Pandemic Vacation

This year has been a roller coaster of life - I think we can all agree on that...

Alisha and I had planned a trip for Banff back in August when we came across flight prices that were $270.00 round trip from Toronto to Calgary. A freaken steal if you will.

We flew out on October 26th and made our way to Calgary. The plane was not packed full of passengers, everyone abided by the rules, and everything was extremely clean - for those of you wondering, haha.

Our trip was awesome in one simple word. Due to there being a pandemic, most areas we travelled to were not busy. We never had to wait our turns or push through people to take a pretty picture. Restaurants were quiet, and we never had one bad meal. Our hotel stays were always immaculate, and about 99% of the people we met along the way were friendly and respectful of current precautions.

While our trip was extremely fun, we definitely ran into some wild moments. We requested a Rav4 for our rental vehicle and were soon disappointed to see the keys to a Mazda CX5... sorry Mazda lovers, I was not a fan haha. On the first full day while we were driving back from Emerald Lake, we noticed a car stuck in the ditch. The friendly Canadians that we are thought it would be a good idea to see if the drivers were okay. They were fine, but when I went to continue driving, the whole car started to slide towards the ditch. Luckily, I managed to get the car to stop before we were too close to becoming one with the ditch as well. After a kind local helped me redirect our vehicle, we were onward again. Two days into our trip, we managed to get a massive couple of stone chips in the wind shield (which heads up, is super common and has happened to me every time I'm out west), and the freaken check engine light came on the night before we were supposed to make the trek from Canmore to Jasper. Due to there being no available cars in the area, we had to drive all the way back to Calgary, spend over an hour at the airport filling out paper work and waiting on a vehicle exchange. Our second and last whip of the trip was a Nissan Rouge... also not a fan of haha. By the way, we managed to crack that windshield too haha. Don't be stupid, pay for the daily insurance.

Our favourite stay was at The Malcom Hotel! There is an available heated pool + two hot tubs as well as the most beautifully modernized rooms with epic balcony views. The perfect spot to enjoy an espresso in the morning.

The starting of our drive to Jasper was KNARLY. Only having been on the Icefield Parkway road for 10 minutes, the road conditions changed drastically. Snow, ice and a car completely mangled in the right ditch had us question if going was worth it... But of course, it was. The thing about driving through the mountains is that the elevation changes a lot, and so does the weather. The drive between Canmore to Jasper is about 3.5-4 hours long. During that drive, we hit flurries, rain, and warm sunshine by the time we made it to Jasper. You just have to be prepared to experience all weather conditions and have the confidence to drive in it.

We made so many stops I can't even quite tell you where we all went. Unfortunately quite a few places were closed for the season or were under construction, but it didn't stop us from getting the "mountain experience". Jasper is probably my favourite place to visit as it seems to be the least touristy + the Jasper Brewing Company is the best! We made two stops at Lake Louise - First time was on our second full day in Banff. We arrived at blue hour and stayed until the sun was high up in the sky. Bonus to getting there so early!? NO ONE ELSE WAS THERE! Our second visit was the day we were leaving the mountains. It turned into a beautiful Blue Bird day and we wanted to catch the look of Lake Louise just as golden hour was starting.

This trip is exactly what both our creative souls needed. It felt refreshing to step into new territory and not worry about news headlines every minute of everyday.

I want to send a huge thank you out to Alisha's grandparents for housing us for a couples nights in Calgary, for joining us on part of our trip, and helping us fight to get a discount on our rental car for the time we lost having to exchange vehicles.

Please feel free to ask any questions regarding the trip!