A Travellerspoint blog

Springtime in the Rockies

We arrive in Banff for what locals hope is the last snowfall of the season and go in search of a good hill for tabogganing.

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What is it about freshly fallen snow that turns grown adults into giant kids? Or is it just me who goes a bit ga ga for the cold stuff? Well, the snow here in the Rockies surpassed my expectations, even what was left of it in the Springtime. Friends and family who've visited before, you weren't wrong about the scenery. I don't know why I ever needed convincing to come here.

The Taylor Family Road Trip 2.0 took us from Nelson to our accommodation in Canmore, about 20 minutes outside Banff, in about 8 hours. It was touch and go which route to take as many of the mountain passes regularly close this time of year due to overnight snowfalls and avalanches. Thankfully we cottoned on to an awesome app called DriveBC (short for the province, British Colombia). This clever route planning app integrates weather forecasts and road conditions with instant access to live highway cams. Despite snowfalls overnight, the road was clear through Kootenay Pass and on through Kootenay National Park to Banff.

While on the road we saw snow piled 2m high in places, and we even saw deer munching on fresh grass not far from the road. The scenery was stunning, but nothing could have prepared us for the days ahead.

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For our first day trip we visited Lake Minnewanka which is a stone's throw from Banff. It was almost completely frozen and there was a thick layer of snow on top. Despite the cold, it didn't take long for Lewis and I to prepare for battle. After being pummelled repeatedly at close range, I took aim at the retreating force. Victory was short lived though as, following a brief ceasefire to marvel at the falling snow, fighting resumed 😆😆.

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Next on the hit list was Bow Lake, about 1.5hr drive north. We'd been told that the area still had a massive amount of snow, and they weren't wrong. Like Minnewanka, Bow Lake was also frozen and covered in snow, but this time due to the higher altitude and its location farther north the snow was much deeper at around 3-6m. I've never ever seen that much snow. It was incredible. We made a snowman first and then just tried to take it all in, including the stunning Bow Glacier perched high above us.

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Lake Louise was also amazing (I realise I need to work on my superlatives). In addition to visiting the lake and the fancy Fairmont Chateau, we ventured to the ski resort for innumerable trips down their cool tubing slope. Alec spent a few hours chilling in the crèche, while Lewis enjoyed having mummy and daddy all to himself.

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Overall, we had an absolutely fantastic time in the Rockies, and I'll finish this entry with this tiny observation. In visiting Nelson, I got the feeling that our little Aussie family was a bit unique in visiting there. Everyone we met was seriously interested in who we were, where we were going and why we'd chosen to visit the area. In Banff and the snowfields of the Bow Valley however, I quickly learned that Aussies are a commodity. The barman, the cashier, the ski instructor, the childcare worker; it's like we've invaded. That said, it's also kind of nice to feel connected to a bunch of random strangers. We've all travelled a bloody long way to get here, and we're all in awe of the place.

Posted by netandmatt 19:49 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Road trip Vancouver to Nelson

We test the boys for the first time on the road, catch up with an old travel buddy and enjoy breathtaking views of the Kootenays.

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View Our European Summer - 2017 on netandmatt's travel map.

Matt and I love road trips. There's something truly exciting about hitting the road in search of new places and being the master (and mistress) of your own destiny. It's an accomplishment because you did it yourself. You decided to push on, to take that break, to take that road. This time though we were piling our two little boys in the car with us. Would it be as exciting? Or would it be hell on four wheels?

It certainly took some planning. Route, stops, food, entertainment, and much more. But anyone who knows us well will know that Matt and I are compulsive planners. The journey from Vancouver to Nelson is 660km, and Google told us it'd take 7.5 hours. With stops for lunch and to burn the kids out a bit, all up it took us 11.5 hrs. Yikes!

I wouldn't have thought it, but the journey was exceptional. Luckily with our kids, if they're fed they're happy. Food, glorious food, and we had a lot of it. Lewis was also kept busy with anything from I Spy (we do colours because he cant't spell yet) and sticker books, to creating makeshift cannons out of connector pens, playground pitstops and lakeside lunches. Then when we knew we were on the final approach, say hello to Paw Patrol and Lego City on the iPad. Alec was a champ too. He slept a fair bit and similarly if he was fed he was happy.

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It was a sincere open invite on an old friend's Facebook page that prompted us to consider visiting Nelson. We originally met Adrienne in Tibet while on our 2010/11 round the world trip and travelled with her for about two weeks. Now with her young son Jack, Adrienne showed us around her hometown of Slocan, Nelson and we even took a trip to Ainsworth Hot Springs. The whole region is surrounded by mountains, many still with snow on the tops, with their melt waters spilling into the giant Kootenay Lake. It was spectacular to say the least.

It was as important for the kids to stop and do regular things too. One day we went to the hot springs, the next we visited a local playground or park. We were also lucky enough to go along to Adrienne's playgroup and a local kids clothes swap and family meet up. It was great to do the types of things we would do at home.

Choices in accommodation and length of stay were as important. We lucked on a great AirBNB (our first). A two bed, self contained apartment was definitely the right choice as we could prepare our own meals and had room to spread out. Staying seven nights also gave the boys a bit of stability and a semblance of routine. Taking our time on this trip and giving ourselves space are things we aim to continue on this trip.

Overall, we are so grateful to you Adrienne for sharing your part of the world with us. We hope you can visit us in Brissy one day soon. Next stop, Banff, and another big road trip with the kids.

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Posted by netandmatt 20:26 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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