You can find Part 1 (Days 1-3) of my trip recap here.

Ok, now on to part 2…

Day 4-Vancouver in a day: vancouver1And on day 3 we both got a chance to run! 2-vancouver-water-run2

and he's off

and he’s off

We ran along the waterfront just down the hill from our hotel which was really beautiful. We some some cruiseships docked. I’m guessing they were headed to or back from Alaska. Then it was off to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Cliffwalk and Treetop Adventure. We really liked this because Mr. SOTSS has an engineering background and is fascinated with seeing how things are built. I thought it would be more “adventurous” and not so “touristy” so that was a let-down but I can never have enough of being surrounded by nature. And this particular area was a rainforest.

I looked like I had finished off a bottle of wine as I crossed.

I looked like I had finished off a bottle of wine as I crossed because the bridge rocked back and forth so much.

just don't look down

just don’t look down. I’m only afraid of heights a “little” but with every deep breath to stay calm I enjoyed the most amazing fresh air.

5-capilano

The cliffwalk

The cliffwalk I knew I was safe but I still had to hold on.

We grabbed lunch at a restaurant a few blocks from Stanley Park and then rented bikes so that we could ride the 8k seawall path around Stanley Park. If I lived in Vancouver I would run along the seawall path every.single.day! It was gorgeous. 9-bike-stanley-greg

Stanley Park

Stanley Park

After our bike ride (thank you so much Spokes for being so friendly and helping with our bike rentals) we walked to the water taxi (called the Aquabus) to take us the short 5 minute ride to Granville Island.

10-vancouver-aquabus2granville

Aquabus

11-granvilleWe poked around the shops a bit and got ourselves some fancy coffee and just sat for a few minutes enjoying some free WiFi before our long walk back to the hotel through some of the other areas of the city including English Bay and Yaletown. 12-granville2I’m guessing we walked between 6-10 miles daily on this trip. By 9pm we got hungry so we went back down toward the waterfront for a bite to eat and a walk along the same part of the waterfront that we both ran in the morning. Everything looked so pretty lit up.13-vancouver-nite

view of Vancouver from where the cruiseships dock

view of Vancouver from where the cruiseships dock

I love this clock and streetlight combo

I love this clock and streetlight combo

Day 5-Road trip to Banff begins: After 3 days of city touring we got in our car rental and left Vancouver for our Canadian Rockies exploration.

We were fortunate to see some fall foliage in Canada

We were fortunate to see some fall foliage in Canada

Since it would take about 8 hours to make it to Jasper National Park we decided to break up the drive. So we drove about 4 hours to Kamloops, BC for a late afternoon hike and dinner and then traveled an additional 2 hours up to Blue River, BC to crash for a night leaving us with just 2 more hours to drive the following morning (there was also a time change as we entered Alberta, meaning we lost an hour which luckily we realized before we finalized the trip.)

Road trip ready with sweet and salty and some Canadian bacon :)

Road trip ready with sweet and salty and some Canadian bacon :)

That hike in Kamloops? It was probably not the smartest thing we did. I found some random hiking “group” blog who recommended this hike. Not only were we in a foreign country, but we had no cell service and it was getting close to dusk and the trail was super strenuous as in STRAIGHT UPHILL.

Almost at the top but we had to turn back before summiting

Almost at the top but we had to turn back before summiting

We were the ONLY 2 people hiking although we saw an older gentleman on an ATV who saw us parking and suggested we travel to a higher location to shave 30 minutes off our hike. We took his advice. We also saw piles of animal “skat” which we later discovered were just from the cattle/livestock in the area but for a minute I think we both were thinking it might belong to another big animal that rhymes with wear. We never made it to the top of the mountain but we did get to enjoy a few moments of peace and beauty close to it and then we bolted downhill and back to the car where I got a random moment of cell service and quickly plotted out directions to the hotel.

Got back to the car just before sunset. I was never so relieved to be done with a hike

Got back to the car just before sunset. I was never so relieved to be done with a hike.

The drive to Blue River was after dark and the road was very twisty and through the mountains and there was 2 way traffic with no divider and I was anxious as the passenger. I’m a terrible passenger to begin with (yes, I can be a control freak) and I was so uncomfortable that I worked myself up until I felt physically ill. Mr. SOTSS of course has this amazing gift to be unphased by my self-inflicted frenzy. So when we arrived at the hotel he went right to bed and I was up for a few hours trying to calm down. Luckily this one hotel had 2 double beds. I took over the second bed, turned the TV on with the volume really low and watched a bunch of randomness while listening to Mr. SOTSS snore. Eventually I calmed down, he stopped snoring, and I fell asleep.

