Thursday, 24 June 2010

Rockies Road Trip - Part 1 (Vancouver to Banff), 19th - 21st June 2010

I'll start back a few days, before the 19th June. Mum and Dad Jordan arrived on 16th June 2010 to Vancouver to spend 5 weeks in the area. I picked them up from the airport after their long haul here. We took the journey back to the city from the airport on the Canada line. After arriving at our apartment, dropping their bags off and a coffee we headed out for a walk to Canada Place. Just a short walk to check out the scenery and get a bit of a feel for the city. Luckily Vancouver had decided it would bring out a bit of sunshine for them, being late afternoon however it's wasn't out for too long. After a little walk we headed back to meet Cam and head out for some dinner. Just a relaxing evening before all the fun begins.

17th June we walked over the bridge to Granville Island for a day of perusing the shops and watching a bit of entertainment. A great place to show tourists and find a few presents to take back. Granville Island as I have probably mentioned in other posts is a public market full of international foods and local stalls. We spent the majority of the day here just looking around. After this we headed home for dinner, it's great having your parents over to visit when they then cook you dinner. Their way of contributing, which was much appreciated. After dinner we went for an evening walk around the waterfront, one of our favourite things to do on a beautiful evening. As we were walking along the waterfront we were telling Mum and Dad about how we quite often see seals, just as one popped up in front of us, perfect timing!! We walked right around to science world before heading home through the city. A nice relaxing day and evening.

Today was a stunning day in Vancouver, perfect day for a walk to Stanley Park. After a bit of a sleep in we headed down to false creek, walked along the waterfront towards second beach, such a beautiful way to see the entrance to Vancouver. It's such a long walk around Stanley Park we decided to cut across the front of it and past the Lost lagoon lake. There were some turtles who thought it was a beautiful day.  There were several of them sunning themselves on some rocks with some beautiful swans swimming by, such a picture op. I have never seen this here before, Vancouver was bringing it all out for Mum and Dad so far. We stopped for a bite to eat and to watch some of the World cup football, before heading off along the waterfront, past Canada place to Gastown. Gastown is Vancouver's old town area, this is where settlers first started things in this city. Now Vancouver isn't called little Hollywood for no reason, we happened to fall upon the filming of a TV series called Facing Kate, I told Mum and Dad we could go searching for filming but never thought we would actually find some. We hung around here for a while watching, always so interesting. On our way back home we managed to find some real life action, there were several undercover cops and several people in handcuffs, not sure what kind of trouble they were in. Wow what an action packed trip.  We headed home after this for dinner and an early night as we were heading off on our trip the next day.

Today we were heading off on our 9 day trip around the Rocky Mountains in Canada.  Today the 19th was set to be a long day.  The trip is about 4-5 hours drive from Vancouver. We were going to take it easy as it was Dad's first time driving for a while on the wrong side of the road.  We also wanted to take in the scenery around us and make a few stops.  We headed off nice and early on our way to Kelowna for 2 nights.  Kelowna is a city in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley.  Kelowna is well known for it's hot weather during the summer, and the Okanagan is very well known for it's wines and fruit.  On our way we stopped off at a few small places including Hope and Merritt.  The sign on the way into Hope says "experience Hope" so we thought we must get out and take a few photos like good tourists.  A nice little town.  This started a trend of stopping off at little places along the way.

The next stop however in Merritt was perhaps one that we didn't need to make.  You could just about see a tumble weed blowing in the wind.  We did manage to find a supermarket here however and get some lunch, we then found a nice spot on the way at the info center to eat our lunch, it was starting to get hot now the further we got to Kelowna.  We pushed on towards Kelowna as these little stops were beginning to take up a bit of our time.  Now Kelowna didn't disappoint and we found out just how hot it can be arriving here to find 30+ temps.  After replacing our long pants with shorts we headed off to do a bit of exploring.  Now Kelowna is just beautiful, I think if I was to stay in Canada this could be a place I would be happy to be.  It's right on a lake and just has a really nice feel to it.  We walked around the waters edge and through the city.  Back at the hotel we enjoyed a BBQ in the sun and heat, then a cool off in the pool before heading to bed ready for our next day.

