S: Canadian Rockies - July 18-25, 2011
BC: Meeting Grandma Katie Baergen was the perfect ending to our trip. This is the most amazing, giving, godly woman, and I admire her greatly. | Thank you, Braedon Mandtler, for a wonderful vacation!
FC: The Great Outdoors | Canadian Rockies July 18-25, 2011
1: On a beautiful Monday afternoon, Braedon and I left the business of life and embarked on an extraordinary journey into the wilds of the Canadian Rockies. | "Here, can I pour your coffee into your mug for you?" SPLAT... As the coffee hit my knee, the floor, and part of the dash. What a mess!
2: First a quick stop in Edmonton to visit family, pick up rollerblades, and make friends with Tucker.
3: It was a delightful drive the next day from Edmonton to our campsite in Jasper. We stopped in Evansburg, AB, to get a picture of the trestle bridge and learned it is the "Home of the Grouch." I'm sure he worked at the car wash. Thankfully the scenery only got better from there on in. | "X. What are you?" | "Square yourself." | "Good...I like that." | Meanwhile, Braedon, fresh out of school, kept quoting his math teacher the entire trip.
4: Setting up tents was an adventure in itself. Although my superior square tent was easy to construct, peg into the ground, and generally set up, Braedon's tent obviously had more character... and looked like a caterpillar, in my opinion. Thank goodness for a hatchet to hammer in the pegs. | Please don't kill me, Braedon...
5: CAMPING | What a beautiful site! | With camp set up it was a quick meal of sandwiches and time to explore. | Day 1: Sandwiches
6: Pyramid Lake | "The sandwich, it was corrupt."
7: Both Patricia Lake and Pyramid Lake are places of great beauty. While wandering the island at Pyramid Lake we saw many gorgeous sites, but it was so cold.
8: Tree huggers. | "Watch where you're putting those hands!" "SCANDAL!!"
9: The icy waters of Pyramid Lake.
10: Thank goodness for Tupperware | Hanging out with Jasper the Bear | Best bacon cook around | I have a family to feed. Please let me live!
11: Don't waste the batter | Breakfast of champions | We couldn't go to Jasper without seeing Jasper the Bear, but the next morning we got up and made the most amazing breakfast. | Pancakes and bacon make for a delicious breakfast, although the ice melting in the cooler caused a bit of trouble later in the trip. There is nothing quite like a cooler smelling of milk and hot dog juices mixed in a giant vat of warm water.
13: Our campsite was spectacular and the Athabasca River flowed past directly behind our site. Coffee by the river in the morning was a great way to start the day.
15: Throughout the trip my camera had difficulties recognizing distances and frequently you could hear one of us say, "Camera...I am not a flower." Even with it's issues, it still took this beautiful, yet completely unintentional picture. This entire page is dedicated to the disobedient settings on my camera.
16: Let's just stand up here and watch people creepily as they walk by.
17: Welcome to Maligne Canyon | A strange man with a camera requested our picture on the top of the canyon walkway. He said it was for perspective, I thought he was creepy.
18: At Maligne Lake we strolled the paths and were amazed when a doe walked right up to us and passed us on the side. It was God's blessing to see his creation so close. | Maligne Lake
19: We considered going canoeing on the lake but the wind was blowing and the boat house didn't seem open.
20: While I was filming the awe-inspiring scenery around us, Braedon calmly said, "I'm going to hit a chipmunk." Thump. It never stood a chance.!Well, except the slight chance that if Braedon had the time to say he was going to hit the chipmunk, perhaps he had the time to dodge it. Or not. I laughed.
21: Later that week Braedon was driving down a path and the car came to a sudden halt and stalled. "I dodged a squirrel." Yeah, I laughed. And laughed and laughed and laughed... That pretty much sums up the majority of the trip. Happiness, laughter, and seriously good times.
22: Chopping firewood was an adventure of its own. Armed with only a hatchet and an old log, we managed to chop all the firewood we needed, but not without a lot of laughs. | The last day the neighbouring campers felt sorry for us and lent us their ax. Oh how I want an ax!
23: Making meals doesn't always go as planned. | This just goes to show that one really does need more than a fire to cook hotdogs. | How could anyone keep a straight face with a stick that bent? It was a highlight of our camping experience. | Granted, our meals weren't always the most healthy, but hotdogs are plentiful and easy to make, or so we thought before we realized we didn't have any sticks. Braedon picked a solid little stick, but all I could find was a green twig, which didn't turn out so well. I had a very burnt end to my hotdog. Eventually we purchased sticks.
24: The Jasper Tramway took us to the top of Mount Whistlers where we enjoyed a very chilly breakfast. The ride on the tram was spectacular, and it was nice to have the tram to ourselves.
25: In the restaurant at the top of the tram we shivered as we ate but decided to hike to the peak of the mountain regardless of the fact that we couldn't see it. The fog, snow, and sleet became a deterrent and we soon walked back down to the restaurant to await the next tram. | I think I see a Hoary Marmot!
