№ 2 – Peyto Lake, Alberta, Canada

So I exaggerated a bit there. It’s just that I was tired and I’ve never been a strong hiker to start with. The information board said it was an easy walk to the lookout so I thought I’d do it. Except it wasn’t really an easy walk. It was a bit of a climb. I wasn’t prepared for it so I was grumpy and I felt like dying halfway through the walk. The people coming from the other way, seeing how close I was to dying, cheered me on and told me that the view was worth the climb. I guess it was enough to keep me going. I made it to the lookout and live to tell you the story and show you one of the pictures I took.

We will be back in the proximity of the lake in a little over a month. Kind of tempted to go back there just to see if I’ve become a less whiny hiker now than I was then, seven years ago. Somehow I doubt it.

Mountains in Motion: The Canadian Rockies

I love the Canadian Rockies but I haven’t seen it since my first and last trip there in 2007 and I miss it so much. Lucky for me, my lovely husband has agreed to take me for a 10-day road trip in the Western provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia) next month, and even though the main reason for the trip is for me to visit Saskatchewan on my 10th year in Canada because it’s the only Canadian province I’ve never been, I just have to put the Canadian Rockies in our itinerary. We’re going to spend three nights surrounded by the mountains in Yoho National Park, British Columbia. I can hardly wait!

The video above is about 15 minutes long, but it’s well worth your time, I promise. If you’ve been to the Canadian Rockies, it will make you want to go back. If you’ve never been, I’m sure you will want to visit it after watching it. :-)

Lovely Saturday

This past Saturday we decided against going on a thrifting round, which is what we usually do on a Saturday. When my husband asked what I felt like doing that day, I said, “Going to Goderich and get two dozen butter tarts!” and to which he said, “That’s what I’m thinking, too!” We are so in tune it’s not even funny.

Travelling is Expensive

Hang to Dry

So somebody dropped by yesterday and handed me a cheque with a nice number on it. It was the cheque I was going to spend on a new lens for my DSLR and a plane ticket to the West Coast and back. It was kind of nice holding the cheque in my hand while thinking of all the lovely things I could buy with it. But in the end, I decided to forego the new lens and put all the money into the West Coast trip fund because, damn, hotel rooms are so frickin’ expensive, even in September. The average cost for one room is $150/night! It’s crazy! Why the hell do they still count September as Peak Season? Kids would have gone back to school already. When we went out East two years ago on our honeymoon, we could get a nice hotel room for $50! And we were there in August, which was obviously still in the Peak Season.

In addition, the fun things I want to do during the trip cost a lot of money. Here’s the list so far:

  • Tofino Whale Watching $69
  • Jasper Tramway $24.00
  • Maligne Lake Cruise $40.57
  • Jasper Rafting Trip $49
  • Columbia Icefield Ice Explorer Bus Tour $35.95
  • Lake Louise Canoe Rental $60 (per hour!)
  • Banff Gondola $24.95

Everything times two because I’m not going to go alone. Well, except for the canoe rental maybe. See how expensive it gets? I might have to forego the tramway/gondola thing. And I still have yet to put food and gas into account. I’m actually considering buying a box of Indomie (an Indonesian instant noodle brand) in Vancouver and eat just that all through the trip. Hey, it’s only $10 for 30 packs of noodles! Just enough for two weeks if I had two packs a day. Heh. But I got the feeling that Troy wouldn’t let me do that.

By the way, thanks to everyone who left me travel tips on the previous post. Those come in handy as I’m writing up our itinerary. I’m actually a little afraid of Banff. The prospect of having to fight the hordes of tourists in Banff for the best picture-taking spots just makes me cringe. I’m also not going to do too much hiking while I’m there, or at least just do the easy routes. Mind you, I have bad knees. It kind of sucks because, seriously, when you’re in the Rockies, you’re expected to hike. That’s why I’m thinking of renting canoes instead, which would cost a lot more than hiking, but what can you do.

