Waterton National Park – A Southern Alberta Gem

The windiest place in Canada. That is what Waterton National Park is known as being. Having clocked winds of up to 170km an hour. It is also known for its mind-blowing beauty. Prior to this trip, I had no idea of either of those things. How on earth did I not know?! Surely I have been living under a rock.

A short 3 hour drive from Calgary and you will find yourself in the little town of Waterton. The drive itself was beautiful. As you enjoy the country landscape, suddenly you find yourself amongst the wind farms.

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It was the first time in my life I was surrounded by so many wind turbines. So many firsts for me on this trip. It is incredible how majestic these turbines look and feel when you are up close and personal with them. I was in total awe.

As you head into the gates at Waterton National Park your eyes become immediately fixated to the view of the lake engulfed in the mountain range. It doesn’t take long for you to recognize that you are in a very special place.

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The first structure that greets you upon entering the town of just over 100 people is the iconic Prince of Wales Hotel.

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Established in 1927, it has an old world charm to it. It also has the most picturesque view in the whole town. It is as if you don’t want to blink, so you do not miss a moment of the splendour.

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Although sometimes you DO have to close your eyes and feel all the energy surrounding you.

The high tea at the hotel is something not to be missed. An elegant session of pure indulgence, with a view that is equally an indulgence for your eyes.

As you stroll through the quaint little town, the feelings of peace and tranquillity overcome you. My soul was feeling relaxed simply being amongst it all.

I stayed at the Bayshore Inn, which is a hotel that boasts lovely views of the lake. You are short walking distance to all the local restaurants, so it is not a problem to dine.

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Cameron Falls is a short walk from downtown, a beautiful spot where you can enjoy a bit of nature and take some nice photos while on a leisurely stroll.

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The area is known for its fantastic and very accessible hiking. It is amazing to see the aftereffects of the forest fire that nearly wiped out the town in 2017.

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The charred remains with the blanket of regrowth sprouting from the earth show all too well just how big and scary that fire must have been. That being said, the hiking is still incredible. An activity you must partake in when in Waterton National Park.

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Hiking to Bertha Falls is a great 2 hour excursion that is the perfect way to spend a bit of your day. The sights along the way will not dissapoint.

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I happened to be there during the Taste of Waterton food festival and part of their festival includes a pie cruise on the lake. It is exactly what it sounds like, a boat ride with pie. This time was a very special cruise as Country music star Paul Brandt hosted it.

Paul Brandt spoiled us with some music, and we cruised over to the United States side of the lake and back.

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It was anyway exceptional way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Waterton National Park is a very special area. In some ways, I am glad I didn’t know about Waterton prior to this visit as the shock and awe of its beauty went far past what my expectations would have been if I had heard of it. It left my imagination wide open. A bucket list must for all nature enthusiasts.

If you would like to watch my vlog about the visit you can have a peak right here.

Top 5 Free Sights To See On The Icefields Parkway

The Icefields Parkway is labelled one of the most scenic drives in the world, and for a very good reason. While cruising along it you will be immersed in dazzling scenery the entire way. From beginning to end, you will never in your life forget the feast that your eyes indulged in.

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From all the various lakes, rivers, streams and waterfalls, to the exquisite mountain ranges and majestic glacier, you will be in total awe for the whole trip.

Every single visit I make to the Icefields Parkway, I never cease to be totally amazed. It supplies you with an energy surge like none other. You literally feel on top of the world.

Throughout the Icefields Parkway, there are plenty of lodges, hostels, and even the glacier experience.

Yet if you want to do things on the cheap, there are so many amazing and free things to see. Some of the best experiences you will ever have will be those that cost you nothing, other than a little time in nature and tank of gas.

So without further adieu, here are my top 5 free sights to see on the Icefields Parkway.

     1. Valley Of The Five Lakes

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A beautiful, very comfortable and easily navigated 4.5km hike where you will be amazed at the stunning beauty of the 5 lakes.

Each lake has pristine turquoise blue water, yet also boasting their own unique beauty and shape. It seems around every corner you are wowed with mother natures splendour.

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The paths are extremely well maintained with sign postings throughout for easy navigation. You will be ridiculously happy that you made the decision to embark on this little journey.

          2. Athabasca Falls

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The green glacier water from the Athabasca Valley Glacier that flows over this cliff is sure to get your appreciation for nature peaking.

