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Alberta

10 glorious days in Canmore, Alberta…again!!!

There’s something really special about Canmore. I don’t know how to describe it or do I really want you to go there because part of the draw is that it is a small town of only about 13000 people. Granted the cost of living is quite high in the average home is priced over $900,000 Canadian however for what you get there I think it’s well worth it. Here’s a bit of what we did in our 10 day stay…

First we drove from Jasper National Park down towards Canmore which requires you to go through Banff National Park also. We took the 93 down which happened to be about a 5 hour drive and one of the most phenomenal drives I’ve ever done in my life. We got really lucky because of the smoke from the BC wildfires was minimal and we got to enjoy the stunning views along the way.

This picture was a pull off along the 93 which looked right into a huge Glacier tucked in between the mountains.

Then we drove through the Columbia Icefields!!! Very famous in Canada.

They are much much much larger than you see in the photo. That is barely the start of it and the icefields extend for many hundreds of hectares off into the mountains behind here.

Anikka got to sit up front to see the views…plus after 4 hours she got wiggly.

More turquoise waters…

This was just the drive!! Holy cow!!

Getting closer to Canmore…

Banff!!

Finally we made it!!! And were parked with a creek at our backend.

This is where we spent most of our time. It is a massive complex called elevation place right in the heart of Canmore and within a 6 Minute bike ride from the RV park. Not only do they have free WiFi throughout but they have an awesome 40 ft climbing wall a massive indoor heated pool, indoor gym and tons of private study areas with desks for us to work which Overlook the pool. Both of us went there several times per day to get work and school done because WiFi was not good at the RV park.


Anikka liked to watch the climbers. She decided when she turns 6 she can do this.


They also had a free play area!!

We swam often, but never did this cool obstacle course…even though I really wanted to!

The locals call these peaks the 3 sisters.

We went on mini bike rides both individually and as a family to explore the beautiful Outdoors. You can’t help it when the entire town is full of bike trails and gorgeous scenery.


Of course we found 2 Disc golf courses and played at one of them. The last time we stayed here we had played at the other (at the Nordic Centre) although it was much more challenging.



The best part of the trip was my birthday No Doubt. We got to return to Lake Louise which is phenomenal in itself but we also rented a canoe and spent an entire hour out on the famous turquoise Waters!


That’s the massive Chateau Fairmont in the background.

Happy girls!

Adventure girl. For her first time in a canoe she did so well and had such a blast

We made it to the end!!

She was “fishing”



Heres the side most people don’t get to see.

So cute!!! And safe…

Yeeeeah!!


Heading back. With the one-hour boat rental you have to go at a pretty good speed to get all the way to the end and back in the time limit.

And snack time!

We took advantage of the free bus system which allows you to park and take the bus all the way up to the lake and get dropped off right in front. It was super efficient as most Canadian things are and really the way to go. I would highly recommend it to anyone there was literally no waiting involved they really have their act together. On the way up and down to the lake they stopped by Lake Louise Village and visitor center so on the way back down we stopped to check it out.




Happy birthday to me!

I’m really grateful to enjoy an awesome birthday in my favorite Town ever.

One of the other cool things we did was visit Johnston Canyon which is in Banff National Park and a very popular attraction.

There are several hike options but we did the shortest.

The hike ends up being less than 1 mile and ends at gorgeous water falls.


There is a huge tunnel which you can walk through and get really close to the waterfalls so we waited in line for about 10 minutes to see it.




My sweetheart.


Hiiiiiiiiiiii!

So pretty the mountains are.

It makes me want to puke it’s so pretty.

Our daily ride home from Elevation Place.

Finally on the night before we left we took a drive to explore the mountains in a place we had not been. We ended up driving for nearly two hours and found a place called Spray Lakes which is hidden deep deep deep in the mountains behind canmore.


The morning we left 😦 everyone was melancholy but still excited for revelstoke.


Bye Canmore. We will miss you.

A week at Hinton-Jasper KOA and Jasper National Park

Ok so the drive from Edmonton to Hinton (which is about 45 Min outside of Jasper) was about 3 hours. Which in RV world translates to about 3.5 hours and a NICE FAST drive. Although there was lots of smoke from the BC fires…from what we could see the mountains looked awesome!

The KOA was set back off the street on a gorgeous lot with great views.

The office and gift shop. They also had a toddler play room and game room!

This was the first night we arrived and probably the most clear. Every day after was smokey!!

We did pay extra to get a deluxe site with BBQ and brick patio!

