And I’m sorry, I’m not sorry that we haven’t updated the blog in the past month. Our last entry was in Ontario and since then, we’ve crossed through four Canadian provinces and back into the US of A. It’s not that we haven’t had internet – we have – but we’ve been a bit rushed to get back to the States for a great friend’s wedding. Anyway, as a brief update since Ontario, we “sprinted” through much of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, excited to get to the Rockies.
Our first stop in the Rockies was Jasper National Park. Driving towards the park is remarkable, as flat prairie land begins to unfold into jagged mountains. Every time I drive towards a mountain range, I cannot help but get an excited, almost anxious, feeling in my stomach while my hands get a little sweaty with anticipation of all the adventures to come. It’s a feeling I hope will never go away.
Anyway, we pulled up to the park with Leika and me sticking both our heads out the window, taking in the air and scenery. Our first stop was at the Miette Hot Springs where we relaxed for a few hours, taking in the beautiful scenery and hot water. The next few days were filled with biking, trail running and hiking throughout the park. Unfortunately, most of the high elevation trails were still covered in waist deep snow so we were forced to stay in the valleys. Overlander was my favorite mountain bike ride and included a steep hill locals named “Cocksucker” hill. It was a gorgeous park and we were reluctant to leave but as I mentioned, had time constraints. We headed south towards Banff National Park along the Icefields Parkway, which is rightfully known as one of the most beautiful drives in Canada. Near the border of the two parks is the Columbia Icefield with a number of glaciers, which Jakob and I explored for a few hours. We continued south towards Banff, but were completely turned off by the number of tourists. At one point, people were driving like maniacs – passing us, only to cut us off and slam on their breaks. This continued until there was a bear on the side of the road and a car that had passed us not 15 seconds before slammed on its breaks to take photos of the bear… needless to say, they almost caused a massive pileup. It’s become rather disturbing to us how frequently people stop to look at bears on the side of the road, often getting very close, not realizing that they’re causing the bear to lose its fear of humans and forcing the park to relocate, and in some cases, kill the bear. Sorry for the tangent. Back to the trip… we left Banff as quickly as possible and headed towards Canmore. AWESOME decision. Canmore is the fantastic, outdoorsy sibling of Banff. Just south of the National Park border, Canmore has an incredible network of trails, a low key and outdoors attitude, very dog-friendly town and is located at the base of beautiful mountains. We spent several days hiking and biking around the area. The Canmore Nordic Center was very impressive – it was home to many mountain biking trails and had classes for all different rider levels there. At one point, there were a few mountain bike classes of 8 year old kids just practicing in a field – I was so impressed and excited to see this! As our allotted time for Canmore started to run out, we shot up to Banff and did a quick 11km hike to a tea house near Lake Louise. It was very pleasant and a great way to end our time in the Rockies.
Unfortunately, we had spent a little too much time in the Alberta part of the Rockies so we weren’t able to spend time in Yoho and Glacier National Park or Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park. We did squeeze in a few rides and runs to get our legs moving but promised to be back and explore at a later time!
As we continued southwest, we stopped in Kamloops to get some vaccines, given how expensive they are in the US. We didn’t need an appointment and the nurse was able to give us our yellow fever, malaria and typhoid vaccines within an hour of arriving without an appointment. (We’ll write more soon regarding required meds/insurance/costs). The nurse also told us about a german bakery that had just opened, ‘The Crazy and the German’. We actually ended up staying the night in Kamloops rather than continuing to Whistler so that we could stop by the bakery in the morning… it was 100% worth it! After stuffing our faces, we continued towards Whistler, Squamish and Vancouver. We only spent 3 days in the area, which was not close to enough. Squamish was my particular favorite. It’s known as the outdoor capital of Canada for a reason.
Crossing the border into the US was as straightforward as possible. They actually didn’t even realize we had a dog with us, which was great and we hope happens again in future crossings!
We’re on our way now to a close friend’s wedding in LA and will be back in Seattle to continue our trip in a few days.
Our Plan: As usual, we don’t have a set plan. As of now, we will work our way south through the western states until early August when we fly out of San Francisco (our former home city!) to Germany to visit Jakob’s family and for a wedding in Sweden! We’d love to hear any advice of places to visit or, if we’re in your area, to meet up and run / bike with you!