Aiden and Taylor’s wedding day was one filled with family and friends and joy.
Sara and Calvin hosted me on a bit of an adventure photography session. I had never been up to Chilliwack Lake before and everything about it was awesome: the road up, the scenery along the way, the little stops we made, the lake with the scenic backdrop, the hike to the bridge, the forested areas… it was all so good. So many options and opportunities. We shot until the light left us which is my favorite time of day to photograph.
Thanks for everything you two! Can’t wait until your wedding day!
Day 5: Icefield Parkway. We stopped at every scenic spot along the way.
We had barely gotten on the Icefield Parkway and we saw Herbert Lake with gorgeous reflections.
We stopped for lunch at Bow Lake.
Next stop: Peyto Lake. The hike up to the lake was very busy but walking through the alpine forest was gorgeous.
Looks like a dog’s head.
We had to get off the touristy areas to get a photo without people. This was on quite a slope and I could just imagine the kids tumbling down.
Fields of wildflowers.
When we arrived at the Columbia Icefields hotel: the Glacier Inn, Kate immediately climbed into the bed and declared it hers.
The hotel is right across from the Icefields.
Our options for dinner were: an overpriced cafeteria that was just about closing, a fancy restaurant or bbq picnic.
Showers and a clean bed are the best feeling. And a little bit of TV.
These 2 fell asleep together.
Day 6: Columbia Icefields
The hotel room had a loft with 2 twin beds for the older boys. It was nice to find a hotel that could fit our family!
On the Ice Explorer! We booked our tour through Glacier Adventure.
The ice explorer goes down the track to the ice fields at a 45 degree angle. It’s no joke.
Really you can’t get fresher water.
Crazy kid. Also he had to borrow the pants from his older brother because he only brought one pair of shorts.
Filling up with fresh ice water.
Completely safe to drink.
Part of the package was the sky walk.
We were hungry and just wanted to head back and grab food.
Our wild goat sighting.
After the Columbia Icefields, we headed towards our campground in Jasper. On the way, we stopped at Sunwapta Falls.
Slow shutter speed.
Fast shutter speed.
The tree roots were so amazing.
We arrived at Whistlers Campground in Jasper National Park where Kate decided it was her turn to drive.
There was a swing set behind our oTENTik.
Day 7: Jasper National Park / Whistlers Campground / Pyramid Lake
The kids really liked this campground. It was huge and there was lots of options for biking.
A stroll by Pyramid Lake in the afternoon. It was smoky due to wildfires this day.
Day 8: Athabasca Falls
Day 9: Maligne Canyon and Maligne Lake
The lake and the canyon are quite far apart. We drove quite a way to the Lake afterwards.
Forest fire destruction.
I only wish we had booked the boat tour of Maligne Lake to see Spirit Island and to break up all the hiking / walking we did on our trip. When we arrived at the Lake, tours were booking several days in advance and we knew that we would not be back.
Driving back to camp.
We watched this bear for some time. He was playing in the sand as he climbed up the mountain.
Day 10: Edith Cavell
In order to travel the road up to Mt. Edith Cavell, we needed a permit. Art stood in line several days earlier to get us the permit. Due to road and parking improvements, the parks were only allowing 180 people up the road per day. As you can imagine, it was quite quiet while we were there.
White aspen grove. We had driven through the area on our way to / from Pyramid Lake earlier in the week. I knew I wanted to come back and take a couple of photos.
Then this happened! A family of elk crossing the road in my white aspen grove at sunset.
Such beautiful animals.
And such pretty trees!
Mount Robson in BC on the way home.
Mt. Robson in the rear view. On our way home!
Last year about this time, we booked our stays for Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. This is a trip that my husband has wanted to do since we were first married over 13 years ago. Over the years, we had considered different options: renting an RV or hotels / airbnb or cabins but we just couldn’t figure out how to travel affordably while keeping it an authentic camping experience.
I sort of stumbled across the oTENTik option and it was a no brainer. We choose to vacation for 10 days total, knowing that 2 full days would be travel days. We booked oTENTiks in Banff National Park and in Jasper National Park and stayed one night in between at the Glacier View Inn, the only hotel on the Icefield parkway.
Day 1: Travelling to Banff from Abbotsford.
