Day 1 - Road-tripping, Upper Kananaskis & Lake Rawson, Charcuterie & Bison.
It was a reasonably early start on Boxing Day, as we aimed to be on the road toward Banff by 8am. In the frigid temperatures of the morning, Matt was successfully able to perform his own interpretation of the Nunavut tea arc photo. Throwing hot water in an arc above him, the water quickly froze in the air and made for a cool photo.
We picked up some Tim Hortons for brekky, got set up with the snow shoes, then headed on our way to the Lake Rawson trail. After an hour or so driving through stunning mountainscapes, we arrived at the car park at upper kananaskis lake. It was rather cold at -20, so we layered up and got our snowshoes on. When Matt pointed out that Van's hair was frozen at the tips, Van had some minor fears it might snap off, but fortunately that was not the case! Matt donned some frosty mascara, i.e. ice lashes.
The trail we took comprised a 300m altitude gain, and 8km out-n-back walk. The trail led out to came out to a spectacular mountain wall. Matt experienced a bout of sore calf muscles owing to lack of incline training due to lack of easily accessible hills in Toronto. Van had some fun making snow angels. On the return walk, we descended off the trail and walked directly across the frozen lake. Van attempted jumping photos with snowshoes on and looked just a tad gammy. Once back in the car, we had a few snacks including trying Ketchup flavoured chips :) We took a break at a nice lodge where we had some charcuterie and a beer, looking out across a frozen lake.
Once we arrived in Banff, we drove along the main drag, Banff Ave, and then we chilled at the hotel for a couple of hours before dinner. Dan took us to the Bison for dinner. Van had the beef tenderloin and Matt and Dan got the NY Striploin. Matty tried a Caesar all to himself for first time. We also enjoyed a delicious Pinot noir from the Okanangan Valley. Following dinner, we went for a nightcap at Park distillery. Matt and Dan discovered an excellent drink in the 'Observation Peak'.
Day 2 - Lake Louise, Snowshoe Sliding, and High Tea.
On our second day in Banff, we had a more relaxed start to the day, with breakfast at 9 and on the road by 9.30.
Traffic delays meant we had to adapt our plans and go for a shorter snowshoeing adventure than originally planned. We parked in car park at the Fairmont Chateau then followed the trail up to Fairview lookout. From there we headed back down off the track, and found ourselves on another trail. Initially, we thought this was the high line track until it seemed to continue up relentlessly. We left the trail and went freestyle through the deep snow, finding our way down, winding through the snow covered trees. This was easily the highlight of the day. We eventually linked back up to the high line trail but opted to continue down 'off-piste', eventually popping out of the forest right at the car park - perfect!
Once the snowshoeing gear was back in the car, we looked around Lake Louise and the ice sculptures, scoped around the Chateau, then had high tea. We had delicious Darjeeling and mint read, and decadent pastries, sandwiches, and scones.
After the High Tea, it was time to get back on the road to Calgary. We stopped at Wendy's in Canmore for some much-craved French fries. Got to the airport with perfect timing. After several awesome days in Alberta, it was time to head further westward to Vancouver for the next part of our trip :)