There isn’t much to do in Hinton, and most things are right off the highway…

This was a frequent visit for us and a lifesaver to keep kiddo occupied. We made friends with a Japanese boy who held Anikkas hand and walked her around.

One morning, we got up early to explore the Beaver Boardwalk. It is Canada’s Largest Freshwater Boardwalk!! Needless to say, it was VERY VERY VERY long…and full of beavers. Over 2 miles long!!!


Lots of swamp and hiking trails!

We were very excited they had a disc golf course in Hinton… So Anikkas getting better as we play so often!


In the same area was a bike skills course… although these are common in almost every Canadian city.

It doubles as a kid play land!

Some of the wood pieces move too!

Like I said…not much here so this was my office view for a day.

We completely avoided any McDonald’s food lol

Finally, a few days later…we went into Jasper National Park and the town of Jasper!!!

Entrance.

Crazy rock formations.

So much smoke 😦

It’s official! We made it.

We took the 45 km drive up to Maligned Lake!!! I was so happy!!!

Action shot…

Playing in nature!

There is a 1 km walk we did.

Gorgeous!!

Then we bought some souvenir shirts. Kiddo got a fake bear hat. anikka fell asleep in the car and Scott and I drove by Maligned Canyon…which was busier than the lake! I can see why!!

You stand on a narrow bridge about 100 feet up!

We walked around the town of Jasper.

Small town, but bigger than expected. They had about 100 shops and restaurants.

We found Jasper Brewing company…

We were hungry!!! This was our 15th order of poutine lol

More of Jasper…

It was sooooooo smokey we couldn’t see any mountains…

Cool architecture!

Oops! Hahah

She likes it here!!


Finally topped off a long day with a visit to the 4th hot springs!! Miette hot springs.

Thata it for now! We liked Jasper and would love to go back!!!

Elk Island National Park in Alberta Canada!

Luckily Elk Island National Park is only about a 40-minute drive east of Edmonton so it is a quick drive and there is not much traffic there because we got to take a big loop that went around the city so we avoided the downtown area. Elk Island is one of four or five national parks in Alberta and we have hit all of them except Wood Buffalo National Park which is way up North.

We tried to get a picture with all of us but with the Cloudy weather it did not turn out so well LOL

Elk Island National Park is home to the world’s second-largest hooved animal population per square foot in the world!

Visitors center was small but cute.

The park itself is relatively small and only takes about 20 minutes to drive from the south end to the North End

Then we came to the big lake with a few beautiful islands in the middle of it…

I had to bribe her to take this picture… with chocolate

A quick selfie before continuing…

Holy crap! They have a playground!!!

The view looking North from playground…

There were lots of beautiful hiking trails and paths to take. Although there were lots of large mosquitoes they did not bother us too bad as we were enjoying the walks…

This is actually round lumps of grass. So thick it looks like you can walk in it…but you would fall in the lake.

Our only serious photo lol

This is my favorite picture because it looks like she is floating on the water even though she’s jumping.

We were kind of bummed because we had only seen one Buffalo but when we drove around Buffalo loop again we ran into the whole herd. Of course Annika was asleep for this!!!

So there is an entire Northside which is the larger part of the park and also home to the plains Buffalo. The south end of the park is smaller however not car accessible only on foot and that is where they house the Wood Buffalo which are the largest mammals in North America. We did get to see if you of those while driving and boy are they big!!

We ended up spending over 5 hours at the park which we were surprised because of the size of it but we had lots of fun and did lots of good exercise!

The end! 

St. Albert Kinsmen RV Park in Edmonton, Alberta

We had a quick drive to get to Edmonton from Red Deer. We were pretty excited to to get to this world renown and big city…for Canada anything over 100,000 people is HUGE! Edmonton had more people than Calgary at about 1.3 million.
Here we are arriving on a cloudy day. In fact, we were excited about the cooler weather!

Edmonton is home to the LARGEST MALL IN NORTH AMERICA!! Naturally, we went soon after checking into the RV park..

They had 3 huge malls all rolled into 1…with impressive displays inside!

The mall holds its own IMAX.

And….the WORLD’S LARGEST INDOOR AMUSEMENT PARK!!! Galaxy land.

Full rollercoasters inside!! It was so big that I’m sure the photos don’t do it justice.

The coolest part was that you can walk thru the park for free! So we stood inside one of the rollercoaster loops while the ride went around.

Back home during a spectacular sunset.

We stayed at the RV park near St. Albert… which is a swanky side of Edmonton… anyhow the town happens to be home to Albertas LARGEST FARMERS MARKET!!!

