For me, one of the hardest parts of living in Japan was being far away from my beloved Rocky Mountains. I spent most of my childhood weekends there, and the homesick feeling I felt for them never disappeared during my 3 years living abroad. Back when I lived in Canada I used to take for granted living only an hour away from some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. But that isn’t true any longer. After a 3-year hiatus I’m one eager beaver to go hiking, kayaking and snowboarding in beautiful Canadian nature as much as possible!
My parents, knowing me all too well, had anticipated this. Immediately after my birthday we packed up the tent-trailer and headed out camping for 4 days. On our first day we headed up to Yoho National Park, set up the trailer, and afterwards decided that we’d go kayaking on Emerald Lake to kickstart our adventure!
I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I saw Emerald Lake again. Doesn’t the clear aquamarine water look like something out of dream? The weather was hot and sunny so I couldn’t wait to get out on the water!
That’s me on my little inflatable kayak borrowed off our family friend Laura (thanks Laura!) which we affectionately nicknamed The Banana Boat!
After a couple hours of kayaking my upper arms were exhausted. I haven’t been kayaking in nearly 3-years so I’ve got little chicken wings without nearly enough muscle, though that’s due to change now that I can go kayaking any time I want! So we set up some chairs and an umbrella, whipped out our books from the dry sacks, cracked open some beer, and lounged around reading for a bit, peeking up every so often from our page to look at the magnificent view before us.
We woke up frighteningly early the next morning (at least for someone still suffering from terrible jet lag, ugh!) but my grumpy grizzly bear demeanour disappeared in an instant when I smelled bacon sizzling. I smiled when I saw mom beginning to whip up a batch of blueberry pancakes, something of a Bell Family Tradition when camping and trundled sleepily over to lend a hand! Even when we’re in the middle of the wilderness The Bell Clan still eats like kings!
After lunch we drove down the road to the very famous Lake Louise for our second afternoon of kayaking. It wasn’t quite as sunny as I was hoping, but still breathtaking once you got out on the water.
Mom and dad were pretty happy to finally be checking this dream off their bucket list. They’ve been talking about kayaking on Lake Louise ever since they first bought their kayaks 5 years ago!! I was happy to be the perfect catalyst, nothing like having your kid come home to shake things up! As the sun began to set and cast a rosy glow over the surrounding mountains we called it quits because our feet were feeling frozen. The water in these lakes is glacier fed, so even during the hottest summer period it’s frighteningly cold water.
We were a little nervous when we woke up on the 3rd day because it was pretty windy. We killed a bit of time lounging around the campsite reading, waiting until the wind died down a bit, then we headed over to Lake Moraine. In my opinion this lake has the prettiest colour water of them all. It’s just SO blue!
We got half way out and the wind picked up…uh oh! The wind really was a teensy bit of a problem in an inflatable kayak. It took all my effort not to be swept away! I was moving about as fast as a turtle swimming through molasses. So my dad decided to hitch me to his kayak with a rope, he tugged me along and I paddled as hard as I could to keep up.
We paddled all the way across the lake before we beached the kayaks for lunch. We had worked up quite the appetite battling the wind, and I practically inhaled my ginormous pita sandwich. We feasted on fresh BC cherries for dessert and said for the one-hundreth-and-one time how lucky we felt to be there together enjoying such beauty.
The heavens opened the floodgates on our final day, and it was supposed to rain heavily all day. We were pretty tuckered out after 3 solid days of kayaking, and so we decided our hike could wait for another day. We drove into Banff and spent the afternoon looking at art in the many art galleries and eating simply divine pizza at The Bear Street Tavern. The food was to die for, I got The Big Bird Pizza which was loaded with pesto, bacon, chicken, goat cheese, mozzarella, spinach and onions. The craft beer was extra tasty after 3 years of only Asahi, Kirin or Sapporo to choose from! If you’re looking for a good restaurant in Banff I’d really recommend checking it out! You know a place is pretty darn yummy when it’s featured on the t.v. show You Gotta Eat Here.
You can check out their website here.