Winter Journals: Banff, a whimsy winter
Imagery and words by TDKCreative.com.au
We hold onto our take away hot chocolates as they rapidly cool. It’s minus 14 today, a warmth we never knew we could miss until landing in Calgary at minus 22 the previous morning.
Our incredible guide Magda from White Mountain Adventures had picked us up from the airport and tried to contain her smile as we dramatically gasped for air emerging from the heated waiting room.
Mags was nothing short of amazing. A soul that embodies the authenticity of Canada, whilst smelling a little like maple syrup, having an encyclopaedia of local knowledge on Alberta and driving the warmest, most comfortable van we have seriously ever travelled in. If you are headed to Alberta you can’t go past White Mountain Adventures.
Swamping Mags with stories of bruised knees, questions about sasquatches and secretly trying to hint for a pancake stop, we were soon on our way to Banff.
Stopping briefly sixty minutes out from town, we were able to visit the Yamnuska Wolf Dog Sanctuary, a not for profit organisation providing educational programs on the importance of preserving wolves in the wild. We learnt a lot from the beautiful animals here, unwillingly donating a beanie and some gloves to inquisitive pups, eager to make our winter accessories their next chew toys.
There was a sense of winter whimsy about Banff. Situated in its own National Park and nestled amongst Alberta’s Rocky Mountain Range, this town is surrounded by glaciers, ice fields, dense forest and alpine landscapes that leave even the most grounded of travellers floating on air in awe. The outlook from our rooms at Inns of Banff was spectacular. Overlooking a portion of the 360-degree mountain views that surround the town. Our first day was spent at the stunning Lake Louise making snow angels, taking a horse drawn sleigh ride along the lake to magnificent frozen waterfalls and hiking through an ice drenched Johnston Canyon. To be honest I was waiting for someone to propose, it all just seemed too dreamy to be true.
The remainder of our time here was given to exploring the beautiful town of Banff with help from the amazing team at Tourism Banff Lake Louise. Taking the chair lift up to gasp at the view from Mt. Norquay, watching a wild deer trot through main street as we sipped our morning coffees and slowly but surely walking down the street without slipping on the ice.
Seeing this town disappear in the rear view mirror wasn’t the easiest thing to do and I noticed Tanika cross her arms in protest staring out the window. If I had known what lay ahead at our next location, it would have been a lot easier to wipe the just ate too many sour snakes look from her face. And then we arrived…