Western Canada had originally been visited in 1995 by my wife and I, but not by members of our family. This time my daughter and boyfriend accompanied us on an epic 2500 mile journey from Calgary, through the Rockies to Sun Peaks at Kamloops, Whistler, Vancouver Island and Victoria and then on to Washington State and Seattle in the USA before returning to Vancouver. This is a brief description of that visit interspersed with a few photographs.
The Bow River at Banff Springs
Western Canada, and especially the Rockies, is a most picturesque part of the World. The lakes , the scenery with snow capped mountains and the fast flowing rivers and waterfalls give a wonderful impression of this vast and rugged country.
But let us start at the beginning! We set off from Manchester Airport with JMC on board their Airbus A300 aircraft bound for Calgary in Alberta, Western Canada. On arrival a vehicle had to be hired and this was arranged with Hertz in Calgary. We were lucky in that had a Ford Explorer 4 x 4 seven seater, which was a Vancouver vehicle, and they wanted it returned to the Vancouver area. So we managed to get it for half the normal price because of this and boy did we enjoy driving it!! Air conditioning, cruise control and automatic transmission was standard. In all we traveled 2500 miles.
Edith and the Ford Explorer(above left) and with Jim at the Banff Springs Hotel
Banff Springs is only a short distance from Calgary and we managed to stop at Canmore for lunch on the way before finding a nice Hotel in Banff Springs (not the Banff Springs Hotel, though we did manage to have a drink there in the Lounge overlooking the Bow Valley). It was Canada Day when we arrived so we only managed to have a one night stay in the town before moving on the next day to Lake Louise. However, it was just about enough time to visit all the attractive places in the area including the Bow Falls and Bow River and the Banff Springs Golf Club which probably has the most attractive scenery anywhere in the World surrounding it, together with a gondola trip up Sulphur Mountain.
From Banff Springs we headed up to Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and the Spiral Tunnels. We spent two nights at Lake Louise Village and had ample time to fully explore the area.
Sherry at Chateau Lake Louise
From Lake Louise we headed up the Icefield Parkway via the Takakkaw Falls (the highest falls in Canada) and the Athabasca Glacier to Jasper where we managed to find accommodation at the Jasper House Bungalows. From here we explored Miligne Canyon and Lake, Medicine Lake, the Athabasca River where Sherry and David took part in river rafting, Jasper itself, the Athabasca Falls. Miligne Lake was particularly interesting since we took a boat cruise to the top of the lake and saw the famous view at Spirit Island. Spirit Island is near the south end of Milligne Lake and is only accessible by boat. The spectacular peaks surrounding Spirit Island were named by the explorer, Mary Schaeffer.
From Jasper, we headed back along the Icefield Parkway to Kicking Horse Pass and visited the Jimmy Simpson Lodge on the way before arriving at Kamloops and a two night stay at the Sun Peaks Holiday Resort a few miles North of Kamloops.
After a first class stay at the Sun Peaks Resort, we headed for Hell’s Gate and the Fraser Canyon before following the Fraser to Lillooette and then on to a one night stop in Whistler, an older Ski Resort than Sun Peaks. The next day we caught the Ferry to Vancouver Island from Horseshoe Bay and made our way to Victoria where we had a one night stay in the very impressive Empress Hotel.
In the morning we caught the Ferry to Port Angeles in Washington State and eventually arrived at Sandpiper Beach Resort for a one night stay right on the Pacific coast..........And so back to Canada and the border between USA and Canada near Bellingham (left). We stayed for our last three nights at the Accent Inns near the Airport in Vancouver.
A day tour of the city was made by coach when Stanley Park, Prospect Point, Queen Elizabeth Park and many other areas were visited.
A wonderful holiday was had by all in this vast, rugged but well developed part of the World.