Over 250 vendors!!

We stopped for poutine and some Ukrainian food…this fountain was really cool and water fell along the glass also. Anikka enjoyed the water.

You pass by this on the way in and out…

We went for a drive through downtown.

Cool bridge.

We went to a restaurant called Beer Revolution with 40+ beers on tap!

Someone got ice cream!

There is sooooooo much to do in Edmonton! We were busy literally every day with something fun!!

We just happened to be there for the annual World Heritage Festival…we had no idea this event hosts 100+ countries who all have massive tents, stages, food, and products…over 300,000 people went EACH DAY!!!! ITS HUGE!!! Held at Hawrelak Park near downtown over 30 acres…we did a lot of walking and spend 4+ hours there in the sun!!! Must have been 70 degrees that day.

Arabic stage…LOUD music, dancing and shows…very cultural.

Pictures cannot even show how big this was…there were 10 areas this size…

Sooooooo much walking 🙂 no beer.

We got front row seats for a Japanese drum display!! It was awesome and great to hear a beat with no synthetics involved!

Anikka got her face painted!! First time too..she loved it…she chose purple cat lol.

Finally we found a playground and park…

At this point we were exhausted from fun…started heading out…

So many cultures and countries!!

Cold popsicle for the tot.

You have to take a city bus or bike to the event. It’s so large there is no parking so we found a drop point and rode the city bus…anikka was really excited as she has been wanting to ride one for a while.

Driving home…..a bit hot…

At some point, Scott took anikka to the Telus Science Center also! We get free entry to a global network of science centers, so they have been to quite a few!

Cool stuff!

Here the WORLDS 2ND LARGEST INDOOR WATER PARK…

It’s so big!! Twice as long as it is wide!

We went ready to swim…but the price was a bit much at $131 for 2 adults and a tot. We decided to find an aquatic centre instead.

Again…all inside the mall!!!

We found a local swim centre..

Only $20… Ok!!!

Later another day we found Critical Mass Brewery!!

They had tons of beer and an outdoor patio in St. Albert area.

Anikka has orange juice 🙂

Finally… The RV park was near Lois Hole Nature Reserve and Canadians do not mess around with conservation. This was a 180000 hectare area and had a massive boardwalk over a marsh!!

We enjoyed many bike rides here.

So many pics…I know…we have been so busy that we haven’t had much time for blogs…we also went to Elk Island National Park but that is another blog all together.

Best of all… I got to drive the RV for the first time since we got it in January!!! It’s now august lol I terrified Scott hahaha

Next comes Jasper National Park!!

A quick stay in Red Deer, Alberta Canada

The drive from Waterton Lakes to Red Deer was long…almost too long, but not quite. Our little one did great on the drive thanks to my old iPhone which now serves as a gaming station!

It took about 5 hours with the RV towing the toad and we were relieved to get here. We did enjoy passing through Calgary again and reminisced about the Stampede, the parade and Canada 150 year celebration…we felt like we were not such rookies here anymore as we can get around Calgary pretty well now and it’s the largest city in Alberta.

Although it’s a quick stay in Red Deer we like the feel of this city and are a little bummed to be leaving so quickly. Even the WiFi is great so that’s a plus!
Here’s pulling into Westerner RV park which is located near the southern part of the city.

Spot 85! This park is shaded, clean, and has a great playground so we’re all happy here.

The overall temperature is much more bearable here, being that it’s so far north…it’s been a perfect 75 all day so we don’t need to run the air conditioning.

We haven’t done much except food shop at Sobeys, disc golf, and work…But! Anikka and I finally got to do something REALLY fun here…. swim at an aquatic centre.

It’s called the Colicutt Centre, and is a multi functional sports center complete with full gym, basketball, full gymnasium, and pool area. 

It was huge inside!! But I guess it’s more busy in winter when it’s dead ass cold.

This place has a full wave pool, toddler water playground, lazy river, bubble zone, water fountain, and 2 giant hot tubs!

One of the best things about Canada is places never really get as busy as in the states…we feel like we get to do more here with less crowds.

We swam almost 2 hours!!

The gym…

Happy…but tired…

A blurry panorama…

Indoor gymnasium…packed with teenagers..

They even had an amazing toddler playground but was too tired after the swimming…
Off to Edmonton tomorrow!!

Where in the world have we been?

This is our ongoing list of cities/RV Parks we have stayed at starting April 17, 2017.

