The next 3 days, we are going to be exploring Banff and Jasper in Canada! On the way there, we saw a double rainbow!!!! Something you don't see often in California because there's no rain (lol). This is a long weekend for Canada too, so the park was SUPER crowded. It took us a long time to get into the park. We found a parking spot at the overflow parking, and took the shuttle to Lake Louise. We decided we should canoe on this beautiful lake, and it was so much fun! It was surreal to paddle towards the glacier on a gorgeously blue lake!
The national parks in Canada are a lot more... um..... urbanized? Not sure what's the right word for it, but they have a village/town in the park that has tons of gift shops, restaurants, hiking stores (e.g. Northface), which is so bizarre to me! I kinda like it because I have access to wifi, food, etc., but at the same time, I don't like it because it doesn't feel like I am in the nature. Anyways, Banff is definitely very family friendly for those who want to spend a weekend close to nature with the kids or the elderly.
Above is the Vermillion lake. This was a less populated spot for us to chill. Everywhere else was SO damn packed. This is why we decided we wanted to go to Jasper the next day, fewer people possibly and more in the wild.
We got up super early and made it to Jasper at about 10am. We did a little research last night and decided we are going to do the Edith Cavell Meadow hike in Jasper. It turned out to be my favorite hike on this trip! At the beginning of the trail, you can do a side trail called "path of the glacier" to see the angel glacier (doesn't it look like an uterus? That was the first thing that popped in my mind lol). It is only about a mile and this is probably as close as you can get to a glacier, and it was incredible! Then, we went up the mountain. The trail is about 5 miles round trip, 1600 ft elevation gain if you don't go to the highest point. It took us another 2 hours round trip to the very top of the mountain and it was snowing and hailing on the way up there. It was very steep and the path was full of rocks, but it felt very good to be at the top of the mountain (besides the fact that we were all freezing and starving). We saw some marmot and pika on the trail as well. They were adorable!
Above were some of the animals we saw on the road, elks, chipmunks and deer. We even saw two small bears while we were driving in the car! We were all very tired after the hike and just went back to the hotel afterwards.
Today is the last day we have, and we are driving back to Banff and tried to hit some of the spots we didn't go due to the crowd 2 days ago. Between Banff and Jasper is the Icefields Parkway (144 miles), and it passed by so many glaciers, lakes, mountains. That might be the most beautiful drive I have ever done. We stopped at the Columbia icefield/Athabasca Glacier. It was a short walk to see the glacier from afar, but if you want to be those people on the ice in the picture, that's $80/person for a guided tour. We didn't have time nor the money to do that, so we just saw it from afar.
We also passed by the Peyto lake, and it was just a short walk to walk to the overlook. There is a small one-mile loop after the overlook if you want a little walk.
We ended our trip with the Moraine Lake, which is definitely one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen. The water is so blue that it looks fake! We went up the rocks to see the Moraine lake up higher and it was spectacular. There is also a flat trail, about 3 miles round trip along the lake. A very beautiful walk, and at the end, you can see a small cascade waterfall that brings the water from the melting glacier to the lake.
This is the longest hiking trip that I have ever done. We usually do about 3 days, and this time it was 5 days total, with A LOT OF driving. As fun as it was, it was also SUPER tiring. Would I do it again? Probably. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
To my dear friends who came with us: hope you guys had fun and thank you for being crazy with us!