Hi again! It has been a long while since I last wrote a post so I am spending this holiday by sharing my experiences from my recent vacation last July 15 until July 31, 2019 in one of the most beautiful countries I have been to, that’s right, Canada.
This is my second time coming here and I have already written about pretty much all my observations during my first visit here.
So for this post, I decided to talk about the new places I have been to and the things that, based on my observation, have changed since my last visit.
Read on below for the full story!
In this trip, I was joined my aunt Tats and uncle Max who were visiting for the first time. It was a bit sudden but they were able to secure tickets just two weeks before the trip! Added to that is the very reasonable price of the tickets considering two things: one, the season (July is summer in Canada and tickets are; therefore, expensive) and two, the time interval from buying the ticket to the actual trip.
For everybody’s information, here is our flight details:
Manila – Tokyo via Philippine Airlines (roughly 5hrs 30min travel time)
Tokyo – Calgary via Air Canada (roughly 10hrs travel time)
Note: My experience in Air Canada was generally okay (food is good, leg space is decent) except for the unpleasant crew. Hopefully they can improve on this
When we arrived in Calgary, we just had to do an electronic declaration before lining up to the immigration. It was a rather quick and smooth process overall before we were fetched by our relatives and headed to their place.
During our drive to the house, I still noted the wide roads, fast cars, disciplined drivers and massive land of farmers among others. This was a familiar setting that I remember and so instead of being in awe, I was just smiling. It was good to be back.
We arrived at a Sunday so we were able to see a lot of our relatives there. Again, I was given a mojito as a welcome drink – déjà vu! On the first night, I stayed over my cousin’s house only to wake up very early the following day for the official start of the vacation!
Well, I already visited the Royal Tryell Museum during my first time here but not the surrounding area. While my aunts and uncles were inside the museum, I pretty much had a good stroll around the area. After they were done with the museum, we also went to quickly see the “smallest”church (definitely the smallest).
Amazing formation. Fossils can be seen around
Who took this photo? Me. Lol.
Who took this photo? Me. Lol.
This was one of the places I wanted to go back to coming from the beautiful places I visited two years ago. I did not mind coming back to see them all over again but there was still somewhere I have not been to before – Sulfur Mountain.
Banff Godola/Sulfur Mountain
To get to Sulfur Mountain, we had to ride the gondola to the top where we were able to see a better view of Banff and where we can also start our trek to Sulfur Mountain.
Even though it was cold, the views did not disappoint me – it was the first time for me to see the entirety of Banff from the summit of the mountain. The way going here is very established with wooden floors and bridges from start to finish.
View of Banff!
View of Banff from Sulfur Mountain
Road going to the summit of Sulfur Mountain
This lake still did not fail to impress me with its emerald waters and the snow-capped Mount Victoria (correct me if I am wrong) in the far end of the horizon. I went back several times here throughout my vacation and I discovered that it looks really beautiful early in the morning too (when there are less people)! Photos below show Lake Louise in the afternoon and Lake Louise in the morning. Both pretty, only that the latter is less crowded.
While I was able to go here before, what I really appreciate this time is that I had more than enough time to go around and see the falls up close.
Columbia Ice Fields
Got to pass this area when we went to Jasper before but not really up close. Just like the other places, this time around, I was able to see it from another perspective. I noted several markers along different areas that tell where the glaciers were during that year. Unfortunately, the glaciers have been receding every year because of climate change.
This is a picnic area near Canmore where we stopped by just to take some photos.
Mt. Lorette Pond
Inspired by the previous location, my relatives and I drove here for, you guessed it, a picnic! Interesting fact is that this pond is man-mad yet it is very very beautiful – much like a scene from a painting!
What a view!
Aunties and niece!
Well what do you know, my highschool friend and I were able to squeeze in time to do a quick catch up! Much like the first time, Faye and my new found friend, Dianne, took me around downtown…again. Haha!
We had the same photo two years ago!
Faye, me and Dianne. Nice to meet you!
My cousin brought me to this exclusive/members-only place where there was a man-made lake with all sorts of recreational activities like boats, paddle boards, etc. I still find it amazing how people can swim in these really cold lakes for a really long time because I, for one, experienced the water two years ago and did not stay for more than 10 minutes. Haha!