Phoenix, AZ, Desert Shadows RV Resort, about 5 days

Beaumont, CA, Country Hills RV Park, 3 days

Coarsegold, CA, Yosemite RV Resort, about 10 days

Granite Bay, CA, stayed with family, 2 weeks

Redding, CA, Green Acres RV Park, 4 days

Ashland, OR, Glenyan RV Park & Campground, 5 days

Portland, OR, Jantzen Beach RV Park and Columbia River RV Park, 1 week

Hood River, OR, Bridge RV Park & Campground, 3 days

Umatilla, OR, Umatilla Marina RV Park, about 5 days

Coeur d’Alene, ID, Blackwell Island RV Park, about 1 week

Cranbrook, BC, Canada, Mount Baker RV Park, about 1 week

Fairmont Hot Springs RV Resort, Fairmont Hot Springs, BC, Canada, 5 days

Canmore, Alberta, Canada, Spring Creek RV Campground, about 10 days

Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Calgary West Campground, 10 days

Fernie, Alberta, Canada, Fernie RV Resort, about 1 week

Whitefish/Coram, Montana, North American RV Park, 10 days

Waterton Lakes National Park, Albert, Canada, Waterton Springs Campground, 1 week

Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, Westerner RV Campground, 3 days

Edmonton, Alberta, Kinsmen St. Albert RV Park, 1 week

Hinton, Alberta, Hinton-Jasper KOA, 1 week

Canmore, Alberta, Spring Creek RV Park, 10 days

Golden, British Columbia, Whispering Spring Campground and RV Park, 4 days

Revelstoke, BC, Lamplighter RV Park, 8 days

More soon!

Spending Canada Day (150 years!) In Calgary, Alberta

So…it’s a city…a big city….much larger than anticipated…bigger than Portland but with a similar vibe… young demographic… downtown feels like San Francisco size…

We are staying at Calgary West RV Park…which was empty when we arrived…now completely full with the long 3-day weekend and Canada Day…

We spent a day downtown the same day we arrived to check it out…



Chilling…

Day 1…

Apparently they had a ski jump for the Olympics in 1988.

A day at bowness park along Bow river.


Yes!! More great views!

Today we went to the Bow Station fish hatchery…




They had this awesome interactive display that anikka played with for ever!!! BTW, since it was Canada day we had the ENTIRE PLACE TO OURSELVES!!!


Scott thought this was hilarious…





We fed the fish on a tour…


Yes…. So me…

Anyhow… On to celebrate with a bike ride along the riverfront all the way to Prince Island


No horses sadly lol


Sooooooo many people… I mean….SOOOOOOO MANY.

Calgary tower…streets shut down…

Gorgeous rainbow over downtown…

More to come in Calgary…one more week here!! I can’t wait to see what we do next!!

The most amazing & beautiful hidden Canadian gem…Canmore, Alberta

The drive from Fairmont Hot Springs in British Columbia to Canmore in Alberta was gorgeous to say the least. One of the first times we went through was Radium Hot Springs where we saw a small herd of bighorn sheep Side of the Mountain after going through a ginormous Canyon

Then we started heading up a few Hills once we get into Kooteney National Park where are we thought the RV was on fire..

The drive total was about 3 hours and we crossed provinces from British Columbia into Alberta. The windy and slightly hilly roads were gorgeous and we were lost in Banff National Park.

This is where we started seeing the world-renowned turquoise color water, like nothing on the US… Glacier water simply melting into the rivers…

And then…our FIRST SIGN FOR BANFF!!!

More glacier water… Out of this world…

Finally crossed into Alberta!!

We saw a black bear alongside the road!! Luckily all along the trans-canadian highway they have very tall fencing to help prevent the wildlife from Crossing into the highway. They also have these really cool Natural Bridges for the animals…

omg signs for Jasper national park and yoho national park!!!

Then we pulled into the town of Canmore which is just outside of Banff and truly a Hidden Gem with a population of about 3,000 and surrounded by the most gorgeous peaks in mountains you will ever see!!

We stayed at Spring Creek RV park. A busy park with a mix of rv and trailers but ok overall and we always felt safe…I mean it’s Canada c’mon lol…

They had a nice playground there but not much amenities for the kiddo besides that. That didn’t matter anyhow because there are so many bike trails and outdoor activities we stayed busy almost Non-Stop. The only downside about the park was the lack of Wi-Fi which we quickly subsidized with many visits to Starbucks…

So much cold water around!!!

