The Rockies Canada

Linda Chisholm on 06 September 2007

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Western Canada, and the Rockies in particular is one of my favourite destinations. To celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary I planned a self drive trip across from Calgary to Vancouver Island. We had been before, so I planned a slightly different route this time. One place I did not want to miss though was Lake Louise. The pictures you see of this beautiful place do not do it justice. Just to sit in front of the Chateau Lake Louise, gazing at the lake itself is so calming. It changes before your very eyes. If you can afford to stay here then it is worth having the lake view, I can guarantee it is a view you will never forget. If this is outside your budget there are plenty of other places you can stay nearby. We drove from Calgary to Banff which only takes about 1.5 hours. Banff is a lovely town and a trip up Sulphur Mountain in the Gondola is a must. Followed by tea at the Banff Springs Hotel, or maybe a soak in the Banff Hot Springs at the base of the mountain. If you love wildlife and walking then this is the place to go. We drove from Banff to Lake Louise which only takes an hour, stopping en route to walk up the Johnsons Pass. When you first enter the National Park you are given a newspaper detailing all the beauty spots to stop at for that picture opportunity, and also various walks; it even grades them for you. We have been to Jasper on our last trip so decided instead to drive across into Alberta on the Trans Canadian Highway. Despite the name this is not like the M25. The scenery is breathtaking and we made various stops en route before arriving at another favourite destination of ours, Lac Le Jeune. This is a very basic looking hotel that sits on the edge of the lake itself. The position of this, and the friendliness of the staff, more than makes up for the fairly basic accommodation. The food was excellent also. Onwards to Vancouver where we stayed for a couple of nights. One of the 'must see' trips here is Capilano Canyon. If you are brave enough to walk across the rope bridge straddling the canyon, then you will not regret it. There is so much to see and do in and around Vancouver. Grouse Mountain, yes another Gondola ride, has a refuge for endangered wildlife. On our first visit we saw 2 baby grizzly bears, on this trip we were thrilled to be able to see one of them, Boo, now a 5yr old bear, in his own mountain refuge at Kicking Horse. Other trips you can do from Vancouver is whale watching, take a trip up to Whistler, or stay put in Vancouver.How about hiring a bike to cycle around Stanley Park, stopping at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, where you can see a Beluga Whale? If you have the time then finish your trip over on Vancouver Island. You can take the ferry over to Schwartz Bay just outside of Victoria. Its a beautiful town, and full of history. We did our whale trip from here and saw a pod of Orcas with their young. It was so exciting. The highlight of our whole trip though was flying on our first sea plane out of Campbell River in the north of the island, over to Knight Inlet. We had 2 nights here and it was heaven on earth. I am passionate about wildlife and the one thing I had never been able to spot was a bear in the wild. I was certainly not disappointed on this trip. We were taken by boat to a Hide overlooking a Salmon Ladder. As soon as we got there we saw them. I cannot describe how excited I was. We watched them catching the salmon and playing together in the river. There must have been about 5-6 adults in all, and then out of the woods came two bear cubs. It was such an amazing experience. I did not want this holiday to end. It was a fantastic trip and I will be going back for a third time. If anyone loves beautiful scenery, walking and wildlife, then give me a call and we can discuss an itinerary to suit you.

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