed that… In the winter you can ice skate there as well! We watched the skaters for a bit wishing we had brought ours!

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We then headed for Two Jack Lake – 13kms from Vermillion, which is another unbelievable spot for sunrise and sunset! We walked around the lake for a bit and took some photos for @REI #optoutside campaign, which encourages people to get outside on Black Friday instead of hitting up the malls allllll dayyyy, and spending the day indoors.

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(Two Jack Lake – Banff National Park – 13 km from Banff)

From there we headed two kms down the road to Lake Minnewanka! We went for a little hike along the lake to a bridge that continues along to Aylmer pass/Lookout – though we did not have time to do the whole hike which is 12.6 ONE WAY. Lake Minnewanka is a great place to kayak or hike in the summer months, you can also book boat tours or rent your own little boat to tour the lake in!

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I wanted to write this blog to give people a little idea of things you could get up to / a little itinerary (Or big depending how you look at it) if you have a few days in the area and want to see a bunch of cool things quickly! ‘A taste of the Canadian Rockies’ – The neat thing about traveling through these areas is there are SOOOO many places to stop along the way, whether it be lakes, tourist attractions, mountain views, pull offs, mini hikes (or big hikes), wild life spottings, waterfalls and more depending on what you are looking for. If you have ANY questions at all about our trip, or just want some advice on some of the stops/locations feel free to send me an email or drop a comment! Always happy to help 🙂

Thanks for reading!!!

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