Oh Canada is right. It was somewhat of what I expected, more of what I did not expect.
First stop: Aspen is special to me because it was the first long road trip I took through the Colorado Rockies, with no intention to leave them. The first time Trent and I went on an intentional road trip together for the Aspen X Games and to see Twenty One Pilots. This time though, it was summer.
Aspen looked completely different without 9 feet of snow, literally. It was very green and the town was a bit more lively. We walked the same streets we had walked before, exploring new corridors and alley ways. I ran through a water spout and was a little less than drenched; Trent climbed high into an Aspen and carved “TA”.
That night we drove as far as we could. We traveled to a lake with rope swings galore in the early morning. It was windy and a little chilly but I knew we committed to going in before we even set foot on the ground. It was a sketchy climb to even get to the rope swing and I was thankful Trent retrieved the heavy rope for me to jump with. The jump was a rush and I remained in the water swimming about for a while. Justin, a great and old friend, met us there and expected us to jump back in. There were no objections until my top flew off as I lifted off from the tree. Probably one of my most embarrassing moments, as there were 50ish kids playing in the lake at the same time.
After that we trekked up Bridal Veil Falls. One waterfall with two levels to climb. We went as high as we could possibly go, experienced a great view and had a frightening free climb back down the way we came. We were a bit behind schedule after hiking much more than we expected but thankfully our bodies were tired but our minds were not.
Drove and drove we did until we reached a camp site in Idaho. Couldn’t tell you the spot but I so wish I could recommend it to anyone reading this. We were surrounded by hills and an open space. We had the whole area to ourselves, we set up the tent and the hammocks. It was a relaxing evening as we watched the sun set from them.
Sunday morning we woke up and drove. It was due time for another shower and lucky for us there were two big rope swings just on the side of a road in Washington. Washington had denser forests and lots of beautiful lakes. It is swampy in some areas too, plenty of different shades of green. I wish we could have spent more time in Washington but there was a border to be crossed!
At border control, since we were on our way in and Trent expressed that it was for a skate competition, they seized and searched the entire car, high and low. We waited for a while and returned to our car thrown upside down. We threw our things back into the car, sloppily, and were on our way headed northward and east ward to Summerland, BC.
We didn’t find out that Summerland was the hottest town in the Providences until after we left, two full days later. Trent claimed he suffered a minor heat stroke and I knew I needed to jump in a nice pond to get some sweat off of me after those two days.
Boy, they were a fun two days though. Aside from unexpectedly running up some credit card bills and finally switching to Canadian cash, we did a lot of touristing. Well I did more touristing, while Trent did more longboarding.
I hiked the whole way up the volcano called Giants Head while he went up and down it by van. By the time I was done hiking I returned to the road to find that everyone was gone and I had free run of the volcano.
Best idea ever. Even though I had a big water jug we named Hoot, and a backpack. I hooked Hoot onto the pack and started to skate, in spurts down Giants Head. I’m still a beginner and it was steep. Really steep. I picked up speed and would have to gracefully jump off. The straightaways were fun but bleeping horrifying. The hairpin turns were beyond my skill set. By the time I had made it to the bottom Trent was ready to set up our camp for the night.. at an abandoned rodeo site. We’re talkin’ the stands where people sat, the stables that contained the animals, giant rodeo pen and a press box. We were hitting golf balls into the press box and tents were up throughout the stands, all over, before you knew it.
We played frisbee into the night with a light up one, at that. We trampled around the rodeo encountering yo-yoers, helped some gals set up their massive tent, hung out in a building that was actually a van but so disguised I forgot I was in one most of my time there, and still sometimes now.
During the first day I explored the downtown area and a couple miles each direction of Summerland. I laid by the Columbia lake and people watched. At one point, I peeked my head out from my book to find myself face to face with a duck. I was laying on my tummy so when I say face to face I mean literally within inches. I watched a bird swoop at some insects and chomp em up. He was eatin gooood.
In the evening I picked up Trent from SHREDDING; went to the lake and played at a water park (with some little kids, since we are ones) and then went to the Botanical Gardens. They were absolutely amazing, filled with colors, scents, insects, and shadows cast about by the setting sun. We went to bed early because it was race day next morning.. many others did not. Fire raging, people screaming luckily we were too tired to really notice for too long.
After some bumps and bruises for Trent and myself – he on the pinecone trail of death around a hairpin near the finish line, me falling down a big hillside trying to take photos of it. Nice, huh?
As soon as we made it out of Summerland, we began driving toward Banff with the intention to stop at a local suggested camping spot but since I drove half way through Glacier National Park and realized we needed gas, plans changed a little.
I drove while Trent slept late into the night. I stopped to a beautiful view of endless stars followed by a rough lightning storm, very near to us, that lit up the night sky like explosions.
The mountains were high and close up during the whole drive, just like the Rockies in the United States. We knew we were close to town so we drove in and ate at a 50s diner for coffee coffee coffee. To Banff we continued, in search of natural hot springs. The only ones that didn’t cost an arm and a leg were an hour south of where we wanted to go.
Detours were necessary as we headed to Inveremere, one being a stop at Ralph’s the Woodcarver. He was a genuine and insane fellow so naturally the three of us got along really quite well. His entire home is an art installation made entirely out of wood. There are funny little games he built into it to mess with people as well as a gondola up to the guest house which he claimed had a hot tub in it. Goats roamed on the roof!
