Living without internet for the past two days (and being devastated by 6hr drives and 11km hikes), we’re back to promote the West Coast =P
Day 7: Golden -> Canmore
Our day began with a white-water rafting trip down Kicking Horse River in Golden. The rains were pouring in the morning, so the river was running quick and high! The rafting trip was cut short because one third of the river had to be closed as it was too dangerous, and also, the rafts were just going TOO fast so the trip that usually lasts 1.5hrs was only 1hr long…. And the scary part is, the next day after we went a 50-yr old woman died while rafting down the river under similar conditions….
Arriving in Canmore, the quaint city had tremendous scenery and a lot of wildlife. After checking into our hotel and laying down, a family of 4 bears just wandered outside our windows, minding their own business! T H A T I S C R A Z Y ! ! ! That began the day long journey of wildlife viewing in and around Banff. We also saw elk grazing outside a Tim Hortons, beside the Bow Valley parkway, and some strange animal that had a monkey face and a beaver tail….
Day 8&9: Banff National Park
Banff definitely lives up to the hype. With over 1600km of trails, mountains overlooking the region and wildlife everywhere you look, it has such a majestic peace to it, it’s hard to describe. We drove through the Bow Valley Parkway (seeing elk, bears and more elks on the highway). We took a 11km hike up and down the Johnson Creek, all the way up to the InkPots. And to recover enough protein, we had a nice steak dinner to cap the day off!!! It didn’t help the recovery fast enough though, as I’m still a bit sore 🙂
I won’t say much, I’ll just show everyone some pictures….
Now, 4hrs to sleep before waking up to catch the sun rise over Lake Louise!
Just grazing outside Timmies
BEARS! OUTSIDE MY WINDOW!
Departing 8:40am PST, arriving 7:50pm Mountain time.
Over lunch, we made a quick stop over Kamloops BC. The 5th largest city in BC with a population of 90k, we managed to find an awesome brunch place.
Friendly staff, vegan-friendly all day breakfast!
I have to say, the Trans-Canada (Hwy 1) drive up isn’t as nice as Sea-to-Sky highway, but the rockies definitely have some crazy scenery, and even crazier people! If you look hard enough at the cliffs and rocks, you may find some tiny specs of rock climbers!!!! On our way, we enjoyed the scenery of the road, blue sky, and rockies cutting through the sky…..and this
Super Mario Kart!
Arriving at Alexa Chalets past Golden, BC (what an awesome name for a city!), we are setting sail tomorrow morning for white water rafting down Kicking Horse river!
I can’t emphasis enough how JEALOUS we are of the BC people – you can enjoy sea to sky all within 2 hrs drive! No wonder people are willing to take a 20% pay cut to work here!!
Whistler is a paradise for all outdoor activities – YES I MEAN ALL!!! You can do rock climbing on the cliffs, alpine skiing/snowboarding/mountain biking all season down the snow mountains, kayaking in the quaint lakes, jogging in the forests, bear watching right in your backyard, and so many more! Seriously, what else can you ask for?!
We aren’t no cowards – so we ziplined-across the peaks like Mr. Tarzan, and hopped all over the trees like the monkeys!
While in Whistler, we also checked out the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Park…..and since it was summer nothing interesting was open…. except the biathlon gun range! Guns go pew pew pew!!
Hit 4/5 and 2/5 respectively, and that’s 150m laps for each miss!!
After working up such a sweat, we took the sky-to-sea highway back to Vancouver…and stopped by for a famed favorite… J A P A D O G
I’d have to say…. it just works! Nicely grilled buns, savoury sauce over the dogs… definitely worth the hype!!!
Let me get this straight… an short drive along “sea to sky” highway from Vancouver, I can get to the city of Whistler? Where I can do the following:
1) Play golf
2) Snowboard down Blackcomb + Whistler
3) Mountain bike down Whistler
4) Get within 150metres of a black bear cub…..while on the balcony of my resort?
… come on Ontario…. come on…
zip line down Cougar Mountain!
Victoria can’t be beat for a nice, quaint town with great food and creature comforts (Breakfast places + David’s Tea + Pacific Ocean = pretty sweet). The whole city had a charming, relaxing feel to the city. It also helped that we probably got the most amazing weather ever in Victoria. Strolling around town, we visited the oldest Chinatown in Canada, capital hill, and MEC.
At first I wondered, how can a city of 80-thousand have the same number of MECs as Toronto ( the answer is 1). After getting here, it’s not hard to understand why everyone loves the outdoors when the surrounding habitat is just ripe for athletics…..
Pacific ocean? Check.
Rocky mountains? Check.
What else do you need!!! …. how about a University built inbetween a provincial park, sandwiched by those two things! Throw in a “clothing optional” beach, and you’ve got….
U B C….. acrynom for I am jealous. My university never had a pretty campus, but now I’m just upset. Nobody told me campuses like this exist?!??!?!?
Did I not come here to study?
After stopping by Richmond for some good dim sum, we headed over to Tsawwasen to hop on the ferry with our minivan to Victoria.
Victoria, the capital of Beautiful British Columbia, really lives up to its name!! Hopping off the ferry, we stopped by to grab supplies at Shoppers Drug Mart (with a strange strange sign) before going into Butchart Garden. Driving on up, I was shocked at the $30 Adult admission price, but it didn’t take long before I realized why.
Maybe it was December, or maybe because I didn’t walk through the whole garden, but Versailles and Schönbrunn can take a back seat… This place was R I D I C U L O U S. Grass was greener and better maintained than golf club greens, and the landscaping and variety of flowers was really impressive. Oh, and did I mention Victoria is off the waters of the Pacific Ocean!
Downtown Victoria couldn’t be more quaint. Our hotel is next to market square, with modern furniture stores, David’s Tea, sitting next to small cafes and crazy good restaurants…. and Canada’s oldest Chinatown!!! It may also be the cleanest…..
We have one more day here, but maybe a few more wouldn’t hurt =)
After cleaning up to the very last minute (and a lot of help from the family), we managed to leave the house we called home and turned that into 2 backpacks.
Tired and excited, we arrive in the beautiful west coast! No wonder people like being out west so much, the whole city just has such an awesome feel to it, from the food, to the undulating roads, everything just feels so cozy and calm. What was really strange was that, we feel like we’re already on our ‘journey’, carrying our packs and gear around, and the whole city feels foreign, the constant sights of Tim Horton’s and Maple Syrup reminds me that, I still haven’t left Canada! Still have 2 more weeks go to…..
A quick stop at Granville Island (similar to Toronto’s Distillery District), a stroll through the magnificent Stanley Park, and finishing the day at the original Guu, we’re all looking forward to falling asleep. It may be the 3hrs of sleep, or the time zone differences, but something is definitely ‘right’ with Vancouver.
At Granville, tired and hungry, a jolt of caffeine definitely hit the spot courtesy of JJBean! After J&J Moving company, JJ Petshop, JJ Dry cleaners, there’s a new addition to the JJ empire!!!! Muwahahahaha..
Next stop: Victoria!
This will be the first of many posts as we begin our trip to see the world!! (And for those CS folks, this post should strike a familiar chord)
Things have been extremely hectic as we scramble to get everything together! Our journey officially begins in 5 days when we fly out from our beautiful home town of Toronto to our west coast neighbours in Vancouver. That being said, this is trip to the west coast is just an amuse bouche for the year long festivities that would follow!
We’ll be updating our travel blog as much as possible, with pictures to share and many stories to tell….
Before we decided to do so, we too were living vicariously through others!
…it is definitely NOW OR NEVER!