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Surrounded by the incredible mountain range, it brings the magical energy of this spot up to an all-time high.

The falls may be small, yet you can feel the power of the water when you are right beside them. Flowing straight through a gorge only adds to its majestic beauty.

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With well maintained and easily accessible paths surrounding the falls, you will be delighted at all of the pristine photo opportunities of all angles that are on offer.

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     3. Sunwapta Falls

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These tiny falls are the perfect spot to stop and have a little sample of when things are small in size, yet big in beauty.

With that glacier water and unforgettable views, you will once again be amazed at the landscape.

     4. The Athabasca Glacier

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Awe-inspiring. That is exactly what it is. Getting up close and personal with a glacier is an incredibly powerful feeling. It is an easy hike up a path to the base of the glacier, and totally free to do also.

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Prior to this experience I never imagined that a glacier would feel this incredible. The power of nature is all over it.

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The sad part is, is that the glacier is melting at an accelerated rate, which means in the next 100 years it may very well be pretty much gone. So now is the time to get a good look at it.

     5. The Iconic Peyto Lake

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Where dreams are made of. A short uphill hike will take you to this dreamy spot, where you will see that mother nature did not hold back in creating this canvas to be one of mind-blowing proportions.

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The colour of the water is so vibrant it will create waves of inspirational emotion in your mind.

It is so easy to sit and get lost in the splendour of it all. Taking your imagination to new heights. It will make you wish you could stay forever.

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These 5 places will set your soul on fire and re-charge your energy like none other. Let’s not forget – one of the main reasons to visit the Icefields Parkway is to simply enjoy the endless array of beauty that you will not even believe. Seeing is believing, yet when it is that good, it is still hard to believe.

A feast for the eyes, and a treat for the soul.

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What can I say? The best things in life truly are free!

7 Reasons To Visit Kananaskis Lodge

If you want to take a short trip from Calgary and immerse yourself in an awe-inspiring beauty that can help make you feel totally disconnected from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, then Kananaskis Country is the destination for you.

As you drive into the mountain range that engulfs the Kananaskis Country area, you are overcome with a total feeling of serenity. This area is so vast and feels much less saturated with tourists and people as other areas nearby. It is that expansive feeling in the Kananaskis Country that will tug at your soul strings straight away.

Located right in the heart of it all is the newly renovated Kananaskis Lodge. Having undergone a $35 million dollar renovation, the results are astounding. It is the perfect destination for a travel and wellness getaway.

To care for your health means that you will be able to enjoy travelling for so much longer in life. To travel to unimaginable destinations means that you will keep that travel bug strong and anticipate more. When you can combine both, you have a powerhouse adventure combination.

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Here are the top 7 reasons the Kananaskis Lodge should be put on your radar.

1. Check Out The Amazing Renovations – I feel as though that is self-explanatory, but it still has to be said. From the minute you walk into the building it feels luxurious although while also maintaining lodge charm.

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I can say without having seen the lodge prior to the renovations, it is incredibly impressive and absolutely beautiful.

2. Enjoy The Feeling Of Being Surrounded By Pure Nature – at the Kananaskis Lodge, you will enjoy a 360-degree view of the mountains. You can turn in circles as many times as your heart desires and enjoy a never-ending view of the mountain ranges. When you open the curtains on the window in your room, and the soul-soothing sight of the mountains bursts straight in.

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3. To Get Ultimate Spoiling – the above and beyond service for each and every guest does not waver. From the small details to the larger details, you will feel the care and pleasure they take in creating an unforgettable stay for their guest.

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The rooms are impeccably decorated.

 

 


And they even do a turndown service on their heavenly beds.

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4. Enjoy An Incredible Culinary Journey – with 5 restaurants to choose from, and everything from Italian to modern contemporary dishes accompanied with craft cocktails, and fine wine, your taste buds will be awakened every bite and sip of the way. For some, it is about the amenities and for others, it is about the food.

5. Unwind And Release All Your Stresses In The New Nordic Spa – the newly built Nordic Spa is a four-season alpine sanctuary that is a place of sauna lovers dreams.20180509_143708.jpg With three outdoor pools, hot, medium and cold, and various saunas and steam rooms to enjoy. You will be in pure detoxing bliss. Still, under a bit of construction, it is only going to get even better.

