Destination: Banff/Jasper, Canadian Rockies
When: June 10-13, 2004
Itinerary: Flew into Calgary, rented a car and drove the Canadian Rockies
I surprised Ross with a trip to the Canadian Rockies for our 6th wedding anniversary. He had no idea we were going until the morning our flight left. We woke up at 5:30am and I started hauling suitcases out of the closet. I think he thought I had lost my mind! I had arranged with his employer for him to have time off, arranged for the kids to go to grandma and grandpa’s and had the whole trip planned. He didn’t have a clue! It was one of the best trips we have ever taken.
We arrived at the Calgary airport and got our rental car. It took about an hour to get to Banff. We checked into our hotel, The Douglas Fir, and were very impressed with it. All rooms there have a real, wood-burning flireplace and full kitchens. We walked around downtown Banff, had dinner one night at The Keg (YUM!) and another night at the Old Spaghetti Factory. We did some shopping and a lot of driving! We found that the more we drove, the more wildlife we saw. We put over 1100 miles on our rental car in three days!
We drove through Banff National Park to Jasper National Park and stayed in Jasper at Becker’s Chalets. We saw the most wildlife in Jasper. Overall, we saw literally hundreds of elk, black bears, and wolves. Our wildest story from Jasper is one of a momma elk; she must not have liked a black bear snooping around too close to her baby, so she chased after the bear and treed him! It was amazing that we watched the whole encounter unfold before our eyes! I have pictures of the momma elk standing under the black bear who climbed up in the tree to get away from her. We watched the elk, who watched the bear, who was trying to figure out how the heck to get out of the mess he was in! The bear climbed all the way to the top of the tree before scampering back down and running away. Good job, momma elk! And to think I got it all on film!
We spent some time in Jasper. If you go, you have to stop for dinner at Jasper Pizza. What a fun, delicious place to eat! There are plenty of places to shop and see. The drive to Jasper itself is an attraction!
My Recommendations: GO! Rent a car and get out there and explore every nook and cranny you can! Get out on the road early in the morning or at dusk when the animals are most active. Dress in layers. Bring binoculars. Having a raincoat along would be good, too. Remember, it is illegal to disrupt the wildlife in any way. Observe them from your vehicle and don’t feed them. Go and let yourself take in the beauty of God’s creation!