When it comes to affordable accommodations, I’ve figured out that getting a two-bedroom suite would cost a little less than paying for two hotel rooms since there’ll be the four of us travelling together and we’ll split the expenses between the two couples. Here’s hoping that there’ll still be vacancies in places with two-bedroom suites when we get around to making reservations!

Vancouver Island and Canadian Rockies: Any Tips?

English Country Garden

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here before but we have decided to re-schedule our Newfoundland trip for next year and hit the West Coast instead for two weeks in September. Yippee! I think our main destinations would be the Vancouver Island in British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies in Alberta, so I’m going to get to see the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains, all in one trip! Exciting! Mind you, I’ve never seen both in person before.

I don’t know about my travel companions (Troy and his parents), but when I’m travelling, I always try to avoid tourist traps. Unless those tourist traps are places that I really, really want to see, I’d rather not go there. Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia just came to mind — it was the most touristy place ever, but how could I not see it?

So, if you have any tips on lesser-known places in Vancouver Island and the Canadian Rockies that are way cool and would make my camera beg me to shoot, please let me know in the comment. I know September is still a month and several days away, but I just can’t stop thinking about the trip!

Canadian Observations

These are the things about Canada that we found silly/funny/interesting during our trip out East:

— Every province has their own moose and deer crossing signs. It was interesting to see the difference between the signs as we went from one province to another. No moose crossing signs in PEI, though.

— I thought I was only imagining it when I first read it on a road sign, but apparently there really is a place called Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! in Quebec (see the photographic evidence).

— There are more French-speaking regions in Eastern Canada than you think. Some of them are pretty hardcore in their frenchness (is that a word?).

— Troy almost brought me across the border to Maine by accident. Luckily, I noticed a sign facing US-side which said “Custom”. That was when we realised it was a border crossing point.

— Camping on top of the Appalachian mountain range inside a non-waterproofed tent isn’t really all that fun and exciting.

— Canadian bugs are FIERCE!

— Nova Scotians pronounce the word interesting ‘inteRESting’. It’s kind of interesting.

— I didn’t get stared at until we got to Quebec City (our last stop before we went home). Every time I entered a room, all eyes would be on me. I almost thought I was a celebrity!

— Storekeepers in PEI, or at least in Charlottetown, don’t seem to be too crazy about tourists.

— Americans are all over the Eastern Canada.

— Apparently, if you put an American flag in front of your business, you’re guaranteed to get a lot of American customers.

— The people of Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia really need to get creative and start selling t-shirts that say “I Was Shagged by Aliens in Shag Harbour” (read this page for context). All we could find there was a public toilet, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

— Speaking of public toilets, Atlantic Superstore is your friend. When other businesses failed to provide us with a public toilet, Atlantic Superstore never did.

— Troy visited so many public toilets during our trip that I had to suggest that he wrote a book called The Washrooms of Canadian Maritime. It would be kind of like The Bridges of Madison County, only less cheesy and with more toilets. And printed in Comic Sans.

Irving owns Eastern Canada, but mostly Saint John, New Brunswick where they own everything from gas stations to bakeries.

— Souvenirs from Eastern Canada cost an arm and a leg.

— Vietnamese cuisine is unknown in Eastern Canada. We coudn’t find any Vietnamese restaurant until we got to Montreal, Quebec on our way back. And we didn’t even stop there. I felt so deprived.

— People in Quebec like to put big things on top of their barns. Those things range from a life-size cow statue to a tractor.

— If you go East, you won’t see too many police officers after Quebec (if any). No mounties, either.

— In New Brunswick, we passed the hometown of a Canadian Idol competitor, Casey LeBlanc, who apparently got eliminated last week. We wouldn’t have known about that fact hadn’t they put up posters showing support all over the place.

— You won’t find too many gas stations or places to eat in PEI outside the major tourist areas.

— If I had to describe PEI in two words, those words would be “new potatoes”. New potatoes everywhere!

— We saw dolphins, seals, and deer in their natural habitats, but sadly no whales or moose.

— We drove over 5,000 kilometers during our two weeks of honeymoon. Had we driven the distance in Europe, we would’ve travelled through a bunch of countries! Maybe next time. :)

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