another cliché
travel blog

a poorly kept travel journal

Flying in

After packing haphazardly the previous night, I got up and got out around 8 to meet up at Wade and Tiff’s where I ended my nearly week long abstention of caffeine). Our flight ended up being delayed over two hours, but was was otherwise uneventful. I spent most of the flight chatting with the person next to me, a (from what I could tell, liberal) vicar from Winnipeg. After that, we got our car and hit the road. Banff is gorgeous.

We got dinner at Park Distillery, planned for the hike the next day, and called it a night. I stayed up till about 1:30 re-reading The Name of the Wind.

Hiking Corey Pass

I had been dreaming about a graduation ceremony overseen by the queen. A docile boar was ceremonially sacrificed. The blood from the boar’s slit throat should have run down the face of the valedictorian, but whatever passed for blood running down the boar’s unslit throat was instead caught in a cup, later to be dabbled on the valedictorian’s face.

Then Wade woke me up with a cup of coffee saying breakfast was ready. I threw on pants and slashed some water on my face and headed down. Bacon and eggs were served up, then we scrambled to get out of the house.

We drove into Banff, hit up the visitor center for info (and despite my misgivings, pick up bear spray), then headed out to Fireside to hike up Mt. Edith to Corey Pass. The nearly 1,000m gain over 4km was tough, though the Hungarian dead lifts Elysia has had us doing helped. At the pass’s saddle, we chatted for a while with a couple who had driven up from Seattle who were really cool.

After the hike, we drove around a bit, stopped to get groceries. After getting home, we cooked up dinner, taking turns taking showers, scarfed down some amazing yellow curry, and laid low for the night.

Lakes Louise and Morain

Wade, again, woke me up with a cup of coffee and a lunch spread ready. After sandwiches, we sat around for a bit enjoying coffee and waking up. Once we worked up the nerve to head out, we stopped at the fabled Tim Hortons. while not mind blowing, it’s definitely better than any chain has the right to be.

Coffee, egg mcmuffin, and doughnut in hand we headed towards Lake Louise. We were several hours later than we had planned, so upon arrival we changed plans and hiked out the 5.5km to a tea house over avalanche torn land. It was fun!

Along the way, we saw that not only is the hiking amazing, there’s also some incredible sport routes at the back of the lake.

Once at the tea house, we chatted a bit with the staff over our cups of earl grey and maple. The staff hikes in, works for five days, bunking down in cabins near the tea house, and then hikes out. Not a bad life.

The hike beyond the tea house was a huge slog, the last kilometer or so along a super steep spine with a huge drop. Slipping would be bad news bears.

Hiking back, it rained a bit, but just enough to make things look ominous and encourage us to not lollygag.

The land here is awe inspiring

After we got back, we hopped in the car, drove over to Lake Morian. we ran into that same couple we kept leapfrogging with on the trail, then called it for the day.

The drive back was gorgeous, then dinner and bed.

Ink pots in the ground and in the sky!

Woke up not quite early enough with the aim of heading to Lake Morain, but were turned away (one car out, one car in). So instead we continued on out to Lake Louise where, predictably, the sights were incredible.

Also, it turns out there is some incredible climbing at the back of the lake.

We however, hiked out to a tea house that can only be hiked (or helicoptered to), with no electricity. The staff hikes in, works for five days, bunking down in cabins near the tea house, and then hikes out. Not a bad life.

The hike beyond the tea house was a huge slog, the last kilometer or so along a super steap spine with a huge drop. Slipping would be bad news bears.

Hiking back, it rained a bit, but just enough to make things look ominous and encourage us to not lolygag.

Driving back, we detoured out to Lake Morain, where there were more beautiful views.

'Rest' day

We slept in, woke up, made some lemon ricotta pancakes and scrambled eggs, then drove around. Drove up to the Norquay overlook, then checked out the lakes. It was pretty gloomy and chilly, so we headed home a bit early.

After dinner, we drove over to the Vermilion Lakes to photograph the sunset. There were more mosquitos there than I have encountered in my entire life, combined. Luckily, they only itch for a few minutes. Saw a couple beavers swimming.

Lake Louise Gonadola and Lake Moraine

We got up early and piled in the car to head over to the Lake Louise gondola. We got coffee, then took the ski lift up to the top of the mountain. Between sips of coffee, we saw a bunch of critters including a mama grizzly and her two cubs! From the top of the lift, we hiked to the summit, got some great pics, then had lunch at the Whitebark Tavern, where the food was surprisingly good.

After lunch, we headed back to the car and drove over to Lake Louise on the opposite side of the valley. We looked around a bit, then headed over to Lake Moraine. More gorgeousness.

From there, we headed home, stopping by the grocery store, and made a dinner of chicken pot pie and bacon wrapped dates. Poor Sophie took a shower and fell asleep before even eating.

Driving 93 Banff to Jasper

It was an “easy” day. Just 6 hours of driving and 12 miles of hiking, including hiking up the the side of a 10’k peak at sunset. We started at 11 and got to the new place at 2am.

An actual rest day

In honor of Canada day, and not at all because everyone was feeling pretty rough, so we didn’t set alarms and slept in. I woke up a bit before everyone else and made crepes, nominally for Tiffany’s birthday. Sophie even bought a little candle that sung happy birthday in a wonderfully derpy way.

After breakfast, we lounged around until it was time to leave for tea. Once in the car, I promptly passed out for almost the entire hour drive. The tea itself was unremarkable, but the spread was astounding. Salmon , mushroom, and, tomato bruschetta, full sized egg salad sandwiches, scones, and a dessert spread that was incredible. We didn’t finish it all.

After, we drove out to Maligne Lake (I passed out again). Wade and I found a shady spot by the lake and took a nap while Tiffany and Sophie explored. Naps accomplished, we took a stroll along the lake.

The drive home was beautiful, then we made pizza and went to bed.

Valley of the five lakes

We did some other hikes (where we mostly got eaten alive by mosquitoes), but really the only thing that matters is the valley of the five lakes. Holy crap.

Malign Lake tour

All in all, pretty cool, but it didn’t compare to other days.

Got a nice dinner at Fiddle River. I had elk stroganoff that was amazing. Not gamey at all and amazing flavor. Wade had a wild game meatloaf that was super dense and tasty as hell.

Homeward bound

Woke up at 3:30 after going to bed around midnight to make the drive from Hinton to Calgary. The girls passed out most of the trip, while Wade and I passed the time bitching about work and admiring the landscape as it changed from pitch black mountains to sunny mornings over farmland. It’s a real pretty area.