Travel Diaries :: Banff + Lake Louise, Canada

12:52:00 PM

It's not often that my husband and I get to get away just the two of us, sans kiddos. I LOVE traveling with our kids, but there is something so nice about the freedom you experience as just adults. Not being confound by naps or schedules and getting to just let your guard down.

That being said, the hubs and I just recently took a very short, but amazing trip up to the great white north. As native Floridians it is pretty nice to experience a different climate and I don't think it could get much prettier than Banff and Lake Louise, Canada. I've wanted to travel here for some time, but honestly only thought of doing it in the Summer time (which we will also have to do some day). However, when this long weekend presented itself we just decided to make it happen. And I am SO glad we did! It was truly a dreamy winter wonderland.

We stayed at the famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, right on the shores of the breathtaking Lake Louise inside the Banff National Park. In the summers you can rent canoes and find many people out on the waters of this pristine lake. But in the winter, you can trade those canoes for a pair of ice skates or snow shoes. As the lake freezes over in the winter time, guests can ice skate right out on the lake. What an amazing experience that was! For one, I haven't ice skated in probably 20 years. And two, never on a real lake!! If ice skating isn't your speed, you can rent snow shoes and take a peaceful hike through some of the trails found right on the hotel grounds. We didn't get around to snowshoeing this trip, but we will definitely be back for more Lake Louise adventures.

After ice skating we found our way to the ice bar to warm up with a spiked hot chocolate and cider. Now that is just what you need when temperatures are starting to dip below -10 degrees Celcius (14 degrees Fahrenheit), let me tell you, it was COLD for us native Floridians. Oh, and one of the most tasty treats, roasted apples. Not from the oven, but over an open fire!! OH. MY. GOODNESS. Talk about delicious! We will definitely be bringing this tastiness home with us. 

The next morning took us on a very fun, off the beaten path adventure. As the sun rises a little later in the mountains we hit the road around 6:30AM to try to meet the sunrise on iconic Abraham Lake, along the Icefields Parkway. This was definitely my favorite part of the trip. I always find myself feeling more at peace when I am isolated out in nature, with nothing but the sound of your breath. And if you are ever needing just that (as long as you can handle some bitterly cold winds) Abraham Lake in winter, at sunrise, is just what you need. 

What makes Abraham lake so impressive is because of it's location in the mountains, wind whips through the valley, blowing most of the snow off of the frozen lake. Leaving its pristine glass-like form for onlookers to enjoy. Also, if you look closely, methane bubbles coming up from the bottom have frozen upon their rise to the top. Definitely one of the coolest natural phenomenons I think I have seen.

Just driving along the Icefields Parkway is almost too much beauty to take in. Around every corner the majesty of the glaciers tucked into the Candian Rockies points to the beauty and glory of our Creator.

As our time was short we jam packed this day in with another hike down to Johnston Canyon. In the Summer the waterfalls here are flowing majestically and you can find tons of wildlife all around. But winter, brings a new beauty in that the waterfalls literally have been frozen mid-flow and other beautiful ice formations have been pushed straight out of the canyon. Definitely a sight to see if you ever make it up this way.

And if you are super adventurous and have a little climbing experience, you can even climb these gorgeous ice structures...see if you can spot the climber towards the top there...mad props!! Maybe next time...

Last night of our trip we made our way up to the top of the Banff gondola to take in the sunset and just the vastness of where we had been exploring the past few days. Surrounded on all sides by snow-covered peaks while the pink and purple clouds danced in the sky is a sight I don't think I can easily forget.

As there is a restaurant on the top of the gondola we were able to get seats in the bar area last minute (definitely would recommend making a reservation if you can, especially if you have a larger group. We just took a chance and they were able to squeeze us in) and enjoy the view a little longer while we ate dinner. And if I knew how to photograph stars (on my list of things I would like to learn) I would have shown you just how beautiful the night sky was from this lookout point once it was completely dark. I have never seen so many stars in my entire life.

As a girl who has always lived in a city, we don't typically get to see too many stars because of the city lights. It was beyond humbling to witness the vastness of the universe from the top of a mountain. I can't even put into words the emotions that flooded me as I stood there looking up at the night sky witnessing too many stars to count. What a beautiful God we serve who would give us such a glimpse into who He is as the creator of those stars.

"Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."
Isaiah 40:26

Needless to say, this was another check off of the bucket list for us. A short, but very sweet trip. I have come home filled up with MUCH needed alone time with my husband and our time spent out in the quiet of nature, just drinking in this beautiful planet we are so honored to call home.

If you don't already have this on your list of places to visit, I would highly recommend adding it. You will not be disappointed.

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