8.27.2017

598. Rockies Roadtrip | Day 13 & 14 - Banff - Top of Sulphur Mountain

Leftbanked Banff
Day 13 and 14 are combined together in this post because for day 13 we didn't do anything at all/I didn't take any photos. Day 13 was when I got food poisoning and luckily the same day we decided to take a full day's rest, just stay in and not do any touring. Easily the worst day of the trip. The internet at our hotel was extremely slow, and I felt extremely sick..but I still had to work so it meant my work took at least triple the time it normally would have. Then in the evening we decided to head out for dinner (but I wasn't able to eat much). We went to a nice restaurant named Graze where our waiter was very cute and looked like a young Patrick Dempsey.

The next morning we headed into Banff to go on the gondola up to Sulphur Mountain. The views are amazing up there and I really enjoyed it! Just a bit disappointed we didn't see any mountain goats :(

Actually before we went up the mountain we went to the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. I expected it to be an actual cave to walk around explore (I had been to a massive and very impressive one in China before so I had the same expectations)..but this one was really just this in the photo below. We went in and out within 3 minutes lol.

Banff Cave and Basin
Banff
Banff
Then we took a gondola up to the top of Sulphur Mountain to walk around and take in some amazing views. I don't think I went up there the previous time I came to Banff.

Banff
Leftbanked Banff
Sulphur Mountain Banff
Can you find the person in this pic?

Top of Sulphur Mountain
Top of Sulphur Mountain
View of Banff
Top of Sulphur Mountain
Lake Minnewanka
On a Lake Minnewanka cruise. When we were buying the gondola ticket up to Sulphur Mountain, we decided to purchase a package which included the Banff gondola, the Columbia Icefields tour in Jasper, and a lake cruise (from Brewster) - either Lake Minnewanka or Maligne Lake. To be honest before that day I never even heard of Lake Minnewanka...but I had been really excited to go to Maligne Lake to see Spirit Island. Our ticket sales guy told us that the Maligne Lake cruises were unfortunately fully booked up every day for every time slot until October..so we had no choice but to do the Lake Minnewanka cruise instead. I didn't really enjoy it that much. Well I like boat cruises so it was nice but not worth the price as there wasn't anything that special about the lake (in my opinion) and nothing to see. Anyway, a few days later we visited Maligne Lake and saw the boat cruises leaving and they weren't even full! So we were pretty disappointed about that/having been forced to go on the Lake Minnewanka cruise instead..and in the end never ended up seeing Spirit Island (as it's only accessible by boat)

Banff
I'd love to return to Banff sometime in the winter..would be so nice and cozy

Banff Alberta
Banff

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8.20.2017

597. Rockies Roadtrip | Day 12 - Banff - Lake Louise & Moraine

Lake Moraine
The next morning, we left Kelowna to head to our next destination, Banff - where we were to stay for 3 nights. As literally all of the hotels inside Banff National Park were fully booked up on the nights we were going, we had to stay in Canmore which was about a half hour drive away. We stayed at the Copperstone Resort which was pretty nice and spacious (we had 2 floors, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room, kitchen, dining area, balcony, etc) but the downsides were that it had horrible WiFi and felt a bit haunted.
The drive over from Kelowna to Banff was incredibly scenic and mountainous. Luckily I did not get carsick that time so I was able to enjoy the views and take lots of pics:

Rockies
Rocky Mountains
Rockies
This reminds me a bit of China..

Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
Lake Louise leftbanked
Along the way, we stopped at Lake Louise. The last time I was at the Rocky Mountains was back in 1998, when I was 8 years old. I have vague memories from that trip. The only lakes I remembered were Peyto Lake (my favourite) and Lake Louise. I remember being told back then that Lake Louise was the most famous and iconic lakes of the Rocky Mountains. It was extremely sunny that day which was good but because of that, all my photos came out overexposed:

Lake Louise canoes
Lake Louise
Lake Moraine
After Lake Louise, we went to Moraine Lake. For some reason, the line up of cars was super long here (while at Lake Louise there wasn't a line at all). We probably waited for about half an hour or so before we got into the parking lot.

Lake Moraine
Lake Moraine
chipmunk
Lake Moraine lodge
Canmore elk
Afterwards, we settled into our hotel/resort then headed out on a grocery trip. Along the way, we saw a family of 4 elk beside the road. I love seeing wildlife..as this isn't something we have in Toronto (especially as I live downtown). Of all the animals in the Rocky Mountains, elk are my favourite. Also the fact that we didn't end up seeing any other animals for the rest of our trip made this more special. We made a turn on the road when I saw a car up ahead, stopped on the side of the road. I then saw the silhouettes of the 4 elk and their antlers from the car's headlights. I have to say that was probably the most magical moment of the whole trip for me.

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8.16.2017

596. Rockies Roadtrip | Day 11 - Journey to Kelowna

BC Roadtrip lake

Photo above: Although this isn't a desert, this is what I imagine an oasis to be like.

