I have found it very important to allocate time to rest, relax and recharge in order to deal with the pace and stress of daily life. My family and I find the outdoors to be the place to do just that. We just got back from Banff National Park, in the Canadian Rockies, which we visit often enough that my kids call it their happy place.
Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.John Muir
There are so many things I could say about the variety of activities that are available, but in this case I will focus on a day hike we did on the Paradise Valley Trail to Lake Annette. This is one of the most impressive, but accessible, destinations in Banff National Park. True to form, the journey turns out be as important as the destination.
Paradise valley trail takes you by mountain fed streams …
… past magnificent vistas of rock and ice and tumbling water …
… to the peaceful shores of ice covered Lake Annette.
The trail leading up to the lake was still snow covered, so we had a bit of fun going off-trail to get to the lake shore.
But once we got there, the enormity of where we were was wonderfully overwhelming, especially as we stood on the lake shore, directly beneath the sheer ~ 4000 ft north face of Mt. Temple.
This was a hike to remember and one that absolutely satisfied our spectacle quotient.
BTW, for those who wish to do this hike, be aware that the Paradise Valley area is grizzly bear country, and there are hiking restrictions when a bear is known to be in a particular place. Be sure to call the Lake Louise Park Office at (403) 522-3833 on the day of your hike for current trail status, and bring your bear spray.
A quick aside. A big ‘Thank You’ to Michael Lanza at The Big Outside for his wonderful blog post on ‘12 Simple Tips for Taking Better Outdoor Photos’. Used some of those tips to take the pictures above.
If you have any plans to visit Banff National Park, here are some completely random and totally biased items for your consideration:
- Calgary International Airport is the closest airport to Banff (~ 1 hour drive)
- Banff is the name of the mountain town within Banff National Park. Great home base.
- Rimrock Resort Hotel. Built into the side of a mountain, with spectacular views and outstanding service. Hotel guests receive free passes to ride Banff’s public transit system ROAM. TIP: Check in with Executive Sous Chef Patrick Lowing if anyone in your party has food allergies. The kitchen and service staff are outstanding at accommodating special dining needs. We are fans and regulars!
- Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Banff Springs. A truly civilized experience that we always look forward to.
- The Banff Centre. Check their calendar as there is always something going on. Don’t miss the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour when it is playing!
- Bactrax. Great place to rent camping gear and mountain bikes.
- Wild Flour Artisan Bakery Cafe. Excellent coffee. Great food!
On a related, and belated, technical note, I have become a huge fan of T-Mobile for mobile phone service. After my last international trip with its many trials and tribulations to get connectivity, I had broken my contract with my existing provider and switched over to T-Mobile for a variety of reasons:
- No contracts
- No data overages. They simply throttle your speed if you exceed the data limit
- Unlimited International Data and Text are included
As soon as we landed in Canada and turned on data roaming, I got the following notification. The experience was totally seamless, and for the entire time we were in Canada, we ended up roaming on the Rogers LTE and 3G Network. No drop in service; I don’t think any of us used voice at all. Everything was Text/iMessage or email.
Such a difference from previous years when we explicitly turned off data roaming on our smart phones as soon as we lifted off from the U.S. and had to hunt around for wifi! This is international smart phone use priced the way it should be!
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This blog post first appeared on Anil John | Blog (https://blog.aniljohn.com). The opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent my employer’s view in any way.