My husband gave me an amazing gift for my birthday this year – a trip to Banff together with three of our nieces, Beth, Sara and Grace. Oh the memories we made in those 7 days of exploring and adventure!
It all started on Thursday, July 6th with a drive to Dryden to pick up the girls then off to Winnipeg for an overnight before our morning flight. The car was loaded to the rafters with our suitcases as the speakers blasted some of the girls’ favourite tunes for singing along on the ride.
Friday morning we were up early and off to the airport. For Sara and Grace this was their first time in an airplane and the nervous excitement was palpable! With only slight confusion, we navigated our way through baggage drop-off, security and onto the plane and in just a couple of hours we were in Calgary, ready for the real adventure to begin.
First stop for our hungry crew was lunch at Peter’s Drive Thru where delicious burgers, fries, and milkshakes were devoured in the sunshine. Mmmm – tasty!
Next, we piled into the car for the drive to Banff. As we got nearer to our destination, the awesomeness of the Rocky Mountains came into full view – such a beautiful drive!
We arrived at the Fox Hotel & Suites and got everything unpacked, then out for dinner and our first walk down Banff Avenue. So much to see and so many people from all over the world on the sidewalk around us!
On Friday, the fun began in earnest with a trip to the top of the mountains on the Banff Gondola. We spent hours exploring the paths, walkways and interpretive centre.
After lunch we headed to our next destination, The Cave & Basin Historic Site to see where Banff’s famous hot springs were first discovered in 1883. The smell of sulfur filled the air – quite a powerful stench! Then a quick stop at the Banff Parks Museum to end our fun-filled day.
The girls wouldn’t let the day end without a trip to the Upper Hot Springs before bed, so off we went at 10pm for a soak with 100+ strangers while the sun went down.
Saturday’s itinerary required a bit of travel so we piled in the car and headed down the Bow Valley Parkway to Johnston Canyon for a hike to the upper and lower falls. This activity was definitely the highlight for me, despite the aching legs that followed!
After a late lunch, we continued west to Lake Louise. Sara and Grace decided on a swim in the glacier-fed lake (brr!) while Beth and I lounged in the shade.
Sunday morning we were all feeling the effects of our multi-kilometre hike so decided on an adventure that would allow a little less walking. Off to Minnewanka Lake for a boat cruise tour!
And then a few more tourist-y spots to see.
On Monday, our journey home began as we loaded the car to drive back to Calgary. A stop at the Luge Ride and Heritage Park were the perfect way to spend our final day of vacation.
Priceless moments that we will all remember for years to come! Thanks for the memories, Banff!