Oh Canada: Alberta Edition

OK, so the Calgary version of our summer travels is a few months overdue but better late than never, right? Go here in case you missed Oh Canada: The Lakehouse Part I. 

Generally, the kids and I spend a few weeks in Canada but now that I’m working, we had to cram it all into two weeks, including four days of drive time. The good news is that even though I did the entire drive myself, our newish Honda Pilot didn’t break down even once!

The drive to Calgary from British Columbia goes through Banff National Park and one of these days, I’d love to spend an extended amount of time exploring. Moraine Lake has been on our bucket list since the car overheated at the turn-off last year…and the road was closed because all the lots were full (welcome to Banff in the summertime). This year was our second attempt and once again, the turn-off was closed so we did a loop around the Chateau Lake Louise and as we were driving back down, the road miraculously opened!

What a difference a few years makes.

We only had a few days in Calgary so spent lots of downtime with Mom and Dad that included Mom’s happy place: PEDICURES.

Biking with Dad in Fish Creek Provincial Park. Even at 77 years old, my dad still keeps up with me on our long rides but hills are getting harder so he bought a pedal-assist bike…and has clocked 1,000 miles in just three months. Today during our 16-miler, he raced past a teenager, shouting out, “You’re pretty fast but we’re faster” and later posted that it took him longer than usual because I was holding him back. 

And a visit to Calgary wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the mud pits. The good: The glorious 70-degree temps warmed up just enough to enjoy an afternoon hike to our secret mud pits/swimming hole. The bad: Right after Bode [intentionally] face-planted in the mud, he announced he accidentally spit out his gum.

We didn’t make it to Peter’s for their famous milkeshakes but REGRUB is a new favorite. Cheesecake. S’mores. Cotton candy. Birthday cake. Doughnut toppings. We fasted all day for their milkshakes and they did not disappoint.

Our time in Calgary was waaaaay too short but I was thrilled to spend a night at my favorite place on earth: Waterton Lakes National Park. Dad joined us a for a fun day in the park and we stayed the night at my mom’s cousin Judy’s farmhouse 20 minutes away.

It has been several years since we returned and I had envisioned how it would play out. Hike Bear’s Hump for epic views. Play in Red Rock Canyon’s natural obstacle course. Maybe even canoe at Cameron Lake.

Unbeknownst to me, last year’s huge fire closed a large portion of the park, including my favorite hiking areas. Fortunately, Plan B in Waterton is just as glorious. We lunched at the Prince of Wales Hotel with some of the best views in the world (and I ran into my student writer Grace who just happened to be there for a family reunion).

Riding surrey bikes has been on my Waterton bucket list for ages but what I didn’t remember is just how hard it was…and how much we laughed at how hard it was. At one point, I jumped out to push the bike up the hill because it was such a killer workout. And we returned them 30 minutes early. Note to self: Sometimes reality isn’t as swell as what you envision.

But the stops along the way were memorable and I can’t wait for another visit to my favorite place on earth with my favorite people.

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