Quarry Lake Park
This park is located in Canmore, the place where houses are extremely expensive because of the extremely beautiful view of the Rockies around. The park is beautiful with wide fields and a close view of Three Sisters Peak
Big Hills Spring Provincial Park
This is the nearest park from where I am staying. This is not located in Banff or Canmore or Kananaskis. This is actually just in Cochrane which is a 20-min drive away from Calgary. Albeit not as awe-inducing as the others, it has its own beauty and charm. Here, a lot of colorful wild flowers grew near the natural mini falls.
Ahhh, a trip to nature’s finest will not be complete without some hikes! I am again grateful to be able to go to different places this time around.
Grassi Lakes Trail
A relatively easy hike, this place offers visitors beautiful landscapes around the difficult trail (there are two trails: easy and difficult. Recommendation is to use the difficult trail going up and easy trail going down) and a green blue lake on top!
There are people who also do rock climbing upon reaching Grassi Lakes and we happened to see one when we visited.
Note that when hiking, always have a bear spray ready in case of bear sightings
Falls we saw along the difficult trail
Twinning with ate Angel
This was an unplanned hike because my cousin and I originally wanted to go to Mt. Baldy. However, since the jump-off is at Moraine Lake, chances of finding a parking space are close to zero even though we got there at around 6:30AM. Plan B was to go to Lake Louise and hike something else.
Note that there are different hiking trails that start from both lakes: Moraine and Louise which is why, apart from tourists, there are a lot of hikers who go here too and that makes finding a parking slot extremely difficult. However, an alternative way not to worry about parking is to take the shuttle from the overflow parking to Lake Louise and/or Moraine Lake – just take note of the schedules!
The trail here is very straightforward and not technical. The only difficult thing was that there was little to no flat surfaces which means, the way was mostly inclined going up.
My cousin and I stopped to take photos when we reached Mirror Lake. It really lives up to its name as it looked like a glass reflecting all the elements around it.
Just a few minutes after Mirror lake, we arrived at a tea house beside another lake – Lake Agnes. Now, I have read about this before and it is said to be a popular destination among hikers as the tea house offers delicious food and beverage – a perfect resting place before pushing through the hike. From here, there is an option to hike three different places with different distances: Little Beehive, Big Beehive and Path of Six Glaciers, with the first one being the closest and the third one being the farthest.
Biscuits with jam and a pot of hot tea
We decided to go on to Little Beehive so I can get a better look at the entirety of Lake Louise. Again, the trail was very straightforward with only the trail inclination as the challenge.
The view was really amazing at the top. Apart from seeing how high up we were, the sight of the surrounding mountains and lakes made the trip there very worth it.
King’s Creek Ridge
Just located in Kananaskis Country, King’s Creek Ridge is ranked as a short but moderately difficult hike. The difficulty coming from the steepness and the type of trail – dusty, thus making it slippery. This was also the most unplanned hike because my cousin just invited me to come with him and his friends. He did not even want me to know where we were going. According to him, he did not want me to research. Lol why.
In any case, it was not like the hikes I did the first time I was in Canada (i.e. Mt. Yamnuska and Nihahi Ridge) because there was not much scree and rocks but more of land and dust. However, much like Nihahi Ridge, this too made us pass a thin knife-edge like ridge and it offered us a 180-degree view of the Rockies and some more lakes from afar.
Lunch time at the summit
Going down was the tricky part. Since the trail was slippery and steep with no bushes or grasses to hold on to on the side, I was already volunteering to sweep. Haha. However, my cousin gave me a shoe accessory (forgot what it is called) that had metal spikes to help with the grip of my shoes. Since it was my first time to use one, I was still trying to be extra careful. However, I knew they were really working when I was supposed to slip but did not…several times. Really great stuff, I definitely recommend (except of course when the trail is all rocks, then this will not be a good idea to use)!
I only talked about the places I visited because most of the things I wrote before still apply. Again, you can read my first post about Canada here.
I would like to thank my relatives for taking good, good, good care of me while I was there! Thank you Auntie Lot, Auntie Nelia, Auntie Tats, Uncle Con, Uncle Oca, Uncle Max, kuya Jehan, ate Angel, Carlo, Tenten, ate Christine, ate Cathy, Jason, Dom, Erion, kuya Jun, Nicola, kuya Oliver!
It was such a good and refreshing trip and I would definitely come back if an opportunity presents itself, after all, I still have that Rowlet stuffed animal I have to return and clothes I have to get there.