Sunday, July 09, 2006

A few days in the Canadian Rockies

Jenny's dad, Ted, has just returned home to the UK after staying with us for a couple of weeks. We just relaxed around the house for the first week of his visit, but Ted's girlfriend, Chris, came out for the the second week. She arrived in Kelowna on Thursday evening (June 27th), and the next morning we departed for a 5 day road trip to the rockies.

We left Kelowna at around 08:30, and our first stop was the D Dutchman Dairy, in Sicamous. The dairy features mini onsite zoo, where we saw a camal, a horse, a lama, and several calves. Locally, the diary is perhaps most famous for their ice cream, which is made on the premises from milk got from the dairy's own cows. So naturally, we all had a double scoop of our favourite flavours!

Our next destination was Revelstoke. Normally we usually drive right through Revelstoke, but I had recently read an article about the view from the top of Mount Revelstoke, so we decided to check it out. The view was indeed fantastic, well worth the 2 hour delay. Next stop was Golden, where we had the traditional Subway for lunch.

After Golden, we (after turning our watches forward an hour, to Mountain time) made a couple of stops in Yoho National Park: Emerald Lake, Natural Bridge, and of course, the breathtaking Takakkaw Falls. After watching a train going through the Spiral Tunnel (which is where trains "loop back" overthemselves to climb the steep terrain), we went to Castle Mountain Chalets (which is roughl;y half way between Lake Louise and Banff), where we spent the first of two nights.

Refreshed after a good night's sleep, we headed towards Banff, stopping for a couple of hours at Johnston Canyon. At Banff, we persuaded Ted and Chris to take a ride on the Sulphur Mountain gondola ride (where we had the traditional ice cream), and then went to the Bow Falls, where Chris managed to snap a photo of a Mountie in full dress uniform (they had just returned from a Canada Day parade in downtown Banff).

After that, we were finished with Banff, so we drove to Moraine Lake (a beautiful blue lake near Lake Louise) and Lake Louise, before returning to Castle Mountain Chalets.

The next day we drove up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper, taking in many sights along the way, including the Athabasca Falls, the Sun Wapta Falls, the Columbia Icefield (where we went for a ride onto the glacier on the Snocoach), and Tangle Creek. We spent the night in a cabin in Becker's Chalets, which was a little dissapointing to be honest--although the food in the onsite restaurant was excellent.

After breakfast the next day, we went for a ride on Maligne Lake, to see the world-famous Spirit Island. And after that, we had a long drive to Pemberton (Which was interrupted by a two hour delay caused by someone's motorhome catching alight!), which is a bit north of Whistler. In Pemberton, we stayed at the Log House Inn B & B.

The next day, Tuesday, we headed home for Kelowna. We stopped at a few waterfalls on the way (including the Brandywine Falls, the Shannon Falls, and the Bridal Veil Falls), and stopped for a Subway lunch in Hope.

Five days and 2500 KM later, we arrived back in Kelowna. The weather, which was absolutly gorgeous on our trip, had turned somewhat inclement back in the Okanagan Valley, and the house seemed a bit quiet without Judge. All in all, a great--though tiring!--trip!


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