Over the Christmas holidays my fiancee and I were quite busy. We went to London, Ontario to see my family and then headed to Edmonton so I could meet a large portion of her family I hadn’t met yet. I was accepted with such gracious hospitality and warmth, my nervous hands were calmed right away. They took me in as their own.
Edmonton was a blast and we couldn’t wait to see more of Alberta. We picked up our rental car and the next day we made the four hour drive from Edmonton to Banff.
And finally after 8 pit stops, we were there.
Tired, hungry and completely in awe of Banff so far, we settled into a cozy restaurant called the Maple Leaf and made some plans. Eager and open-eyed, we hit the streets to check out the local shops and explore the town. Even as a Canadian, I found myself getting excited about the Canadiana that seemed to be absolutely oozing out of every corner of this town.
I was surprised at just how proud I was feeling as a Canadian being there. I began to realize that in my very brief international travel experience, I’ve always put an emphasis on the idea that if you really want to see amazing things in this world you need to leave North America.
I’ve always felt that Canada is the best country in the world to live in and to raise a family in and I’ve always carried a huge sense of pride about my identity as a Canadian.
But this. This brought something new to that whole feeling. This trip really opened my eyes to the fact that we are not only the very best country in the world to live in and raise a family in, but we’re also one of the most beautiful.
The next day we woke up early, spread open the hotel curtains, and worked away on our laptops waiting for the sunrise (which we found out waking up at 5 AM was going to be a 3 hour wait). I wrote some CrossFit programming for my gym while Valerie completed some tasks for an early January deadline.
This was to be our only full day here so we wanted to get the most out of it possible. It started with a trip to the Banff Hot Springs which opened at 10 AM. I loved it…! But Valerie didn’t share my excitement- something about us being in bathing suits in -27 degrees C… She wasn’t happy with me.
After a brisk dip in the hot springs we made tracks to Lake Louise where we planned on a big hike and lots of outdoor adventure. But we turned out to be a couple of cold Ontarians not ready for the -40 degree windchill.
Instead, we quickly marched to the Fairmont and warmed our bellies up with some travel Paleo luncheon. But still, something was awry. My sweetheart was not letting me out of the doghouse for dragging her to the hot springs earlier that morning. Something needed to be done. Something was missing.
We walked through the hotel lobby and I dug deep inside of me to think of just the right words to say to cheer her up and to let her know how special she is to me and just before I could open up my heart and speak… she found a turtle… (of the dark chocolate, caramel and pecan variety) which was then purchased, and suddenly, everything came whirling back into place and completely restored Val’s cheer to full capacity, and our day was back on.
Back out to Lake Louise we went to take some photos, selfies, and to soak in our surroundings before we headed back to Banff.
And I was struck again by the enormity of the mountains. I couldn’t help but to feel a sense of humility standing in the middle of the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.
As I looked at these spikes sticking into the sky, morsels of my inner stress and anxiety began to melt away.
Everything inside of me that I was worried or stressed about just didn’t seem to compare. It was really emotional and I actually didn’t fully make sense of until I looked back at it later on.
Despite the towering beauty surrounding us, chilling temperatures prevailed and we made our way back to Banff where we warmed up by the fire at the hotel’s bar before dinner.
That night, over lots of laughs and great food at the Bison, we agreed that we needed to come back for a longer visit. Val not being a huge outdoors person, I was elated by her openness to go back because I feel there is something there for me.
Something in the feeling you get when looking upwards at the 3,612m of rock jacked-knifed into the never ending blue Alberta sky.
There was something about Banff that seemed to automatically categorize and prioritize all the worries that puff themselves up inside my head into a proper sequence of importance and relevance, even if just for a little while.
I’m not exactly sure what part of Alberta, Banff and Lake Louise I loved most but I just know that I have to see it again.
Below is a short compilation of some photos and video we took on our short few days there.
Hope you enjoy! Please like, comment and share!!!