Canada, The Land of Maple trees, Glaciers and Wilderness
Well hello procrastination..... Here it is November already and I have not edited many photos or written about my trip to Canada at the beginning of October. Canada you say? Yes!! Canada! It's hard to believe that 4 weeks have already passed since my vacation to Canada.
I wanted to plan a vacation somewhere that I have never been before, and Canada seemed like the perfect fit. I had done some research online and came across Waterton Lakes National Park. It is the Canadian area of USA's Glacier National Park, and was recommended for those that wanted great outdoor opportunities, but not as crowded with people as Banff National Park. Sounded perfect! So I booked the hotel, and flights for my boyfriend and I, and marked it in my calendar. We picked the beginning of October because we wanted the opportunity to see the Fall colors and maybe even some snow.
Sometimes life throws obstacles at you, and you have to conquer them no matter what. So we get to about a month before our trip, when I start hearing about wildfires in the western part of the USA and Canada. First I heard and read about wildfires in Montana, which reached up into areas of Glacier National Park, and then possible danger of wildfires spreading to Waterton Lakes National Park. The last thing that I wanted to do was cancel my trip. I monitored the National Park and Forestry reports every couple of days. Two weeks before the trip they issued a mandatory evacuation order for Waterton Lakes National Park. My heart sank. I thought about all the wildlife, the plants and trees that would be affected. The people's homes that were at risk, and their farms. At this point it was not looking good for a destination that I could visit and take photographs of the beautiful surrounding area. I began looking at alternatives. Somewhere that I could visit with still flying into Calgary airport, and using my car rental for the same time period.
So despite reading about Banff National Park being one of the top destinations for travelers across the globe, I began looking at that as an alternative option for vacation. It certainly had tons to offer for outdoor exploring and photo opportunities. And it was only a 2 hour drive from Calgary, compared to about 3.5-4 hour drive to Waterton Lakes. Luckily my hotel for Waterton Lakes had a cancellation policy with no fee, so I was able to book another hotel in Dead Man's Flats near Banff National Park.
Sometimes when you come across obstacles, and you find ways around them, you discover that your alternate route might be better than the original one intended. As you can see from the image above, I could not have asked for a better trip in visiting Banff National Park. The above photo was taken at dusk just behind my hotel where the Bow River bends it's way along Alberta. The fall leaves had just peaked, and the first night we were there it snowed just enough to cover the mountain tops and ground. The evergreens smelled so fresh and wonderful, and the water was so clear. Everywhere that you looked it seemed was an awesome photo opportunity. Among the places we ventured to during our 7 days, we managed to explore glaciers, hiking trails, waterfalls, gorges, glacial lakes, interesting birds and wildlife, great food, and a mountain top teahouse. We fell in love with Banff, and we certainly want to go back for a visit someday.
Steller's Jay bird, the provincial bird of British Columbia