Bear with me 😉 it’s going to be a while. But its pretty aMooseing, SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!
While I’m sure most of you dream of your tropical vacations, believe me, I do too… But this year I decided it was time to venture further North. To America’s tophat.
To be honest, My Canadian up there had been whining at me to visit for almost 3 years so it was only fair I let her plan the whole trip and just hand over my credit card. So she planned more than I ever expected, and we found two more blondes to round out the group for the week. I jokingly requested an itinerary, but really didn’t care. I was pretty much flying up there and not making any decisions- just put me in the car and let me be amazed!
I had NO idea what I was in for… sure I knew I was going to the Rocky Mountains…. our hashtags for the trip were #rockyroadgirls2017 and #fourgirlsoneporsche2017 🙂 and I knew we’d be hiking so I made sure to buy some practical cold weather boots… the day before I left… whoops!
I flew WestJet from Charlotte, through Toronto and on to Edmonton. I’ve never actually flown into Canada before. We visited Niagra Falls when I was little, but I don’t remember too much about it, other than purchasing an awesome tiny red backpack with a polar bear holding a Canadian Flag… I wanted to try to find it the last time I was home, but other things were more important.
So I jetted off to Canada and arrived in Edmonton around 10pm Mountain time… meaning midnight EST and Tanya introduced me to her cat Cooper, gave me the quick run-down and put me to bed. The next morning I finally met her husband (after 3 years) and we all drove to the largest Mall in North America, West Edmonton Mall!
Seriously, this place is a one stop shop… you could live here and be perfectly happy! Hotel, Amusement Park, Indoor waterpark, mini golf, pirate ship, sea lion show… For reals. yes, we rode the rollercoaster 🙂
I made sure to outfit myself in some authentic Canadian gear, no, not the cowboy hat… but with some Roots Sweats! And I wore them every night. We wandered around a bit more before deciding another stop in Edmonton was the Fort Edmonton Park – we rode a train!
With our tummys grumbling it was time for a favorite food spot (because of the menu descriptions – “Russian dolls are so full of themselves”) and Canadian delicacies – Caesars and POUTINE! Lucky for us, it was also right downtown, so the perfect snack before an extra bonus concert; Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey!
Mariah was pretty terrible… Lionel was AMAZING.
Another late night, and we crawled into our beds before the real adventure started.
Saturday we picked up another Rocky Road girl and the 3 of us threw our stuff into the Porsche for a 3.5 hour drive to Jasper, AB. While there wasn’t a set itinerary, we did have hotels already in place for each stop along the ride – so we enjoyed a fattening breakfast with REAL Canadian Bacon (its better), and stopped for whatever sign we thought could be fun along the way. That meant, the Beaver Boardwalk for Adventure #1.
We giggled the whole way around the boardwalk, and came to the conclusion that we should probably stock up on the essential alcohol before getting into Jasper where prices would most definitely be inflated. Getting into Jasper we stopped along the way for all the photo opportunities.
I’ll be honest with you, this “hotel” was my absolute favorite acommodation this whole trip. We got a whole cabin to ourselves!!!
We basically dropped our stuff and went off to continue the Jasper Adventure! Up to the Sky Tram! Yes, a giant enclosed ski lift to the top of Whistlers Mountain, well…. almost the top, I was coherced to hike up as far as we could. What a trek that was, I have not trained enough for this kind of physical exertion!
We got our first real glimpse of Canadian wildlife – a mama black bear and her 2 cubs which definitely earned us our Beers and Canadian beef.
Because we started drinking at dinner, we just continued a little to heavily throughout the evening. It was probably not the brightest idea as we had to be up early for a quick drive up to a GLACIER the next morning!!
I got to also finally experience another Canadian tradition…. Tim Horton’s! Breakfast & coffee, with a minor Gatorade mishap and we were off to experience a real life Glacier at Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure! Yes, it was cold. No, I did not care. Due to the wildfires happening up north, the views had been a little hazy but lucky for us it had rained the night before and we had the clearest day in weeks! I even tried the glacier water, but weirdly enough it tasted smoky!