After a short stay in Whistler, we left bright and early (7am to be precise, since we had no choice thanks to the Ironman competition) the next morning on the way to Kelowna. At first we were not happy about the early departure but I think eventually we all agreed that we did the right thing by leaving early. Due to a few situations that arose, our entire journey to Kelowna probably took twice as long as it should've. I got extremely carsick along the way thanks to the lack of sleep, no breakfast and twisty roads. So because of that I had to keep asking for them to stop the car so I could get out for a break.

Then at one point we accidentally took a detour and ended up on the wrong highway for an hour or two before we realized it was the wrong way. But on the bright side..it may have been the more scenic route because we saw this beautiful lake in the photo above and got to see some forest fires:

BC Wildfires
roadtrip
I love roadtrips and the feeling of being the only ones on the road in the middle of nowhere..

Lillooet
Lillooet: where I first started feeling really carsick and had to get out of the car. I don't know why I felt the need to take a pic and commemorate that moment hahah.

Rockies Roadtrip
I think there was some construction around here so we had to stop and wait for awhile. If you look closely, you can see a helicopter in the air. I took the opportunity to get out of the car again and walk around...still felt extremely nauseous but couldn't miss a good photo opportunity:

roadtrip pitstop
roadtrip breakfast
After what seemed like many hours, we finally arrived at a town to get some food. As soon as we turned into it...I had to ask my friend to stop the car right away so I can go into the first place I saw and use the washroom since I had a huge stomachache as well at that point. So I got out and walked into a random pub/restaurant where it was all locals in there. I normally never go into a restaurant just to use their washroom but I had no choice at that time..I felt bad but they were very nice about it. Afterwards I went out to look for my friends again..they had already driven around a bit and found a small place for breakfast (photo above). I felt like I would just throw up whatever I was to eat..so I didn't eat anything and just had a drink while my friends had their huge breakfasts.

After that, we set off again. & I think nearing Kelowna..we stopped again at this place. I still wasn't able to eat at that point though.

roadtrip espresso

Needless to say, that was the toughest leg of the trip...luckily from then on, we had no other issues for the remainder of our drives. Finally in the early evening, we arrived in Kelowna. We didn't really do much there since we didn't have much time and it was already starting to get dark. So we walked around for a bit and went for dinner at Earls, once again.

Earls Kelowna
This was a few hours after we arrived so I thought I was ok to finally eat my first meal of the day. I ordered my favourite salmon dish again but a few bites in I felt sick again so unfortunately I wasn't able to finish all of it..

I liked the rooftop patio at this Earls. Nice atmosphere and we had a nice server from the Netherlands. This was the view:

Kelowna
After that, we went to a 24hr Shoppers Drug Mart for a shopping trip with some really funny moments but I won't get into the details of that hahah ;)

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8.14.2017

595. Rockies Roadtrip | Day 10 - Whistler

Leftbanked Whistler
After a wonderful week and a half in Vancouver (10 days total for me, 4 days for my friends) our roadtrip officially started with our first destination..Whistler! We rented a Jeep for the remainder of our trip and set off on the very scenic Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler. It was a fairly short 1.5hr drive from Vancouver.

Westin Whistler
Here was our hotel, The Westin Resort and Spa. When we made the booking, all the hotels were fully booked except for this one and the Four Seasons. When we arrived we found out shortly after that we had arrived the weekend of the Ironman competition..which was likely the reason for the high occupancy rates. Also because of Ironman, we were informed that if we were leaving the next morning (which we were), we'd have to be on the road by 7am since they were closing the highway right afterwards for the competition..only to reopen in the evening.

Whistler
Here was the view from our room. Our hotel was very nice. Very rustic and cozy. I wish we could have stayed at least another night. I really love Whistler..maybe will go back in the winter someday!

Whistler Peak to Peak
After checking in and settling into our hotel, we went for lunch then did the Peak 2 Peak gondola. This was such a fun and amazing experience. The gondola goes back and forth from the peak of Whistler to Blackcomb. The views were beautiful along the way and on top of the peaks.

Peak to Peak Gondola Whistler
Top of Whistler view
Here is part of the view from the top of Whistler Mountain. I can't believe how blue the water is in that lake! It's completely natural..no editing/filter used on this pic.

Top of Whistler Mountain
Whistler Olympic rings
Whistler view
Rocky Mountains Whistler
Whistler Peak to Peak
Earls Salmon
For dinner we went to Earls. Besides Cactus Club, Earls was one of the restaurants we went the most on our trip. Their salmon dish is my favourite. I always got it with mashed potatoes and caesar salad. Here in Toronto we don't really having restaurants serving wild salmon (not that I know of anyway)...so on the west coast I took the opportunity to eat it as much as I possibly could!

Now that I am back home and thinking back on the trip...I think our day in Whistler was one of my favourites.

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