I’m going to be honest – the only thing that had Canada even remotely on my radar was the fact that Drake was from there; but my visit to Banff, Alberta was unexpectedly the most incredible time. One of my best friends Farran had Banff on her travel list and asked if I wanted to come along so I booked without doing much research. When I inquired about what I needed to pack I’m pretty sure she could taste my disappointment through the texts. No heels, no dresses, none-a-that. Active clothing only, as she had some pretty detailed activities set-up for us to do. So, nothing about this trip was familiar with anything I’d previously done or necessarily anticipated doing.
We took a late Friday flight and got to the Tunnel Mountain Resort around midnight. We had the coziest two-story condo style lodge that felt very homey. We got out of the house around 10 our first morning and we’re immediately in awe with how gorgeous our surroundings were and how crisp the air was. You’re literally surrounded by mountains that still have snow on them. The town itself is SO cute! It resembles a Disney set to me LOL. Because Canada has really long days (the sun didn’t set ’til around 10:30 p.m.), a lot of the restaurants and coffee shops didn’t open til 11 a.m, so we settled for brunch at Park Distillery where all menu items are themed around a camp fire before we drove to Peyto Lake. Before we even arrived we had stopped at a stream that led to the lake, pumped fresh glacier water which by the way, is the best water I’ve had to date, and even saw a bear on the side of the highway.
Peyto Lake was even more breathtaking than the photos. So breathtaking that we decided we needed to hike down to the bottom to get a better view…. But got lost on our way back up. It’s funny now, but it was not laughable in the slightest bit then. Imagine us on our hands and knees rock climbing up the side of a mountain with an incline so steep it was physically impossible to stand up, only to reach the top and find there was no trail and have to hike down through wilderness. My survival skills kicked in QUICK! LOL. I didn’t need water, I didn’t drop a bead of sweat, I was set on getting back to our trail safely and that in itself took about an hour. Nonetheless, a valuable lesson came out of that and I plan to write about it on here soon. Let’s just say, it was a quiet ride back to the hotel and an early night for us all LOL.
At the bottom of Peyto Lake
Our second day was much more calming. We brunched at Tooloulou’s which was supposed to be a Cajun taste in Canada and then decided to paddle board at Vermilion Lakes and followed that with bike riding on the surrounding trails. It was a much more relaxing day in comparison to the one before. After we dropped our bikes off I had pizza and a ridiculously sized beer at Bear Street Tavern, which was easily my most enjoyable meal in Banff.
We spent our last day traveling to Lake Louise which is a really popular attraction. It’s a beautiful aqua colored lake surrounded by a hike that ain’t no punk, but of course we did it anyway. Pack some OFF! because the mosquitoes on this mountain were ruthless and were biting through clothes. After about two miles up, you’ll find a very popular tea house that was packed but we kept going for the view at Little Beehive. Some other good eateries were Cayotes Southwestern Grill and The Old Spaghetti Factory. We easily could’ve spent 2-3 more days there. If you’re planning to visit Banff, you must purchase a National Park Pass in order to be on the grounds in you may be fined.
Contrary to what my vacations typically consist of, I’m so glad that I stepped away from what I’m used to in order to experience something new. I learned a few new things about myself. The first being that I’m much more in shape than I give myself credit for. Those activities were strenuous, but I beasted all of ’em like I had been training for them. The second was, I don’t need to drink to enjoy myself. Aside of that huge beer at dinner (that I didn’t finish), I didn’t drink nor feel the need to. I enjoyed my days without the blur and especially loved how fulfilling the long days felt. And third, was to stop telling myself that I don’t like things when I haven’t done them. Just because I don’t have something categorized under “Things I Enjoy Doing” doesn’t mean that I won’t enjoy it. I plan on being back sooner than later.
Professional photos by: @FarranManuel