As Steph was researching where all to go on our summer trip she reached out to many friends asking for advice. One of our friends from the ‘hood were also heading in that direction and it seemed would be in the Banff area about the same time we were. So we made sure to align our Canadian Rockies visit with the Tillery family. We decided to meet up for a hike in Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park at 0900 to try to avoid at least some of the crowds. Being a 1.5 hour drive from our campground to the the trailhead meant a super early morning for our family. But we made it and were able to find our friends in the sea of visitors.
The really cool thing about the Canadian national parks is that it seems they are much more dog friendly than in the US. This trail allowed dogs as long as they were on a leash. So Sheba was delighted that she got to come along. However, the trail is very narrow which, combined with the crazy number of people on the trail, made Sheba a bit nervous at times. But she did very well for the most part and seemed to really enjoy the hike.
How did we like the hike? I’m glad you asked! It was amazing!! Being in the canyon the temperature was cool and the scenery along the way was amazing. Even though I dislike crowds, the rushing river, misting waterfalls, the smell of pine, the deep green mossy rocks and being with friends and family made it easy to forget the crowds. There are two sets of falls, the first being only a half mile up the trail and the 2nd being another mile beyond. Both are quite impressive but long lines form to be able to get to a spot where you can really get a good view of the falls. We all toughed it out waiting our turn at the upper falls but Brielle, Sheba and I opted out of the lower falls view. There were plenty of other places to enjoy the falls that had much fewer people to contend with. I kept thinking how weird it was that we had traveled so far to spend a morning hiking with some friends that only live a few blocks from us back home. But it made an already amazingly wonderful hiking experience just that much better! Thank you for sharing your day with us Tillery family!
Waiting for Tillery's
Ready to hike
Who is the photographer
River from above
Rainbow across river
All the kids
On the walkway
Dacen and James
Moss and trees
At upper falls
Fam at the falls
The whole gang
Me and my baby
After saying goodbye to the Tillerys we headed toward Lake Louise but stopped along the way for a picnic. At the village area near Lake Louise we were looking for the information center so Brielle could get Jr Ranger stuff. We missed the turn and were headed to the lake. I decided to try to turn around which ended up being pretty Clark-like as I was blocking traffic jockying back and forth to get the crew cab, long beded Beast turned around on the narrow mountain road. Oh well, we all get some dumb tourist coupons to use. I dropped the family off at the info center and went to find a place to park in the filled-to-capacity parking lot. I was about to give up when I found this huge area with plenty of parking…score!! Sheba and I walked over to the info center to meet up with the family. Water bottles filled and Jr. Ranger book in hand I led the family back to the truck to proudly show them my awesome parking space. “Did you not see the sign that said, ‘no parking beyond this point‘?” Steph asked. Dumb tourist coupon number 2 redeemed!!
Lake Louise is a sight to behold. The water is a turquoise blue like the Caribbean water some of it might eventually become. The backdrop of Victoria Glacier just puts it over the top! And the sea of people trying to get pictures of it is a bit comical. Every step you take further from the parking lot the number of people drops dramatically. We finally found a spot where we could get some photos without a bunch of other tourons in our pictures and snapped away. There was a 1 mile trail around the lake that Brielle was not interested in doing so Steph stayed back with her while the boys and I hustled to go around the lake. I figured if we huffed it we could make it in 30 minutes. The hike (really more of a walk) was really pretty but a mile later we were at the other end of the lake and realized that “around the lake” meant “around to the other side of the lake”. We took a few quick pictures and then high tailed it back as we were going to be way later than 30 minutes. Luckily the girls had kept themselves occupied working on Jr Ranger stuff, enjoying a coffee and people watching and were not worried about us.
Me and my hunny
The 6 of us
Lake Louise and Victoria Glacier
At the other side of lake
We stopped back by the info center to get Brielle’s Jr Ranger badge (actually they do these rubber dog tags in the Canadian parks) and then decided to take the longer way home. It afforded us the opportunity to see different scenery and it would put us in the decent sized town of Golden so we could treat ourselves to a dinner at a restaurant. The first place we stopped was a pizza joint that got bad reviews so we looked up another pizza joint that had really good reviews. A mile later we found a parking spot right in front of the restaurant but before shutting off the motor we noticed a sign.
CLOSED due to power outage…estimated reopening at 8:00pm
Bummer….we were really in the mood for pizza and 8:00 was 2 hours away….plus we still had an hour drive to get back home. So we looked up a different restaurant and headed there. As we were trying to park one of the employees came over to tell us that the power was out in the entire valley so, just like the pizza joint, they were not open either. We decided to just keep trucking and try a little cafe at the next town…which ended up being closed too. In the end, we ate at The Rig (I figured we should give our house a restaurant name so we felt like we were eating out). We had plenty of left overs and the kids wanted pancakes so I fired up the griddle for some dinner flapjacks.
To finish out the day the boys and I played horseshoes. The evening was just perfect….70 degrees, no wind, quiet, beautiful views, tired bodies, full bellies and, what’s that you say? Steph and Brielle were making root beer floats….wooooohoooooo!!!! Another absolutely amazing day!!