I got lost on a bike ride by the RV park and decided to take one final photo in case I did not find my way back…

Canmore has a weekly Farmers Market which we just happened to run into when we were walking around downtown one day…

We stopped for beer here…. Canadians know some good beer…I guess you have to when it gets so cold.

Picnic at the park downtown.

Awesome artwork allover!

One of the days we went for a bike ride along the Bow River…

Wow!!!!

Unbelievable beauty.. untouched…

Just a normal day in Canada.

We looked like tourists…yes…

Bike ride!!!

Rest stop…

No big deal…just my dream home…

Ugh I could die waking up to this view every day.

I got tired so Scott had to ride with anikka…

That water tho!!!

One of the places we went to was the Nordic Center on the side of the mountain which was just a few miles north of the town and was a training center for the Olympics back in 1988.. we went for the DISC GOLF!!

Frolf!!

It was a HUGE course.. we made it through about 7 holes which felt like 10 miles with all the hills we had wat then Annika started to get tired so we had to walk back which was another mile back to the car.

Nice view from hole 14…

We did end up passing a cool BMX bike track which is at the Nordic Center also.

Somewhere in between this time was our trip to Lake Louise, Lake Moraine, Lake Minnewanka and to the upper Banff Hot Springs but that was on a separate blog because I figured it would be such a big adventure. Much of the stuff we did in town was child-friendly of course so we went to two of their big main Parks which were Centennial Park and Millennium Park. 

Play time in perfect 65 degree summer sun!

Both offered amazing views, bunnies…yes wild bunnies run the town…and elk!! Lots of elk!


Anyhow, i realize this blog is entirely too long but I have to catch up on everything we have done!!

Next was a day at the river…

Some random street art during a bike ride…


Aaahhhhh waking up to this was heavenly…

One of the last places we ate was Rose and Crown. The only reason we went is because we saw a kids play area in back…boy we’re we surprised….they had a fenced off play area with like 4 children play kitchens and breathtaking views…

Had the entire patio to ourselves…

Sad day, but we finally had to leave Canmore…I miss you already!!!

On to Calgary, which is a much larger metro with over 1 million people…quite the change in atmosphere…

Lake Moraine, Lake Minnewanka, and Upper Banff Hot Springs!!

Keep in mind, we woke up at 545am, left the RV at 7am and didn’t get back until 7pm that evening.  Everything listed here is all within about a 1 hour drive and we jam packed it all into 1 day we will never forget!!

We spent about 2 hours at Lake Louise and decided to head to our next stop, Lake Moraine. Which is another 15 Mon drive further down the same road…and also less busy we came to find out…

Here’s the road to Lake Moraine…

And this…

And then after parking ( we got REALLY lucky with great spots both times!)


She was in such a good mood for being up since dawn…

We were blown away by the famous turquoise colored water…but this was just the start…


Some reading material…

Kayak rentals…

She finally got a little sleepy…

The water color changes with the sun and clouds…

No editing…that would be a crime…just cloud coverage…

We did a little walk around the lake to see the 10 peaks!



There’s nothing else like this!! Except lake Louise…

Yes!!!

Selfie…

Lol she was sick of my pics…


Then the sun came out again…

I know!!! So many pics… But I couldn’t help it…


Then…the lodge and gift shop where I got some salmon jerky and anikka got a toy car…

Bear!!!

Bye Lake Moraine… We spent close to 2 hours here too…

Elevation driving back down…

Next stop was the town of Banff on the way to Lake Minnewanka…

There were TOO MANY tourists here but I got a few good shots…



About 15 Mon north of the town of Banff is Lake Minnewanka…also the largest by far and the only lake which allows motorized boats…

We walked on the docks to inquire about boat rentals, which we were TOTALLY going to do…the. It got cloudy and windy…so maybe another day…


We played on the cold beach instead and had tons of fun!!


Fun!!! And tired by this point…it was close to 3 or 4pm…

Snack shop…we are really good about packing our own food so we only stopped for hot coffee…

Onto our final destination…and possibly most rewarding… The famous UPPER BANFF HOT SPRINGS! This would be the 3rd hot springs to visit in Canada. Anikka Really likes them and was looking forward to it, as we all were…

Heres where you park, basically at the top of mountain! 

Ready to swim!

Then we walked…more…uphill to get to the hotsprings…

Soooooo exhausted…but warm…

Anikka could fit inside the lockers in the changing room and damn near gave me a heart attack when she disappeared inside…

Yes!!! A much younger demographic here than the other hot springs…

Ice cream after…

Happy girl!

She loves her Canada shirt!

And we all went to bed, exhausted and happy…gnite!

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