But the Adventure doesn’t end there!! The other half took us to a skywalk off the side of one of the cliffs! I still can’t seem to find a fear of heights, so I sauntered right out onto the clear glass.
Super fun experience, we helped K out onto the walk (serious fear of heights) and all got our fabulous photos. By now I’m sure you’re following that we’re not a 1 or 2 Adventures a day type of crowd, so our drive back to Jasper took us to Athabasca Falls (in the only rain that came down during the day) .
Since we skipped lunchtime (again), we took a little jaunt through downtown Jasper for Greek & Pizza (the restaurant was a hodgepodge of everything). Once we were re-nourished we hiked around Pyramid Lake, visited the Jasper Park Lodge, and saw a few of the bridges on our 3rd hike of the day at Maligne Canyon (Jasper National Park).
A more leisurely morning followed with cold pizza for breakfast and took us back through the glaicers (for a pee break) and a few roadside photo opps before we hit Banff and picked up another Blonde!!
And there we were… #fourgirlsoneporsche2017 ! Finally! Although I was the only Brunette, and American, I held my own 🙂 More hiking around Bow Falls and up about a million stairs to Waldhaus for, well, we weren’t really sure what – but you can’t ever go wrong with a Pub!
All this hiking, I again earned my beers. We joked to Jojo about not wanting whipped cream on her coffee and they brought us a side cup of whip. They’re pretty serious about their whipped cream! We wouldn’t let it go after that, and yes, we all shared the whip. I also had a giant skillet of poutine which really needed to be shared.
Could we stop there with my blisters screaming at me through my converse? noooooo, we shopped around downtown Banff, I got my fix of Canadian lawn mowers (spoiler alert, its Elk) had to go see the Fairmont Banff Springs who apparently houses these mystical mineral pools that we would most definitely come back to when the pricing was only $35 instead of $70 🙂 It was gorgeously refreshing.
We had to drop K off at the airport in Calgary the next day (work always gets in the way) which left T, Jo and I to continue on to Drumheller! or…. DINOLAND!!
I was so excited to be here!! ALL THE DINOSAUR THINGS! The Largest dinosaur in North America and yes, our third stop (after the sign & t-rex) was the Royal Tyrrell Museum to get our learn on 🙂
Crazy thing about that photo of the T-rex hip… it’s TOO HEAVY TO ACTUALLY USE IN THE SKELETON. The one they actually use is a cast! I will never again make excuses for my hips. I’M A FREAKING T-REX. 🙂
Wouldn’t you know it, THIS PLACE has a hike attached to it too!! By this point I had stolen K’s flip flops before she hopped on her plane home. My feet thank her.
The hike was short, not too much to see – just incredible to think dinosaurs actually roamed around here millions of years ago! On our way back to the hotel we stopped at the neighborhood saloon. It was sufficently awkward. We needed slurpees after to feel normal again. And I made T and Jo stop and take photos of me with Batman Dinosaur.
I was also introduced to a new super entree (and they say American’s have terrible obesity feeding foods)… my dinner was a cheeseburger wrapped in a pepperoni PIZZA.
That ensured an early bedtime for us all, after testing out the waterslide and hot tub at our hotel.
Our last full day was a day of randoms. We drove by a sign for a suspension bridge, so we walked across it.
And then we got our heart rate up by hiking down into Horseshoe Canyon. I did have to flip off the shoes at one point, I was slipping straight out of them anyway so it was just easier to walk in the dirt barefoot. We searched for fossils down there too but came away empty handed.
I lost track of the days during this Vacation, which is hard for me to do. A full reset for my brain. I didn’t even check my email!! Our day wrapped up with the search for flip flops to wear home and pedicures to round it out before we said farewell to Jojo. My blister is happy for backless shoes. Although I did pop it before I got on the plane. It squirted across the bathtub. Grossly satisfying.
My flight back from Calgary to Toronto to Charlotte left before lunch and I was able to pack my Canadian purchases into my suitcase and still come in underweight! T drove the 3ish hours back home to Edmonton and I was happily eating dinner on my couch by 11pm. I had Friday to answer all those emails before I jump another plane to Jamaica.
The Journey never ends!