We continued on our merry way to Luciere Hot Springs. Not my first natural hot spring but definitely my favorite so far. It was attached to the river naturally and the water was HOT! Trent and I spent time going from freezing cold to very hot while catching some of the friendly butterflies. After we felt refreshed, we had lunch at the White Swan Lake which was crystal clear with a great view of mountains on all sides of us.
Banff was the next stop and definitely a highlight of the trip. It was a town nestled away in the mountains filled with young and old. It was the eve of Canada Day so people were partying, hard. We pushed around on the skateboards downtown and as I was heading back to the car I saw a huge moose right in town!!! Mind blowing! Frightened was the word to describe both of our reactions, both running in opposite directions. We cooked our last meal from the car because this distraction caused us (cough cough Trent) to forget our stove at a picnic bench. We were doomed to eating out a major portion of the rest of the trip. Seeya later money.
Canada Day in Banff entailed parades, road closings, festivals, and busy movements and noise. As I began my day at the top of a paved mountain, I knew what the immediate next move would be. Trent was to board it; a longer, cruisin road rather than short turns so I was happy to be sure he wouldn’t get hurt. Crazy man. After that we tried to hike at Sunshine Meadow because it was rated #1 hiking spot in Canada by Lost Planet. Little did we know, you had to ride a gondola up to get to the trail head. A $40 gondola. I stormed out, Trent at my heels off to see what else Canada Day had in store for us.
We parked forever away so we could skate the bike trails over. That’s one thing I love about Canada and also Colorado: paved bike trails all over the place!
After a mild protest against eating Subway, Trent had won the fight and I found myself munching on a veggie sub. Meh.
We stumbled upon a fenced in free festival, for kids. It started out playing in the big parachutes which definitely fueled our inner children. He says, “I bet I’d win tug o’ war; me vs all the kids” I think he was trying to be funny but I quickly responded with a challenge. “You do know that if you walk over right now and challenge those kids, they will ALL accept and run to one side. Do it”.
So he did, and it was hilarious. After falling forward, some adults saw that he was losing and jumped in just to make it more entertaining. During this time, a small girl growled at me. With laughing tears in my eyes, my attention moved to live music across the way.
It was none other than G-bear and B-bear (grizzly and black bears) rapping about the differences between the two. The performers were ridiculously clever; we stayed to learn in song about what to pack on a camping trip and why the bear bells don’t really work. The kids loved it and so did we, but it was time to keep moving. I had to see Calgary on Canada Day.
The architecture was beautiful and the city was clean but we couldn’t stay too long. Parking was difficult and we had a long way to go as it was Friday and we intended to be home on Saturday.
Trent got a little pedal pushing happy and we drove the whole way to Bozeman, Montana by that evening. Border control was a breeze and I almost ran us out of gas again once but we made it to a campsite with no major problems. We woke up to the mountains outside of town and drove in for tea. I ordered kombucha and it was homemade deliciousness.
Next stop: Yellowstone! Have you ever been to the natural hot springs as you enter the park from the north? It’s less than 10 minutes once you enter the park and it became my favorite hot spring so far. As we walked down we saw a few moose and to my surprise the water was cold as I first placed my feet in the water. After wading around for a while we found the many different warm patches and swam against the current to give our legs a little love. We stayed there lounging for a while; it was so nice to relax after a good bit of driving the day before.
Yellowstone is always gorgeous. We stopped at gaizers and to view wildlife from the northern top of Yellowstone to the southern border. Once you exit, it’s time to enter the Grand Tetons! I have always loved that area so much after visiting a few years before. We skated another paved pathway with the view of the mountains in site, ate a bison burger at a marina, and made our way into Jackson.
Downtown Jackson is crowded yet homey. It’s pretty small so it didn’t take us long to walk around the square. Right as we were contemplating our next camp spot, I got a call from a friend who lives in the area as a raft guide. He invited us over and we visited with Pat and his nice and loopy friends for a while. It was really nice to see him and his happiness along with all the rafts and kayaks strewn about his yard.
On Sunday we skipped out on rafting to try to be home by the next day, 4th of July. After all we lived on “America’s Mountain” and definitely wanted to see some fireworks if we could. It was a straight shot but not before I got a speeding ticket in Wyoming.
Even though it was a swell trip, we were relieved to return home. Everything seen and done on the entire trip was unforgettable but it allowed me to appreciate even more where I live. Each day is unforgettable, and beautiful. I enjoy keeping tabs on the weather while living on a mountain, I promise it’s more entertaining than you’d imagine, and we have primo camping and hiking. It takes no effort to do exactly what you want to do if it’s outdoors and I was happy to be surrounded by my own Pikes Peak National Forest.
The 4th of July was a quiet one for my roommates and I. We grilled some shishkabobs and sat around enjoying the prepared food together. It was the perfect afternoon following almost 2 weeks of living in or around a car.
My conclusions are, Canada is astounding!
Once I visit all of the states in the US I plan to make my way to Canada more. The people are friendly, there are lots of fresh fruit and jobs, and even though it’s a bit more expensive, it’s free to hike, yanno?
Just get out there and see as much as you can. Live by your senses and allow them to experience the sights you seek, smell fresh scents in nature, taste raw foods or a meal cooked to perfection! Feel the plants around you and notice their features and differences. Hear the outside noises but never forget to listen to your instinct while traveling somewhere new.
Thanks for reading! Watch our Youtube Video of Highlights here!
I try to journal about many of my adventures, and always take photos. Video links are at the bottom or you can subscribe to my Youtube channel!