Yes, we fit 4 kids, 2 adults, all our food and clothing and camping gear in our Toyota Sienna and in the Thule. We travel fairly light as far as camping goes. Mattias helped with the light travel by packing only 1 pair of shorts and no pants. He would later regret this decision.
As most families with young children, we wanted to get there as quickly as possible so we minimized stops. In Field, BC (on the border of BC / Alberta), there was a large traffic accident and we were stopped for about 45 minutes. We quite enjoyed the location and scenery.
Everyone was able to stretch their legs for a bit.
Finally, we arrived in Banff. We had booked the oTENTiks at Tunnel Mountain II. The oTENTik came with power outlets for charging phones, a Weber bbq and a large propane cylinder with free refills. The picnic table had 220V outlet for a coffee maker or toaster. I had not read about these extras on the website and was pleasantly surprised.
First wildlife sighting right by our campsite.
Due to the wildfires, there was a fire ban in the National Parks but we were allowed to use our propane firepit.
Day 2: Banff Town & Bow River Trail & Bow Falls
Kate was always climbing hills and running off into the bush to explore.
The Bow Falls.
Pretty cool view of the Fairmont Hotel behind us.
Vegetation on the opposite side of the Bow River.
Day 3: Moraine Lake & Lake Louise
Everyone we talked to recommended an early start if we wanted to see the big tourist attractions. We heard that we needed to be in the parking lots before 9 am, or even as early at 7 am. 9 am was tough enough because Moraine Lake was about a 1 hour drive from our campground.
Views of the Valley of the Ten Peaks as we approached Moraine Lake.
Moraine Lake was incredibly busy. The parking lot was packed with vehicles and tour busses. We saw a trail head and decided to explore something off the beaten track.
We founds snow!
Finally arrived at the Consolation Lakes.
Some pretty spectacular scenery.
Didn’t realise until I downloaded it that the photo was entirely out of focus.
Little girl in a big big world.
Our Christmas card photo! Self timer on a rock.
Then a nice Dutchmen came around and offered to take this shot.
My view of Art most of the trip: packing 2 kids.
After our hike, we walked up some stairs and were able to see the iconic view of Moraine Lake.
Another self timer photo or 2.
Truly spectacular to see this in real life.
The water was really cold.
We had worked up quite an appetite and went for a late late lunch at the Mountain Restaurant.
We arrived at Lake Louise at around 3:30/4:00 ish. It turns out that you can easily check out the tourist attractions later in the afternoon and I found that this was a really nice time of day for our family. The sun is lower in the sky allowing for nicer photos and it wasn’t nearly as hot. The crowds had dissipated. This was probably my favorite hike and sightseeing from the whole trip. The kids were happy, the scenery so pretty, we walked until it was no longer stroller friendly — the other side of the lake had mud / clay which the kids enjoyed digging in, and a surprise boardwalk and falls. We would have loved to go all the way to the teahouse — but we didn’t have the backpack with us.
Getting close to the water at Lake Louise.
The trail around Lake Louise was stroller friendly.
The Fairmont Chateau at Lake Louise.
Inventing challenges for themselves. Who can keep their finger in the ice cold water the longest.
Indian Paintbrush wildflower
Opposite side of Lake Louise.
She gets really giddy when she is tired.
James’ ‘I’m so bored’ face.
Day 4: Johnston Canyon. An easy walk along the canyon.
Day 5: Leaving Banff & oTENTik tour.
When the oTENTik was clean, I thought I’d snap some photos of the inside.
Table, chairs, bench and lantern included. The vinyl flaps clip on and off for privacy in the mattress area. There’s a double mattress on top and 4 twins on the bottom. There’s a vinyl flap that separates 2 mattresses from the other 2.
It was a morning full of mini sessions all for a great cause: A Home for Every Child Adoption Agency. The money fund-raised for this worthy cause goes towards: adoption and fostering consultations, offering assistance to families as they pursue adoption and foster care, the post-adoption assistance fund for families to support their children with special needs once they bring them home, awareness campaigns that communicate about the many children waiting for families, and to the counselling services available for families once they bring their children home.
Thanks to all the families that participated! I will likely do this again, if asked. 🙂