This road trip felt very different from our first. I think we learned quite a bit during our first leg about the things we liked and things we didn't. For sure we spent more time in National Parks and in a "camping" environment, rather than always staying in RV parks. We started off on a really high note, visiting a place that has been on my bucket list for a long time - Banff National Park!
If you've never gone I urge you to make an effort to see this natural wonder. The trees, the mountains, the clear blue water - all of it is so stunning! We made a solid drive from the afternoon we left BC to arrive at Lake Louise in less than 24 hours. We decided to camp at the Lake Louise campground and I'm so glad that we did. The views at the lake were stunning in both cloud and sunshine. There's something about the mountains and water that just make me feel alive and happy.
Halle took every opportunity she had to stick her hand into the water, and she was beyond impressed by how blue it was. Even Nolan would squeal with excitement every time he saw the water.
It was nice to see the mountains surrounded in clouds, the moodiness of it. The clouds and cool temperatures during that afternoon kept the crowds away as well. The following day we visited both Moraine Lake and Lake Louise in the sun and it was even more breathtaking being able to see those impressive peaks beyond the lakes edge. There is just something about snowy peaks that make me feel at home. As much as we are headed to the east coast, my heart will always remain in the mountains!
While Lake Louise is far easier to travel around with walking paths and boardwalks, Moraine Lake had a much more lovely view, residing in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. I was so glad that Brett insisted we see both lakes in the sun before we packed up camp.
Our second visit to Lake Louise was much shorter - just to get a sunny view of it and a family photo. I was so thankful that we asked the kind stranger we did to take a photo of us. He knew his way around my camera and captured my favourite family photo from all of our travels. Even Halle wanted to pose all on her own, and I loved the photos I captured of my little beauty in front of this natural Canadian wonder.
Exploring the remainder of Banff took my breath away. The scenic highway through the park to the town of Banff was beautiful. Lucky for us we had a napping baby and enjoyed the towering trees and clear blue rivers and lakes. Again, it was the mountains that most won me over. I'll never tire of snow covered peaks set against a brilliant blue sky.
I wish we'd had more time to spend in the area - especially to head further north to see the Ice Fields and Jasper. We didn't get to hike as much as we'd like either, but that is something that we are often limited to with such small kids. Halle's little legs can't always handle the distance or inclines that Brett and I would like to do. We've agreed that we will need to revisit these iconic Canadian parks in the Rockies when the kids are a little older, so we can see and experience more than we did during our short visit at the end of May.
Nolan most definitely is our little bottomless pit!
The view out our trailer door at Chain Lakes Provincial Park in Alberta
We made a few more stops north of the border in Alberta. Stopping in Canmore for some beer and small bites and then camping at Chain Lakes Provincial Park south of Calgary. We had a beautiful campsite with grassy vistas, and a quiet place to camp during the rain storm that rolled in. I love that on rainy nights we'll gather around our dinette to play a game with Halle. We definitely make the most of rainy evenings, turning them into quality family time instead of time around the TV. I love those silly bonding moments where we all laugh and enjoy ourselves.
After a restful night we had the most incredible experience at Waterton Lakes National Park in southern Alberta. The Park is actually an extension of Glacier National Park in Montana, and not only are the views incredible, but the wildlife is very cool as well. We took a drive into the Bison enclosure and had our first experience with these huge animals. We had no clue what the rest of our trip had in store for us, so we were excited to see these animals up close and personal in Alberta. (We remained in our car and always kept a safe distance from them... don't worry).
Oh Alberta! Those majestic Rockies, blue water and wildlife won us over! There's so much we haven't seen in the province, but we know that won't be our only visit there. I'm just glad we made it before we left behind the West Coast...