I'm back, sorry its been almost a week, but I'll get back to my recap of my families vacation last summer.
When I left off, we had just left the United States and headed into Canada. We stayed one night at the famous Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton Lakes National Park before heading north to Calgary.
Calgary was the host of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, and we visited the Olympic Park where we were able to see the ski jump and bobsled run. The bobsled run is famous because 1988 was the year of the Jamaican bobsled team, forever immortalized in the movie Cool Runnings.
Later that night we went to eat at Ranchman's Cookhouse and Dance Saloon (supposedly the party headquarters of the Calgary Stampede Rodeo, the largest in the world). As soon as we walked in, my brother and I immediately recognized it as the bar where the Jamaican team got into the fight in Cool Runnings. Sure enough, the Jamaican bobsled and their four yellow helmets were hanging on the wall. Whether or not they actually got in a fight there is a mystery (and probably a Hollywood invention) but that scene was filmed there so that was kind of fun to see.
From Calgary we headed west to Banff, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. The actual town of Banff surprised me, as I had been expecting a mountain town and it more closely resembled Gatlinburg, TN.
We weren't there for the town, however, and the mountain scenery was spectacular. Specifically, we visited two pristine lakes, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.
This is my family at Lake Louise, with a glacier in the mountains above us. The water was an incredible turquoise blue color, and Moraine Lake was even more vibrant.
We also saw an abundance of wildlife on the roads in Banff National Park including several grizzly bears, a couple black bears, a moose, and an elk, among others. We only hiked shorter trails while we were here (due to inclement weather) but the wildlife was definitely a highlight.
This was a black bear we saw from our car. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view) this was as close as we got while in Banff.
After a few days in Banff we once again headed west, traveling through Jasper and Revelstoke National Parks. We only passed through those parks, stopping off periodically to do things such as take a short hike or visit a waterfall.
This is my brother and I after venturing off trail to make our way down to the river. You can't see it from this picture but my mom (the photographer) was standing above a waterfall that we attempted to get down to. The climb back up was fun and not nearly as difficult as the picture makes it look.
We returned to the good ol US of A after a week in Canada, reentering in Washington state, near Seattle.
The last leg of our trip was spent in the San Juan Islands just off the coast of northwest Washington.