Mountains, Lakes, and Friends in the Rockies

I think it is finally time for me to tell you about Frieda’s and my exciting trip! I’ve been at my apartment in Vancouver for a week now and I have some free time to sit down and write this entry.

So, are you ready for an epic road trip? Buckle up and join us on our 1300 km long journey through Canada’s West.

Day 1:

On Friday morning (July 15th) Frieda and I went to the car rental to get our car. After packing all of our belongings at the AirBnB, we finally started our journey through the Rockies.

With a lot of motivation and excitement, we drove towards our first destination, Banff. Known for its blue lakes, beautiful nature, and massive mountains, we really could not wait to reach one of our bucket list goals. As soon as we left Calgary, we were already able to see the mountain range.

Our first stop of the day was Johnson Lake, located a few minutes outside of Banff. Here we started our first smaller hike to get into the rhythm and walked around 3 km around the lake. While it was full of people closer to the parking lot, the other side of the lake was empty, and we were able to enjoy the serene scenery and nature.

Afterwards we drove to the foot of the Cascade Mountain and climbed up towards the Cascade Falls. The ascend was short but steep and we were rewarded with a beautiful view of the valley beneath the mountain.

Our last stop of the day was our hostel in Banff where we had dinner and prepared for our big hike the next day.

Song of the Day:
Auf und Davon – Casper

Day 2:

Since there are many wild animals in Canada it is sometimes required to hike in a group of four or more people to be safe in the forest. This means that Frieda and I had to come up with a solution and we found it through a Facebook group. There we met some amazing people and we planned our next hike together. So, on Saturday morning we met up at Lake Minnewanka with Govind, Kenzie, Nic, and Rushi and started our challenging but exciting hike. Although we didn’t know each other before, our group immediately clicked, and the beginning of the hike was spent talking and getting to know each other. For the first 8 km we walked along the lake towards a campground, and it went relatively easy.

After reaching the campground we started the 4km ascend to the Aylmer Lookout. Although it was very rough and steep at some points, the view of the lake was very rewarding and after 4 hours we finally reached our goal. We spent our lunchtime overlooking Lake Minnewanka and enjoying the weather and the view.

Well rested and with some food in our bellies we started our journey back to the parking lot which went a lot quicker than the ascend. At the end of the hike, we had another ascend in front of us, but we arrived happily at the Lake where we cooled down our feet and rested a bit.

This is us before, during, and after the hike:

After 8 hours and around 23 km in total, we decided to reward us by going to a pub in Banff and spend the rest of the evening together. In general, it was an amazing hike with great company. Plans for future hikes have already been made and I cannot wait to see them all again!

After our dinner, Frieda and I still had to drive to our next hostel in Lake Louise, where we checked in and immediately fell into our beds.

Song of the Day:
On Top Of The World – Imagine Dragons

Day 3:

One should think that we would need a lot of rest and sleep after the hike the day before. Well, no. Since we’re only young once, we decided to get up at 3am the next morning. Our destination?

Moraine Lake, a beautiful place known for its amazing sunrises. Since the parking lot usually closes around 4:30 in the morning, we had to arrive pretty early.

In the dark and with 10° Celsius we sat down on the stones at the foot of the lake and looked at the stars and then watched the beautiful sunrise. Although it was so early and pretty cold, it had been an amazing experience and worth getting up. After enjoying some quiet hours in nature, we started to notice our lack of sleep and decided to head back to the hostel for some more rest.

Here’s a time lapse of the sunrise:

On our way back from the parking lot we were surprised to see a grizzly bear mama and its cub on the side of the road.

What an experience!

Back at the hostel we slept for a couple more hours and then decided to head back to Banff for the afternoon. There we strolled through the village and spent the rest of the day in a small café.

Song of the Day:
Sunrise – Norah Jones

Day 4:

Well rested and ready for the next adventure we started our Monday motivated and excited. After packing our car, we drove to Lake Louise where we met up with Nic to start our next hike. Our goal was the Big Beehive which is the round mountain on the right-hand side in the picture.

The first stop on the trail was Mirror Lake which is located on the foot of the mountain.

From there we hiked up to the Tea house and Lake Agnes where we had a small lunch to prepare for the rest of the hike.