26: Athabasca Falls | While touring about, Braedon seemed to gain an aversion to Asians. Not that they are bad people, but "Why are they everywhere??" Of course it was all in fun, but it did get annoying pushing through crowds of people at times to see the sites.
28: Sunwapta Falls | By this point we were cold, wet, and ready for some sun. | My family misses me.
29: Horseshoe Lake This beautiful lake is nestled back in the woods just off the highway. We discovered it, much to our glee, by pulling off at a roadside stop. Down the path was a rocky area perfect for swimming. But I didn't have my swimsuit and it just wasn't warm enough for skinny-dipping. | "I hate birds."
30: Miette Hot Springs | An evening of relaxation in the hot springs was so peaceful, even walking through the icicle cold pools before going back into the hot springs. Following our soak, we sought out the source of the hot spring itself up the mountain. It was dark and shortly it began to rain, then hail, then sleet. Needless to say, our damp clothes caused the windows to steam up quickly in my car when we returned, completely drenched and freezing.
31: Jasper | The infamous train in Jasper | After the hot springs, our clothes were in serious need of drying | Another train shot, with Braedon this time | "Laundry day! See you there... underthings, tumbling. Wanna say, 'love your hair!' Here I go...mumbling... With my Freeze Ray I will stop...the world. With my freeze I will find the time to find the words to..." ~ Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog
32: Whitewater Rafting | "I feel like a ballerina in this outfit!" "Let's all pose like ballerinas!" The two at the end weren't impressed with our enthusiastic ballerina poses.
34: While Braedon was falling in love with the woman with beautiful teeth behind us, I was attempting to make up for the lack of paddling ability of the two individuals in the front who didn't want to get wet. Regardless of their poor spirits, it was the most fun adventure of the entire trip.
36: Cooking cans of beans over the fire | Yes, we each had our own can of beans to be fair | Braedon doing his best to make sure it's even | Beans & Wieners - what true camping is made of. | I'm a flutta! | "We'll have beans once yat, don't cha know." "Won't that be nice yat anaways."
37: The view in Jasper is stunning, even with trees | Rollerblading in Jasper caused a lot of looks with my Land Rollers | After our rafting adventure, it was decided to head back to the campground for true camping food. At this point we had purchased sticks to cook hotdogs, but getting a can of hot beans off the fire took some creativity. | While back in Jasper, we took a few moments to rollerblade around the community. The scenery is gorgeous no matter which way you turn, and in the end we spent as much time sitting on a park bench to take in the view as we did getting exercise.
38: Beautiful view of the mountains. | I was nervous about bears, and so we sang to keep them away: "One elephant went out to play, upon a spider's web one day. He had such ENORMOUS fun that he called for another elephant to come..." | This is where the debate came up regarding "Walking in Memphis." Is it "walking with my feet ten feet off the hill? street? field?" But alas, it is "Beale." | "I'm a mountain sheep!"
39: Wherever we went, Braedon had an uncanny ability to know exactly where we were and where we needed to be at all times, as though he has a built-in GPS in his head. But one day there was a "GPS malfunction," so it seemed, and we ended up taking a very, very long detour. Thankfully we were able to obtain beautiful pictures, although the few hours of extra walking through the forest at dusk were exhausting.
40: As though Jasper was not enough adventure in itself, we decide to forgo spending every day there and took one day to drive through the mountains. Final destination: Banff. On the way we stopped at some incredible places including the Columbia Icefields. It is fascinating to see how the ice has receded throughout the years. The ice marker for the year of Braedon's birth was still in site of the icefields, whereas mine was a little more distant... as in down the path and around the corner. | Columbia Icefields
41: Peyto Lake
42: Lake Louise is one of Canada's most beautiful lakes. We walked about outside, were almost attacked by a flock of killer birds, and were able to have an extraordinary meal at the dining area overlooking the lake. This is also where I made my infamous moose mitten purchase. | Meeep! | Lake Louise
43: Moraine Lake was cold, cloudy, and crowded. The three peaks were still gorgeous in the distance, but we didn't stay long. | Moraine Lake
44: A view of the "castle" from many angles. But what's up with my hair? | Beautiful Banff
45: Braedon desperately wanted to tour the inside of the hotel. After illegally parking, walking through areas I'm sure were off limits, and posing as wealthy people he declared it a good exploration and we left the hotel to go to the Banff Hot Springs. Meanwhile, I was giggling as I was reminded, once again, that sometimes it's okay to "break the rules." | The Banff Springs Hotel
46: Mount Robson | Rearguard Falls
47: As it so happened, the pull of the BC border was stronger than we could resist so, while out on a drive one day, we made a beeline to Mount Robson Park where we experienced some stunning sights and walked along wonderful trails. We saw the largest waterfall on the Fraser River, Overlander Falls, and even stopped at a small grave site nestled back in the woods. | Braedon dropped the very last sugar cookie into a small stream. He was very, very sad. | Overlander Falls | "Did you just drop your apple core in the river?" "Yup"
48: Packing up to go home was not easy. Not only did we not want to leave, but I also accidentally dumped out Braedon's tent after he had worked so hard at packing it nicely.