Published: July 23rd 2011June 19th 2011
Road Trip 2011
(Photo by Sonja Wilmsen)
Enter Trevor and Kristena's Vacation 2011.
Originally, when dreaming of taking two weeks off, our heads danced with thoughts of beaches somewhere fabulous and far away. Like Cuba. Mexico. Jamaica. You know, a vacation of the "all-inclusive" variety - the kind that isn't really travelling (in our opinion) but is absolutely relaxation at it's finest? The kind where if you book last minute and don't care which country you end up in, about $1000 gets you up and on a tropical beach with a beer by 10am? After an incredibly tough start to 2011 and a stressful semester at school, that's the only vacation we had in mind for this year, if we managed one at all.
Now enter email from our old travel buddy Sonja. Trevor and I met Sonja in Cambodia in April 2008. We really liked her (which says a ton, because we tend to be quite leery of solo travellers), and extended the offer to stay with us if she ever came to Canada. Her email said that she was coming for 3 weeks, and asked if we'd be up for the road trip we promised we'd take her on if she ever came to
our country. That translates to "Goodbye beer and beaches. Hello mountains and bears."
On the one hand, we felt a little bummed about missing the beaches and quite stressed about the cost of being tourists in Canada. On the other hand though, we were thrilled to show off our beautiful country! It also seemed like an opportunity to finally explore places we've been wanting to for a while. When given the chance to blow a couple thousand dollars by travelling abroad or in Canada, we always choose abroad because "staying home" just doesn't feel like travelling. And it's fleepin expensive to travel in Canada!
The plan: Well, it snowballed.
First we said we'd just take her to the Rockies. Five days max. Then the Rockies and Edmonton/Calgary. But who really wants to visit Calgary? And other than West Edmonton Mall and our families, what would be the point of Edmonton? So then it became the Rockies and the Okanagan. Seven days should be plenty. But what about Vancouver Island? We could see Tofino; we're dying to see Tofino! Hmmm. Ok, the Rockies, Okanagan, and Vancouver Island it is. That can be done in ten days. Wait, Whistler!
We forgot Whistler! Alright, the Rockies, Okanagan, Vancouver Island, and
Whistler. Uh, we'll definitely need two weeks.
And that's how Road Trip 2011 came to be.
Worth mentioning is that Sonja is from Holland - a country which can be driven from one side to other in about 5 hours. "Road Trip" in Holland means something slightly different than "Road Trip" in Canada! We decided to blog our trip, because even though to us road tripping in Canada doesn't quite feel like "travelling," we know that it's the stuff (expensive) dreams are made of for others!
The Adventure Itinerary:
Whitewater rafting. Hiking. Lots of hiking. Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Tacky tourist shopping. Hot Springs. Bow Valley Parkway. Lake Louise. Tea house on a fleepin mountain. Bears, find bears! Columbia Icefield. Maligne Canyon. Refugee Camp. Emergency root canal. Craigdarroch Castle. Butchart Gardens. Royal BC Museum. Tofino beaches! Whale Watching. Hug big trees. Zip lining. Hide from bears. Peak to Peak Gondola. Billabong Snowboarding Competition. Suspension Bridge. Home!
First stop: Golden.
We left home (Surrey, BC), drove 9.5hrs to Golden and crashed for the night at a wonderful hostel (Dreamcatcher Hostel) so that we
could Whitewater Raft on the Kicking Horse River in the morning! None of us had rafted before and we read that the Kicking Horse River is considered the best river in Alberta and British Columbia to do so. Sign us up! First we're sitting there... sitting there... wondering what all the hype is about... and then Bam! We're drenched in glacier water and holding on for dear life! The river had from class 1 to class 4+ rapids and was absolutely exhilarating! So much fun!
While in Golden, we had also hoped to go up Kicking Horse Mountain to meet Boo the Bear at the Grizzly Bear Refuge. Boo, however, wasn't home. The week prior to our trip, he'd escaped his refuge in hopes of finding a little lady bear friend to play with and the Bear Search and Rescue people were looking for him. So no Boo for us. Fingers crossed though that we'll bump into his friends over the next few weeks - preferably from the safety of our car or a chairlift or something. Not, you know, while we're out on a hike, all by ourselves, sweaty and smelling delicious on a secluded trial somewhere. Just
Whitewater Rafting Day
Really excited, and a little bit nervous. The river moves fast and looks cold!
putting that out there!
There are more photos below