Sunday, 27 July 2014

Canadian adventure :: Jasper & The Canadian

I'll start with an apology for the long lag in my posting. We travelled across Canada by train while we didn't hit the most remote parts of the country we certainly didn't have cell or web access for days. Upon our arrival in Toronto we were thrust into wedding whirlwind - and we've literally only just emerged.

Speaking of which a sneak peek at my absolutely radiant sister!

So Jasper. Amazing. Love it. Would return in a heartbeat without a doubt my favourite part of the Rockies. Banff is very commercial, Lake Louise is very touristy, but Jasper feels like a town real people live in. (Probably because they do).

It was incredibly hot in Jasper - too hot to do much hiking, but too hot to hike means hot enough for a mountain lake!

We just enjoyed the sunny weather and the (smokey) views of the mountains (there we're forest fires in the area).

Wee man enjoyed some antics in the tent - aka a really big play pen - and we realised that he can be completely entertained by toggles, zips, buttons, and tags. Oh and burying himself in sleeping bags is hysterical!

We ended our time in Jasper by boarding the Canadian - the train that crosses Canada. I have always wanted to do the trip by rail and when the fares went on special in June we decided this year was as good as any! Wee-man was the star of the show, of course. How could he not be?

The day on the train goes like this: wake, eat (an excellent) breakfast, return to your carriage and nap, read a bit, eat (an amazing) lunch, read/nap/look out the window/chat with your travelling partner/get a coffee, eat (a scrumptious) dinner, retire for bed. Talk about relaxing!

Our cabin had two bunks, a toilet and a sink. All our meals, in a white linen dining car, were included and delicious! Really we enjoyed our time so so much. The experience is relaxing and enjoyable and time just seems to pass - one morning we all napped for two hours! Bliss.

We ended our train journey in Toronto. Where we were met by Grandpa and then entered the 'wedding zone'.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Canadian adventure :: Lake Louise

Lake Louise is about an hour north of Banff and truly it is a nature's playground - if you can get away from the tourists! On our way up we experienced exactly what I had in mind for this trip - roadside picnics!

We arrived in Banff and took a stroll down the Lake Louise path - it was a zoo! And really, if I were to do this trip again, I'd increase our time in Jasper or Banff at the expense of Lake Louise - the crowds are immense and seemingly inescapable.

Day 2 we decided to hike up to the Lake Agnes Tea House - us and half the world!

At the top of the hike we were rewarded with a great view and some pretty decent poppyseed lemon loaf!

Day Three we hung around camp for a while, enjoying pancakes and eggs (who says you can't eat well while camping? A whole post on camping eats coming up!).

Eventually we decided to go out to Moraine Lake - arguably a more enjoyable experience and therefore many believe, a prettier one. We headed up the path to Consolation Lakes. This trail has a mandatory group of four rule - bears are a reality here in the Rockies and hiking in groups of four or more is a proven deterrent. We waited at the trailhead and ended up joining a family from Windsor ON, which is about as close to finding people from your backyard as I could hope for. This trail was much less busy - we maybe saw 20 other hikers during the three hours it took there and back. But the peacefulness and the final destination were definitely worth it!

Might I just say that le boy has done an incredible job acting as chief baby packer? Wee-man and I appreciate it so much!

Today we headed up to Jasper - via the Icefields Parkway - amazing but again massively commercialised.

It's super hot this week so I think we might forego hiking in favour of a lake and the beach!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Canadian adventure :: Banff

As previously mentioned we are camping for much of this trip - it's cost effective and fun! And we really enjoy camping so we thought we should introduce the wee-man early on.

The drive from Calgary is an easy hour and a half - definitely another big plus for Calgary! As you leave
the city the mountains start to become more clear and then you are confronted with this:

Truly spectacular!

We arrived at our campground early evening and we we're vey impressed. Two Jack Lakeside is a smaller campground right on the edge of Two Jack Lake.

From some of the reading I'd done ahead of time we were worried we might be the only ones crazy enough to camp with an infant - but actually the campground was full of children of all ages and LOTS of babies! No guilty feelings when wee-man started fussing early in the morning! He's actually taken to camping very well and on the whole we're enjoying camping with a baby.

We took the gondola up Sulphur Mountain for some extra special views.

And just enjoyed the town of Banff - which I have to say marries the best of European alpine flair with North American sensibility - free parking and a reasonably sized grocery store!

Our time in Banff finished with a short hike around Johnson Lake. Next up - Lake Louise.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Canadian adventure :: Calgary Days 1-4

Firstly, I have to admit, Calgary completely exceeded my expectations. I clearly had some Ontario bias that I had to get past - lesson learned. Calgary was incredible. It is the height of summer so no dealing with frigid temperatures or arctic winds - it's been a glorious 25 or more every day, the sun has been shining and the sky is BLUE - so so blue.

Our first night saw us arrive at the camping store 30 min before close. The money we spent in that time might be record making - let's just say they were very happy to see us (as they were on Monday and Tuesday!).

We put a very tired mommy, daddy and baby to bed rather early, but regardless 4am came early!

Monday we went to the number one breakfast spot in town and it's easy to see why OEB Breakfasts don't fool around. We quickly followed with analog coffee - incredible!!

Our trip happened to coincide with the Calgary Stampede - think fair meets agricultural show meets rodeo - on steroids. It's incredible - very family friendly and so so much fun. We watched a very moving (for me) flag raising with a drum circle of Native Canadians, enjoyed some really good food and went to the rodeo - there was no fooling around!

The day ended on 17th Ave which is the peak of boutique shops and restaurants with dinner at Clive Burger - a very very good burger indeed - but then you'd hope so in the heart of cattle country.

Tuesday we went to Drumheller to see one of the world's finest dinosaur museums - in the heart of the Alberta Badlands - Alberta is home to some of the finest dinosaur bone and fossil deposits in the world. And this museum was incredible, I was only sorry that wee man isn't older - this place is paradise for a little boy.

Dinner back in Calgary at Brewsters was really fantastic as was the surprisingly refreshing Raspberry Beer. We ended the evening grocery shopping for our camping trip.

Wednesday we returned to OEB Breakfast - we needed a second round! Packing up and organising the car has been the name of the game today - lunch at Market has just capped off our Calgary experience - and now we're getting ready to head into the mountains for a week of fun, camping, hiking and nature - with a 7 mo - pray for us!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Location:Calgary, AB

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

oh canada.

happy canada day!

this year we're particularly thrilled to celebrate my 'home and native land' as we're about to embark on a cross-canada adventure.

before we were married we listed ten core values for our family. the first is our relationship with god. the second, our relationship with each other. the third, our family. somewhere further down the list but not at the bottom, is adventure. also appearing is travel. and learning.

the mountains are beckoning. we're camping - with a seven month old. then a train journey across canada to toronto. aptly named 'the canadian.' the midpoint - the highlight - a wedding between the two most fabulous andi(y)s in the world. and then east-coasting.

we're excited for what's in store. we feel on the edge of new things. we feel expectant. i love this feeling.

currently stocking up on: books, knitting ideas, baby travel gear.