I have just returned from a much needed vacation. We went to Canada to visit Banff and Jasper National Parks and to visit my husband’s sister. Like all my trips, I loved the beautiful scenery and spending time outdoors in nature, but I also love returning home to my family and my dog and my pillow and my bed 🙂
Problems at the start
Our first day of vacation was a bit of a disaster. Our flight left BWI on time, but when we got to San Jose where we had a connecting flight, we found out there had been a problem with our plane and we had to wait hours for another plane to be brought in. We were heading towards Spokane, Washington, where we were spending the night before starting our road trip. Since we were going to be arriving so late in Spokane, I decided to call the hotel where we had reservations to make sure they did not give away our room. When I called, I found out the hotel had to close for the night because of plumbing issues. That started my scramble to find another hotel. I was still making calls as we boarded the plane. It was graduation weekend at area colleges and everything was booked. When we were seated on the plane, I asked the young woman next to me if she knew the Spokane area, and she gave me some ideas of where to call. Just before taking off I was able to make a reservation at a hotel in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, about 40 minutes away. This wasn’t too terrible because we planning on heading that way the next day, but it was already well after midnight (and after 3 am east coast time) and we still had to get the car and drive there. By the time we got there, checked in , and got our room, we had been up 23 hours straight and were dead tired.
Arriving at Banff
We didn’t sleep great, but after about 5 hours of sleep we headed out for the drive to Banff. Our route was full of beautiful scenery, and we made a few stops along the way. In Banff I had my first black bear sighting (seen below). Our hotel there was perfect, with a kitchenette, lovely upscale room and bathroom, and a balcony with a fantastic view. We spent the next couple days enjoying the scenery, hiking, viewing waterfalls, and wildlife spotting. I wish I had a photo of the beautiful fox we saw in Johnston Canyon, but my camera settings were for landscape photos and he ran away before I could get them switched. We also took a gondola to the top of the mountain that overlooks Banff and had dinner at the restaurant with the large glass windows so that we could enjoy the view while eating. The ground was still snow covered up at the top and we even had a few flurries while we were there.
After Banff, we headed up the Icefields Parkway towards Jasper. If you have not done this drive, add it to your bucket list! Every turn in the road just provides more gorgeous mountain views, or turquoise blue lake views, or waterfalls’ or wildlife. I photographed another black bear and elk along this drive. We stopped and hiked out to a massive glacier, which was one of the highlights of our trip. It is part of the Columbia Icefields, and there I saw some blue ice and crystal clear glacier melt lakes as well.
We spent the night at the Patricia Lakes Bungalows in Jasper. We had our own bungalow with fireplace and kitchenette and a turquoise mountain lake just steps from our door. It didn’t get dark till almost 11 at night, so I watched the sunset after 10:00, a very strange experience, and I had trouble sleeping because my body kept saying “it is still light!” If you go north in Canada in the summer, I would suggest bringing an eye mask for sleeping, something I did not think of before hand.
We next headed back into British Columbia to my sister-in-law’s place in Enderby. Again the drive was quite lovely and we stopped many times for short hikes and photos. Enderby is a long way from everywhere, but it is a beautiful small town in an area that really reminds me of the Canaan Valley area of West Virginia. We spent a few days sightseeing and catching up with her before heading back to Spokane. The drive back was almost all backroads through the mountains. I would like to give a word of appreciation to Canada for the abundance of rest stops they have even among these backroads, and the rest stops are very often in scenic areas.
Finally we flew back home, arriving late last night to storms and heat we were not used to after the previous week. It was fantastic to sleep in my own bed with my own pillow (is it just me or does everyone think hotel pillows suck?). This morning we went and picked up our dog from the wonderful woman who watches her for us when we go on trips. Now that Maggie is back with us, I truly feel like I am home. Vacation was great, but it is good to be home and back to doing the things I love, which includes running this photography business.
if you have any questions for me or want to know names of some places we stayed, comment below. I would also love to know what your favorite vacation was.