Day 6: Jasper!: We stopped in a tiny town called Valemount for breakfast where we literally had one option. 65-valemountThe only place open was the A&W attached to the gas station. Who knew A&W sold breakfast? Once we had full bellies we crossed over from British Columbia to Alberta and on to the town of Jasper. 67-japser-townAnd then we began our journey down the Icefields Parkway (which is said to be one of the most scenic drives in the country) to Banff with stops along the way, each one more beautiful than the next. I’ve seen a lot of natural beauty in my life but never had I seen sights like these.

At the Edith Cavell Glacier

At the Edith Cavell Glacier

From glaciers and seeing an actual avalanche to waterfalls to a real live grizzly bear.

a zoomed in shot of the layers of ice and dirt

a zoomed in shot of the layers of ice and dirt

He was so excited to see an avalanche

He was so excited to see an avalanche

Yes, we drove past this fella. We stopped on the shoulder and I rolled down the window in the back seat of the car and took this shot. I was completely safe.

And this made Mr. SOTSS’ trip complete. Yes, we drove past this fella, a grizzly (you can identify a grizzly by the distinctive hump on it’s back. I paid attention to the stuff in our park brochure guide). We stopped on the shoulder and I rolled down the window in the back seat of the car and took this shot. Don’t worry, I was completely safe. And he really had no interest in us. He was busy looking for berries to fatten up for the winter. If only berries were what humans used to fatten up. Maybe we wouldn’t actually fatten up? HA!

beautiful scenery shot #1,436,653

Beautiful scenery shot #1,436,653 (except for those 2 people sitting on the hill. I didn’t see them until after I took the pic.)

beautiful scenery shot #1,436,444

Beautiful scenery shot #1,436,444

Athabasca Falls

Athabasca Falls

beautiful scenery shot #1,316,651

Beautiful scenery shot #1,316,651

71-jasper-cavell-walk

We finally got to Banff but it was fairly late and neither one of us felt like finding a restaurant so we just ordered room service.

img_6311

Day 7: The day I cried at the first sight of Lake Lousie: Our intention was to do a hike around the entire perimeter of Lake Louise….the lake that I saw in an article in my Twitter feed earlier this year that was the catalyst for us going to the Canadian Rockies in the first place. We arrived, I cried at the beauty and then we found out the hike was partially closed because part of it was in avalanche area.

ya know. just me standing in front of the most beautiful lake I've ever seen.

Ya know. Just me standing in front of the most beautiful lake I’ve ever seen.

So we hiked the part that was still open and then decided to rent a canoe and actually paddle on the lake. Oh my god….this was probably my favorite day of our trip. I’ll never see anything more stunning and the vantage point from being ON the lake was spectacular. I felt so small and so calm at the same time.105-louise12 104-louise11 101-louise8 96-louise4We had some time after Lake Louise and before our dinner reservations so we strolled around the town of Banff and and picked up a few souvenirs. 88-banff-town 109-banff-cave-basin 111-banff-town-niteWe celebrated our last night of the trip by choosing the “fondue experience” at Waldhaus. Of course dessert was my favorite course.114-img_6414 112-waldhaus

Day 8: We both started the day with a treadmill run. It was pouring rain but the real reason I think we opted for the treadmills was the wildlife warning. img_6423 img_6425 img_6429I really had no desire to have a run-in with a bear while running. It’s one thing to see it while being safe in our car. After the run we packed up and drove to the Calgary airport and headed home. I still had some road trip snacks for the plane. :)img_6439

A wonderful trip with a wonderful guy! This was very different from our trip to Jamaica last year which was relaxing and a whole lot less active. I like both types of vacations but I think I prefer the action packed ones. In 8 days we used 11 modes of transportation: plane, car, bus, train, light rail, monorail, ferry, canoe, water-taxi, feet, bike. I’m excited to start planning next year’s trip. 

Do you prefer a lazy, relaxing vacation or an action packed trip?
What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen? 
Have you ever been to the Canadian Rockies or Vancouver?

8 Comments

  1. I prefer a lazy, relaxing vacation unless I’m at Disney. Then I go full-tilt the whole time, to my family’s chagrin. The most beautiful place I’ve ever seen is the Grand Canyon. Indescribable! I’ve never been to the Canadian Rockies nor Vancouver (the only place I’ve been out of the states is Jamaica).

    • I guess a Disney vacation is worth the go…Go…GO! I haven’t been to the Grand Canyon in more than 15 years but I do remember seeing the sun set there. Another one of nature’s gems.

  2. Beautiful pictures! I went to Vancouver for the first time this summer and absolutely fell in love. Stanley Park and the Seawall are amazing! And Granville Island was so cute – we did the market too and also did the food tour there. Banff is on my bucket list!!

    • From what I researched the summers in Banff are super crowded. They suggest the last week of September because there is some Fall Foliage happening and by October they start to have inclement winter weather with road restrictions.

  3. That bridge over the forest looks crazy! My husband has always wanted to go to Vancouver, so we may end up taking a trip there someday.

  4. Stunning pictures! And that bridge has me shaking at my desk! Terrifying!

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