So I get 2 days off a week...pretty normal...but out here, when you have 2 days off, you really make the most of it! There is so much to do around here, and everything is so new to me, so the list of things I want to do is ENDLESS!
But last week I had Monday & Tuesday off, and went on an epic adventure...
It began on Sunday afternoon. Just after finishing work I madly packed a bag of things, with no idea what I needed as the adventure I was going on wasn't planned by me, it was planned by Ness (someone I work with out here). My only plan was to head to Banff (around 2.5hrs away) to buy a mini fridge for my roommate and I, I ended up doing way more than that!
So after madly packing my bag with no idea what was in store, I quickly ate dinner before jumping in Ness' Jeep for our road trip.
We left the Icefield and headed to Canmore (20mins out of Banff), first in an attempt to catch up with some friends of Ness'. Basically just before getting to Canmore, it turned out that our plan wasn't going to go ahead as the friend wasn't available anymore. By a stroke of luck a friend from Calgary (100kms away) told us that he had 2 tickets available to a launch event hosted at a bar in town and invited us...
So of course we decided at 9pm to add another 100kms to our road trip and head to Calgary. I drove from Canmore to Calgary while Ness searched for somewhere for us to stay. She brought her beautiful Labrador "Ted"with us so the place needed to be pet friendly. Ness found a cheap place not too far from the bar and booked it for us.
Once we arrived in Calgary at our hotel, we found out that the launch party we were going to, for some reason was not going ahead...so we ended up just heading to another bar and meeting Ness' friend regardless...our Taxi driver was super quiet, I think he either didn't like us trying to give him directions, or he just didn't speak English well.
The place we went to was called "Knoxville's" - which is usually a country music bar/nightclub..but that Sunday night they were actually playing some really great music, not your typical club rubbish, but actually good dance music. The DJ was actually pretty rad and played a mashup of Frank Sinatra's New York & Jay-Z's Empire State of Mind - which was just the best thing I've heard in a club in a long time!
Also, Knoxville's bathroom downstairs blew my mind. I know this isn't that strange other places, but in Australia we don'd do this...In the bathroom there was a man there to dry your hands, offer you free snacks, chips, lollies, breath mints...and COLOGNE. The guy looked at me and saw I was confused and had no idea what this rad little shop like thing was doing in the bathroom and said: "Yo man, you're not from round here hey"then he laughed. He hooked me up with some delicious Calvin Klein cologne and we had a good chat. Australia needs to do this more often, it was awesome! Safe to say, the rest of the night was cool, met some awesome people and had a lot of fun!
The next day we woke up, found coffee and headed off to Canmore. I've really been missing good coffee here in Canada, especially out at the Icefield. So on our way to Canmore we stopped for a delicious coffee on our way to a hike to try and find a Cold War Bunker at Heart Creek. It's a mountain strongbox to hold valuable documents and other precious items at the height of the cold war, claiming to be safe from fire, floods, wind, rodents, insects, earthquakes & bombs. Unfortunately we didn't find it, but we did have a great hike and got to see some gorgeous views, so well worth stopping for. I'd like to go back another time and try find the bunker or reach the summit of the climb.
Afterwards we headed to Canmore to meet up with Ness' friend for her birthday & lunch. Canmore is a cute little town and I could see myself living there for the winter...so that is a possibility. After lunch we went to Ness' old place she used to live in Canmore and picked up her mattress to go in the car.
We took the mattress in the car to Two Jack Lake, not far from Canmore, reversed into a park so we were overlooking the lake and had a much needed nap. After the late night in Calgary and the hike I was definitely ready for a sleep. Two Jack Lake was gorgeous and pretty quiet considering it was the long weekend.
The water was a stunning teal colour, the temperature was perfect and the air was fresh. It was the perfect spot for a little afternoon nap.
After the nap, we made a quick stop at Banff to pick up the mini fridge on our way further North. We left Banff, and began our drive to Revelstoke where we were planning to stay the night. The drive to Revelstoke was gorgeous, we drove through the mountains, winding down roads through the valley around sunset. It was such an awesome drive, the views out here never get old.
Once we arrived in Revelstoke we found a dark, quiet street to park the Jeep as we were sleeping in the car that night. After finding the perfect spot we walked to the closest bar (the only bar that seemed to be open in Revelstoke on a Monday night) and had a beer there. For a while we were the only people in the bar, so we just chatted to the bar tender and got a few local tips on places to see and things to do. After our beer, the tiredness really hit us so we made our way back to the car. We shared the car with Ted who loves to snore and sit on you throughout the night, which sounds cute, but he is a heavy boy who snores like a freight train.
The next morning after taking Ted for a walk around the block to do his doggy duties, we headed for breakfast. One of the first places we walked passed was called "DOSE" which instantly caught my eye. It had a very Australian cafe vibe. It was a very hispter feeling cafe, with graffiti style artwork on the inside walls, old VCR's & dinosaur toys on display, and trendy recycled timber furniture. Other than being rad to look at, their food and coffee was to beyond delicious. It turns out that the owners are actually from the Sunshine Coast in Australia (must be why the coffee was so good).
Ness and I shared our table with Ashley, a Canadian girl from Toronto who is living and working in Revelstoke. We sat and chatted to Ashley for over an hour while we had breakfast, we tried to convince her to come with us on adventures that day instead of working, but she had too much to do. After breakfast we slowly began our drive home to the Icefield. It was around 4.5hr drive to get back so we made a few stops along the way.
One was a hike not far out of Revelstoke called "Balsam Lake". This hike felt kind of similar to home, it was more rain forest feeling than pine forest like the other hikes I have done in Canada so far. It was really lush and green. As we climbed higher up the trail we came to a section which was still covered in snow. We continued on and we are so glad that we did...About 500m past the snow we crossed a little wooden bridge. Ted was going crazy at this point, barking and making a lot of noise, which we thought was a massive over reaction to the little bird we saw fly past. Turns our Ted's sense of smell life a lifesaver. As we rounded the next corner there was a large Black Bear on the trail, which as soon as it saw us, ran away from us. The bear then stopped and appeared to be standing it's ground, it stood up tall as if to say, back off. It turned out that the bear was not 1, but 2...It was a Mumma Black Bear and her cub. The cub climbed the tree and the mother bear was protecting it. I tried to get a good photo of the two, but with the bear staring me down, and Ted making so much noise we decided it was best to turn around and head back down the trail and leave them be. This is the only semi-decent photo I got of the two (I didn't want to get closer for obvious reasons).
We were both super excited as this was our first time ever seeing bears on a hike. I was especially stoked because I've only been in Canada for 2 months!
We made our way back to the car, and continued on our way home. We stopped for lunch in Golden at a bar the backed onto a glacier fed river which was a really nice spot to eat. Our final stop on the way home was for a nap, of course...what else do you do on your days off after you've been going non-stop and hiking/adventuring. So we stopped by a river, relaxed in the sunshine and attempted to have a nap, however Ted had other plans. He thought bringing us large sticks (almost logs) was affectionate, so we spent most of the time entertaining Ted instead.
After the sun began to set behind the mountains we decided to pack up, get back in the car and head home. The drive back was around 2hrs from there and it was gorgeous, the sun light bouncing off the mountain was amazing.
We arrived back at the Icefield around 10pm and we were both super tired from a full on weekend. It was a massive 2 days away but I had the best time. I love the crazy super packed weekends away and I love having the chance to see more of this beautiful country. I will definitely head back to Revelstoke, that place was beautiful and I fell in love with it in the very short time I was there....maybe I'll head there for the winter....you'll have to wait and see.