ALBERTA, CANADA - PART II - BANFF

Day 2 in Alberta was the most incredible day of full immersion in nature.

Fun fact, when my dad travels, he plans everything out in detail far in advance. Like i’m talking… pre-purchasing tickets, checking hours of operation, calling information offices to clarify parking, coordinating timing of when and where we will eat…ALL OF IT! I am fortunate enough to reap the benefits of this by following along in full comfort and ease knowing the perfect plan has already been set. Ever since I was little, i’ve always loved traveling with my dad because of this…and Canada was no different.

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First stop on our agenda- JOHNSTON CANYON. We drove about 50 minutes northwest from Canmore to JOHNSTON CANYON, a free hiking area well known for some awesome waterfalls. We found the little parking lot near the front (main parking lot doesn’t open until 10am ish) and began our little hike in.

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The hike into the waterfalls is super chill…about a mile or so and such a nicely paved walkway! I was so impressed by this place!

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First of many waterfalls!

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The greenery in the canyon was incredible. So lush, such a deep green, so full of freshness, life and beauty.

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Going early was a good idea for us because the trail wasn’t crowded at all on our hike in (many more people were coming in as we hiked out) so we could really enjoy the peacefulness of it all.

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We made it a mile or so in (took us about 40 min) to the main waterfall!!! You can walk down to the base of it and get pretty close…but be careful because you will also get soaking wet!! To get this shot I had to sacrifice my camera lens a bit (it got pretty wet) and point it directly into the water! It was worth it though :)

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There is a trail you can take to a lookout of the top of the waterfall, and right as we got to the top I noticed a rainbow coming from the side of the rock and I quickly quicklyyyyy snapped this shot!!! This might be one of the coolest photographs I have ever taken. A few minutes after I snapped this, the clouds moved, altering the suns position and the rainbow faded away. It was truly a tiny, miraculous moment in time and a prime example of God’s glorious creation!

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The hike back down was just as beautiful as the hike up.

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Like I said, well paved pathway, railing, not to steep, not muddy…bravo Canadian Park people for making this place really accessible and easy to enjoy for all! I no joke saw a grandma in a wheelchair and a baby in a stroller on this hike haha!

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How crazy is nature sometimes??

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After our nice hike into JOHNSTON CANYON, we drove out back to the main highway and made our way over to the most icon place in all of Banff… LAKE LOUISE!!!

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Lake Louise is probably the #1 tourist attraction in Banff, so the small parking lot at the lake fills up FAST and if you don’t get there by like 6am, you will have to park down the hill and take a bus up. By the time we got there (11am ish) there was already a flashing sign out on the road saying “LAKE LOUISE PARKING FULL, PARK IN OVERFLOW” so we knew to pull off to the side of the road into a huge overflow lot.

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From the overflow lot (free parking btw) we had to stand in line and buy tickets for the bus up to the lake. Apparently, this used to be a free bus but now they charge like $4 per adult to go up. Kinda lame since there is not choice but to take the bus, but at least it wasn’t like $10 a person! I cannot imagine this place in summer though…probably chaos!!!

But, after finally loading on the bus we had a 10-ish minute drive up to LAKE LOUISE…and WOW…

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SHE IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!

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The Fiarmont at Lake Louise is a famous hotel that is probably $700 a night (at least) YOWZAAAA. But the cool thing is, us regular folk like us can go into the hotel and buy food, look at the gift shop and imagine we are a hotel guest.

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I had to bring my ketchup chips to snack on. The Fairmont has a deli that is open 24hrs a day so we bought lunch there (sandwiches) and took it out to a bench to eat with a view.

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Can you believe how beautiful this water is!? Totally lives up to the hype!!

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It is incredible how many tourists come to this place! I kept telling my dad that I didn’t hear an American accent all week…which felt so weird! haha. I heard a lot of Swiss, German, French accents and most of ALL…Australian! I think 50% of the people that work in Banff are Aussies.

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My dad said to rent a canoe on Lake Louise it costs $100/HR..UHHHH NO THANK YOU. I opted for a FREE photo of them instead haha.

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There are a lot of things to do around Lake Louise and our next stop was…MORAINE LAKE.

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So, from LAKE LOUISE, we payed to take another bus up to MORAINE LAKE (20 minutes up the mountain0 and it was so worth it. One thing to be careful of is what time the last bus comes back down from MORAINE LAKE back to the overflow parking lot…somewhere around 4:30pm.

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One of the workers there told us MORAINE LAKE currently had a low water level, but in a week or so it would fill up and come all the way to the main tree lines. We didn’t mind so much though, because even at a low level the lake was absolutely stunning.

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There is a big rock pile near the lake and if you follow the path up (a lot of steep steps) you get to THIS VIEW!!! Which was so stunning!!!

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The hike back down the rock pile was really something else. I snapped this shot of my dad on the way down…and I think it’s one of my favorite from the whole trip. After spending some time walking around MORAINE LAKE, we took the bus back to the overflow parking lot and headed back to Canmore. By this time, we were tired and hungry (so much walking!!) and were ready for some grub.

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Back in Canmore we rested and then heading to down to eat dinner at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company. The pizza here was really awesome and a good chill place for dinner!

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After we ate, we walked around town a bit. The only bummer with Canmore is that, since it’s such a small town, everything closes SO EARLY!!! Like…6pm. everything closed. This was kinda a bummer since we wanted to do some shopping but we accepted the fact that this was true small town living haha.

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Cute little corner market with a mountain view.

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Dad had seen this big sing “SPRING CREEK’ and wanted to check it out so we walked over there after dinner. It ended up being some time of living community with townhomes, apartments, etc and a really beautiful walk along the creek.

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How precious is this walkway?! and mind you…this was like 8pm at night!!! Crazy right??

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This photo really looks like it’s out of a fairytale doesn’t it?? When I snapped it I couldn’t believe how picturesque it all looked!! The log cabin, the three sisters in the background , the greenery, the lighting…ahhhhhh magical.

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And, that folks, wraps up day two in Alberta. What a stunning place right!?

More beauty to come…