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If you want to take it the extra mile, you can also indulge in a massage.

6. Take In One Of The Best Views Of Your Life – hiding behind about 60 feet of trees is a mind-blowing view that will nearly make your eyes burst out of your head with pleasure from feasting on this site.

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If the Spa wasn’t therapy enough, this view will make your soul sing.

7. Enjoy World Class Outdoor Activities – with something to enjoy in every season, you will not be disappointed by the array of options for the outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking, mountain biking, X-Country skiing, skating and snowshoeing, there is something for everyone.

 

Kananaskis Lodge is a place that you will visit and never want to leave. It is one of the most pristine destinations that you will ever immerse yourself in. With all of the bases covered and more, you will fill your heart, soul and belly with nothing less than the most astounding delights.

A slice of paradise in a dreamy location. See you at Kananaskis Lodge.

 

Winter hiking around Johnston’s Canyon in Banff National Park

So it’s no secret that I am always up for an adventure. Rain or shine, snow or ice, if adventure is the name then partaking is my game.

More often then not, I end up on a spontaneous adventure when I am not really prepared at all.

Finally this time around, I knew I would be doing something awesome, so I made sure to pack all the stuff I thought I would need. Not going to lie, I felt pretty proud of myself for being so prepared.

Being in Banff for a couple days, it was certain that some of the area needed to be explored, and particularly area that was yet undiscovered by Moi.

Johnston’s Canyon is a place that I had heard about many times. It is a hop skip and a jump from Banff, and so it tends to be a popular destination for an easy and very enjoyable hike.

I actually didn’t even know what to expect really, and of course, when you go into something with no expectations, it always ends up being awesome!

Upon embarking on this leisurely little hike, I felt like a boss. I was totally prepared and ready to just have a seamless afternoon adventure. The weather was ideal, the energies high, and I was ready to rock this.

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The paths are well laid out, and the scenery is spectacular!

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I learned very quickly though, that with the number of people that do this hike, the paths become pretty icy, and if you are not wearing the right shoes(which I wasn’t) you are in for a bit of a challenge.

Of course, when I thought I had it all together, some minor yet not so minor detail had to come and knock me off of my high horse.

My shoes were crap.

There is no other way to put it really. Let’s just be honest here. Luckily this isn’t a fashion blog, because if it was, this time around would be a major fail.

I hadn’t even made it to the first lookout point at the Lower falls and I was already struggling. I was actually not just struggling, I was worried about what the way down was going to be like.

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I was thinking right then, that cleats for my shoes would have been a winning idea.

I did manage to make it to the lower falls lookout point, barely, but still with enthusiasm.

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Stunning! Seriously stunning.

From there I made my way to the upper falls.

The frozen falls are so majestic on the cliff side. It’s as though mother nature is singing a song that only your soul can hear.

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Obviously, I couldn’t just stop there, I had to get myself to the higher Upper Falls lookout point to get another angle. Like the upper – upper falls.

The struggle was real!! I was questioning it on my way up as it was even more difficult than getting to the lower falls. Not in an extreme hike sort of way, simply in an extreme icy uphill sort of way.

My inadequate shoes just weren’t cutting it. I will say, that I wasn’t the only one with this problem. I did see others in the exact same situation.

Once the upper -upper viewpoint, it made it all worth it. Another incredible scene to bask in. I love the recharging you energy you get in nature, and it’s truly amazing when you compare and enjoy the contrast of winter to summer.

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I was pretty certain I was going to ride down on my butt. Just when I was on the verge of doing just that, this lovely couple who had asked me to take a photo of them at the lower falls and send it to them as their phones and camera died, came gracefully trotting along in their cleated shoes.

As their cleats were tie on ones and they were so grateful to me for taking their photos for them, they offered to lend me a pair to hike down with.

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LIFESAVERS!! Seriously, it was one of those moments when angels appear.

I was suddenly able to run up and down all the hills. Almost like walking on water.

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Talk about what goes around comes around. Paying it forward is a truly a beautiful thing.

It gave me the opportunity to really take in all of my surroundings on the way down. What a gift.

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Johnston’s Canyon truly is an absolutely wonderful place. A place in which I look forward to returning in the summer to enjoy the contrast.

However that being said, if you decided to visit in the winter, I have one word for you…… CLEATS!

Happy hiking!