About three weeks after the wedding, the Blue Whales packed their bags with hiking boots and long-sleeved shirts and set out for a honeymoon in the Canadian Rockies.
Here’s what the itinerary looked like:
Friday – Monday: Canmore, AB
Monday – Thursday: Field, BC (with the Lake Louise area our main destination)
Thurday – Tuesday: Jasper, BC
It was great to have a few weeks between the wedding and the honeymoon, because I actually had some time to plan the honeymoon (all we had were flights and places to stay prior to the wedding) and I had something to do since the wedding planning was over.
So bright and early Friday morning, we headed to the airport. We were greeted on the runway by our tiny plane. It had propellers and only 37 seats… awesome.
Once in Canada, we picked up our rental car and headed out on our drive to the mountains. It was so beautiful. I’m pretty sure both of our mouths were hanging open during the entire drive. I’d never been to the mountains, and these are just so breath-taking.
Okay, so I could tell you every little detail of the entire trip, because it was just so ridiculously awesome. But… that could take quite a while. So I’m going to give you some highlights from the first few days. (Fair warning: This also takes a while. I hope you like pictures!) Here we go. Get ready for picture overload!
Tunnel Mountain Hike
On our first day, we decided to take it easy. The plan was to have a leisurely breakfast, buy some groceries, then head to Banff and look around. When we made it to Banff, we were driving what was recommended as a nice scenic drive (Tunnel Mountain Drive). At some point, we pulled off at a lookout and noticed a trailhead for Tunnel Mountain. The sign said it would take less than an hour to get to the top. Mr. Whale said, “I’ve already wanted to climb to the top of a mountain.” So we did.
We were completely unprepared as far as clothing goes (we were dressed for a nice dinner…). But, that’s just the way things tend to go in our life. So I hiked the mountain in my skirt. No biggie. It was super fun and pretty easy. I totally recommend it (the hike itself, not the hiking in a skirt bit).
Banff Gondola and Alpine Lights
In Banff, you can take a gondola up to the top of Sulphur Mountain. And for an extra $20 per person, you can eat prime rib in the restaurant at the top that offers a view of the mountains. Yum!! It was a no-brainer to include this on our honeymoon.
Once we got to the top, we were treated to some fabulous views. And as if it wasn’t beautiful enough, there was a rainbow when we got up there.
I also managed a nice photobomb. I’m so proud 🙂
I have about 150 pictures from the top of the mountain. It was so spectacular. Sigh… take me back, please.
Johnston Canyon and the Inkpots Hike
This hike was highly recommended on Trip Advisor, and for good reason. The water was a beautiful shade of green. The waterfalls were stunning.
We saw another rainbow. (Rainbows were actually kind of a theme on our honeymoon. We literally saw one almost every other day. I’m pretty sure we saw awesome rainbows on at least seven different occasions.)
After the waterfalls, we decided we should do the rest of the hike out to the “inkpots”. This was where we first observed that the Canadian definition of an “easy” hike might not be what I would consider to be an easy hike. We hiked at least a kilometer straight up. The jacket I brought? Definitely didn’t need it, because we were sweating. My shirt was drenched. We had packed a lunch of PB & J and crackers with cheese and salami and were planning on eating it at the inkpots. I couldn’t wait. I got out the box of Triscuits, and they tasted like heaven. Looking back, I was probably a bit dehydrated and lacking in electrolytes, because Mr. Whale had bought “Hint of Salt” Triscuits which normally taste like you’re eating rope, but I thought they were salty and delicious. But, we finally made it to the inkpots, it was so worth it.
(Note: All these photos are completely unedited and were taken with a Panasonic point and shoot DMC-ZS20. It’s just seriously that beautiful.)
Mr. Whale didn’t want to bring his backpack, because it would have required that he unpack the stuff he already had in it. So we brought mine, which meant that sometimes he had on my pink backpack. Isn’t he cute?
This was definitely one of my favorite days.
The Grizzly House Dinner
OMG… we completely splurged on this dinner. And it was so worth it. We started with cheese fondue.
Wait, actually we started with the best soup ever. But I have no pictures. Just imagine the best soup ever. After the cheese, we had the meat, which you cook yourself on hot rocks heated to 650 degrees Fahrenheit. Mr. Whale had beef. I had one of the features, which was a mix of beef, buffalo, elk, and venison. The beef and venison were my favorites.
And then, of course we had to have chocolate fondue. We were so excited for it that I forgot to take a picture until the very end, when I used my finger to scrape out all the remaining chocolate from the pot. And I’m not ashamed that I did it. That chocolate could not be allowed to go to waste.
Truffle Pigs Dinner
There’s a little restaurant in Field, BC called Truffle Pigs. And it’s freaking delicious. Delicious as in, the best food I have ever put in my mouth.
We got delicious drinks. This one is an “Electric Iced Tea”, which is their version of a Long Island Iced Tea.
And the pork belly nachos… omg. No words can describe how delicious they were. We made two trips to this restaurant, and the second time we each got our own order of the pork belly nachos. Because that’s how we roll.
Plain of Six Glaciers Hike
I’ve saved the best for last. I could write an entire post about just this one hike. But I’m trying to restrain myself. Words will not do justice to this hike. It was EPIC. Again, this hike was classified as “easy”. I seriously cannot imagine what a moderate or difficult hike would be like, because this was a six-hour trek where we had to cross waterfalls, walk along small cliffs, and clamber across paths of snow, not to mention the fact that we were hiking up, which again led to me being covered in sweat, despite the fact that we were hiking in snow at times.
The hike started at Lake Louise.
Beyond Lake Louise, we hiked along the moraine of the glaciers. (Basically, a moraine is the pile of rubble that a glacier leaves behind after it moves and takes out everything in its path.) We crossed snow when it covered the trail.
Sometimes there was water running underneath the snow, like here. (When we crossed this part on the way back, there was a hole where someone’s foot had gone through the ice. Yikes!
We walked along scary ledges. (Can you spot the trail in the picture below?)
Eventually, we reached the tea house. That’s right, I said a tea house. Out in the middle of nowhere.
You can only get to it by hiking. But then, how do the workers get there? Well, they hike. They stay in cabins for five days while they’re working. And then they hike back on their off days. What about supplies? The workers bring them on their hikes. There’s a one-time helicopter drop each season for supplies like flour and sugar. Everything else is brought up by the workers. And electricity? Nope. All of the cooking is done without it.
Mr. Whale and I happily devoured some delicious food and then set up to do the last little bit of the hike. We wanted to get a little closer to all this.
The last thirty yards to the look-out involved the most terrifying snow cross of the entire hike. Seriously, I was afraid we were going to fall to our deaths. I actually hiked a bit out of the way so that I wouldn’t have to do the super scary part.
And then, we were there, up close and personal with the glaciers. It was incredible.
Honestly, the pictures don’t do it justice. You have to be there to really understand how super crazy awesome it is.
Best day of the honeymoon, hands down.
Whew. Can you believe that all of that stuff took place between Friday and Tuesday?? The Blue Whales don’t mess around. And this is only the beginning!! The adventure continues in my next post. Who else had an action-packed honeymoon?