Going around Lake Agnes and hiking up the switchbacks we finally made it to the top of the Big Beehive.

Although the last part was pretty steep and exhausting, the view was so rewarding! Looking down on Lake Louise with its teal color and the boats looking like little ants was an amazing experience and well worth the hike!

After a relaxing lunch break, we started the descend and arrived back at Lake Louise after 5 hours. In total we hiked about 11 km.

Our next stop was the small town square of Lake Louise where we had a coffee break, did some grocery shopping, and said goodbye to Nic. From here, we started our journey to Jasper. The road between Banff and Jasper is called the Icefields Parkway and it is one of the most beautiful and scenic drives in the world. Between mountains and glaciers, the road takes you straight to Jasper while driving though untouched nature. Directly on the side of the road, we spotted some black bears which were just chilling and eating.

Our destination of the day was the Beauty Creek Wilderness Hostel which is roughly located in between the two towns. Here, we would spend the next two days in total isolation of the world. Since this place is a wilderness hostel, we didn’t have any power, running water, or cell service. We enjoyed our evening by relaxing at the campfire with the other campers.

Song of the Day:
View – Addy Ace

Day 5:

To fully use the phone free time, Frieda and I spent the morning just relaxing and reading. It was amazing to just put down everything, disconnect from the world and enjoy our time on holiday.

In the afternoon, we drove to the Stanley Falls which were close to our hostel and went hiking. Since the water comes straight from the glaciers it had a beautiful blue color and was amazing to look at.

Later in the evening, we walked along the river behind our hostel and ended our time in the Jasper National Park with a rainbow and a beautiful sunset.

Song of the Day:
Foot Of The Mountain – a-ha

Day 6:

The next morning, we started our journey to Jasper. Since we had our longest drive of the road trip in front of us, we only stopped for a short time to get gas and coffee. Afterwards, we started our journey to Kamloops. While crossing the border of British Columbia, we also drove into another time zone.

The drive was pretty exciting since British Columbia is very diverse in nature. After exiting the Rockies, we were surrounded by huge valleys with flowing rivers and sandy mountains. From the greenery of the trees, we drove straight into what looked like the Grand Canyon and the temperatures started to rise immediately.

After 5 hours, we finally arrived at our AirBnB in Kamloops where we enjoyed the luxury of a shower and a huge TV by just relaxing, cooling down, and escaping the heat. Since the owners of the AirBnB were busy in the evening, we were blessed by the company of Gus who didn’t want to spend the evening by himself 😊

Song of the Day:

Day 7:

Per the recommendation of our AirBnB host, we started our day by driving to the Desert Hills Ranch in Ashcroft. Although it was a little detour from our actual route it was worth the visit. The ranch had many cute animals and a big farmers market where we bought some fresh cherries and peaches.

The next stop was Joffree Lakes Park, which has three big lakes that you can hike to. Because the heat was just exhausting and we noticed the general exhaustion of the past few days, we only hiked to the first lake and halfway up to the second one.

The rest of the day was spent by driving to Whistler and settling into the hostel, which is located in the village built for the Winter Olympics of 2010.

Song of the Day:
the lakes – Taylor Swift

Day 8:

In the hostel, we’ve met two German girls, Alicia and Maja, and together we decided to go hiking today. Our first destination was the abandoned train wreck which crashed in the 1950s. Today, the wreck is used by graffiti artists to practice and display their art. It was cool to see the train up close and how it has merged and integrated into the surrounding nature over the past decades.

After torturing our car up a pretty beaten-up path, we made it to our next destination: Cheakamus Lake. Here we started our last hike of the trip and saw some animals like squirrels and birds along the scenic path.

The hike took around 15 km in total and once we dropped off the girls at the hostel, we started our last leg of the journey. After a short lunch break, we finally reached our destination Vancouver. Here, we checked into the hostel and dropped off our car after cleaning it out.

Song of the Day:
Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne

In total, our whole trip lasted for about 1500 km and 19,5 hours of driving. We saw and experienced so many different things and met great people on the way! We were able to discover the Rockies and connect to nature.

For the last few days of Frieda’s stay in Vancouver we explored the city and Vancouver Island. But this will be a blog entry for another time.

Until then, thanks for joining us on our trip!

Song of the Week:
Roadtripsong – Abby Cates

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