Today was a bit more relaxed as we had the entire day to spend in and around Kelowna.  There happened to be an event on called smoke on the water, where people who BBQ were having a competition of who could cook the best meats etc.  There were a few stalls and the best part each place was chopping up pieces of their cooked meat for people to try, it was delicious and we got to have all sorts of meat selections.  This happened to be right down by the lake so we took a little time to listen to the music and put our feet in the water.

After this we headed over to the car and boat show which was also happening in Kelowna today, we picked a good day to be here it seems.  They had some really neat and flash old cars.  They were all done up and shinny.  Once we had enough looking at this we sat down for a while to enjoy some live country music that was going on, some of these people have amazing voices.  In the afternoon we went out to West Kelowna to have a look at a couple of the wineries, we stopped off at one with a bit of a view for one of the most expensive coffees I have had, the company and view were worth it though.  We continued on around the area to have a look at some of the flash houses and man there were some beautiful spots around this area.  Far enough away from the city to feel secluded but close enough to get everything you need.  Definitely somewhere I could stay.  It was getting later in the afternoon so we headed back to the hotel and walked down the road for some dinner, dessert and a walk back around the area before bed time.  Tomorrow is going to be a long day.

We set off fairly early this morning the 21st of June on our way to Banff.  Today's drive is about 6-7 hours.  You would not believe just how stunning this place and drive is, everywhere you look are snow covered mountains for miles!!  Banff is a very popular spot particularly in the winter for the skiing, however it is also very popular during the summer due to the beauty of the place and walks they have in the area.  On our way to Banff we stopped at Salmon Arm a cute little town nestled on the shore of the Shuswap Lake.  We took a few photos near the lake, had a bit of a shop around and had a bit to eat including a meat pie!!  Not quite New Zealand standards but pretty good for Canada standards.

We left here sometime after lunch to stop off at Revelstoke dam, just a quick stop and a few photos as we were conscious of the time.  Now we knew we would see some wildlife at some point however we didn't realise we would see so much all at once.  Some of us got closer than expected.  We got a snap shot of wildlife on our way to Emerald lake.  As we were driving along the road we got a glimpse of a bear unfortunately by the time we got back to it, it had disappeared into the woods, I guess we'll just have to wait for our chance.  Emerald lake is absolutely beautiful, the water was so blue and with the mountain behind it was very picturesque.  This was our first stop off at a lake and turned out to be the start of many more lakes and waterfalls to come.

Our next stop along the way was Takakkaw falls, now here we were very lucky with the wildlife sightings.  As we were driving along we could see something moving in the distance, turns out there were some deer crossing the road.  We slowed down and the paparazzi were out.  There was excited screams and cameras clicking like you wouldn't imagine, you would think they were standing on top each other and juggling.  I must admit it's great to see things just in the wild that you wouldn't normally see at all.  After our encounter here we continued on to the falls, they were pretty impressive, not the biggest stream of water but very high. It's not just the waterfalls either when its surrounds by a river, and mountains as far as you can see it's very impressive.  The boys took a walk around the water to head to the base of the falls while Mum and I built and Inuksuk.  An Inuksuk is a stone landmark or a cairn built by humans used by some native people of the Arctic region of North American.  It happens to be one of the symbols for the winter olympics and you see them pretty much where ever there are rocks.  After making our rock formation we took a few photos and headed around to the waterfall as well.  It was getting a bit late at this time and we still had a bit of a drive to get to Baniff.

We headed off back down the road.  On the way back to the main road there were a few more deer and then we came across this fury thing in the middle of the road, it walked right up to the car and posed for a photo, we didn't know at the time what this was but later found out it was a Marmott, something I have never heard of before.  It was very cute looking but we were sensible tourists and kept on driving.  We arrived late in Baniff, went out for dinner and then called it a night.  Our mission for the rest of the trip now was to see as much wild life as possible.

More to come in part 2.


notHamilton said...

where's part two at?

Anonymous said...

Takes such a long time to do all of them haha. Plus plan for everything else at the moment. Will do it some day.