Saturday, September 3, 2016

Banff Vacation: Lake Louise and Moraine Lake (AKA The Most Gorgeous Place I've Seen)

Everyone keeps asking me how I found out about and decided to go to Banff.  Well the answer is easy.  This...

A friend of mine posted a picture of Lake Louise on Facebook and I swear it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  I asked her where it was and when she mentioned Canada, I knew I had to go.  Nicholas has always had the dream of going to Canada (Toronto didn't get it out of his system) so I started doing my research and booked the trip.

We visited Lake Louise after being out in the Columbia Icefields all day and when we got to Lake Louise I got the dreaded dead battery on my camera.  I was so devastated.  The pictures I took on my iPhone do not do the place justice.

But right now you're still thinking you want to go right? Isn't it the prettiest.  You just wait to see what we find next.

It was later in the day when we arrived at Lake Louise, which meant it was a lot less crowded.  I highly recommend going later in the day to avoid the crowds.  I also heard before 10 am is good.

Even with just an iPhone, I took no shortage of pictures. 

Including the "will you please take our picture" picture.  

Also this might be the coolest hotel ever.  The Fairmont Chateau at Lake Louise.  I almost stayed here, but I'm glad I didn't.  Not because it's not beautiful, clearly it is, but because it's a little too far away from the town of Banff.  It might be worth it to stay here a day or two though.  

We only walked around Lake Louise a little bit, but there were plenty of trails for hiking.  We were just on a tighter time frame and I knew I wanted to see Moraine Lake too. 

I honestly wasn't expecting much from Moraine Lake, I just went on the recommendation of a friend. I thought it would be smaller than Lake Louise but not as impressive.  Smaller it was, but less impressive it was not.  

As you can see even late in the afternoon/early evening it was still very crowded.  The logs you see are actually floating on the water.  You step across those to get to the rocks and climb the "mountain."  I made a wrong step at one point onto a non steady log and submerged my whole foot and almost fell. Some poor young girl caught me.  She was so sweet and I was so embarrassed.  

We climbed and it wasn't that difficult.

It was pretty fun to earn that view at the top.

No, not that view.  This one!  

Is that not the most beautiful thing you have seen?  Again, all taken with an iPhone camera!  Pictures can not do it justice.

I loved the "ten peaks" as they call it.  I think there's more than ten, but who am I to say? 

My kids wanted every picture and I had to oblige.

This is one of my favorite pics from the trip.  Love him! 

I never thought I would see such things in my life.  You can't even image anything like this.  I'll say it again, pictures do NOT do it justice. 

Moraine Lake was definitely a highlight of my trip.  There was so much hiking we could have done there, but again we did not due to time.  We spent a full week in Banff and didn't nearly touch all the things we could have done.  I'm glad we at least got to enjoy a small glimpse of Moraine Lake.  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

First Day of School 2016

Another school year begins.  We had such a great summer so it was particularly hard to go back!
I find it hard to believe I have an 8th grader.  I mean I can clearly remember and have horrid fond memories of my 8th grade year.

Despite digging my heels in, it keeps happening. They keep getting older and older.  I do love this child even at this age.  His sense of humor is what keeps me loving him daily even when he's in the brain fog of teenagerhood.

Ella is entering 5th grade and is in a whole new building this year.  It seems crazy to me because that was just Nicholas and now he's gone and the oldest in his building.  Ugh... again, make it stop! Of course Ella was more worried about outfits, hair and supplies than anything else.  She wore her topknot or "man bun" as she likes to call it.  That girl!


Ella came home at the end of the day and reported all good things. Then she says, "It was too much Power Points with rules.  Let's get to the learning!"  So I guess she's excited to learn!

Jack is a third grader this year.  Not going to say it again (STOP THE GROWING... did I say it? Out loud?) He is VERY excited about his teacher.  She's one of the best. ONE (just in case Kylie is reading I said one... not THE best).

He was beyond happy at the start of the day and dare I say even more at the end.

If felt good to send them off and then get a GREAT first day report.

I think Sid missed them too.  Or maybe she just enjoyed back-to-school with an uninterrupted nap on the couch.

Best of luck for an amazing school year my loves.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Banff Vacation: Columbia Ice Fields

Who wants to go walk on a glacier?  Because that's a thing!  I couldn't believe it and was very excited for this portion of the vacation.  It was a tour booked again through Brewster.  I had no idea that the drive to the ice fields was 3 hours when I booked the excursion, but it was WELL worth the drive.  The drive up was FULL of amazing views and of course when we go there, the glaciers were amazing. 

I should mention that we were about 1 mile away form our destination so you know 2 hours 59 minutes into our 3 hour drive and George looks over at me and asks, "you have the tickets?"  Um no. NO I do NOT have the tickets.  I admit I panicked.  I said, "Let's just go home."  George stayed calm an we went into the booking place and they reissued our tickets with my confirmation email.  Thank God!  I was so, so thankful!

What does it take to get out on a glacier?  Well one of these bad boys-- an ice explorer with a price tag of $1 million. Crazy right?

It took us about 15 minutes to get out on the glacier and I'll be honest I was disappointed in the amount of space there was to move around.  I understand, they have to keep the people safe, but you were roped in a pretty small area.  But there are huge holes throughout and it's very easy (and dangerous) to fall through. Still, I wish there was more are to explore.  

Not allowed in this area 

Red tape marks the boundary 

Here's a glimpse of some of the "holes."  The water was so blue.  The aqua-ish color is caused by the "rock flower."  Rock flower is just basically rock dust and it only reflects the blue because of it's wavelength.  So it's pretty amazing to see this aqua blue water in the middle of a glacier.

This is the view facing back away from the glacier. Some people book tours to make the trek all the way up (remember it took us 15 minutes by vehicle) and some dumbass people try to do it alone.  Our guide told us they lose people every year.  Sad that people are so dumb.

To be able to say we walked on a glacier in the middle of the Canadian Rockies is pretty cool!  It was definitely a highlight of our trip. 

I hope my kids always remember this trip and all the awe inspiring things we saw and did.  I hope they're not too young.  They all talked about coming back some day with their own kids.  I hope they do.

I'll leave you with this pictures.  Because.  Hello.  Cute!