Day Twenty Eight: Grinnell Glacier

Our plan for the day was to be leaving the campsite by 7 to make sure that we found a parking spot at the base of the Grinnell Glacier trail. We woke up at that time instead. Oops. We still made it to to the trailhead by 9 and got one of the last parking spots. Yippee! The weather was perfect and we were so excited to be there. The total distance was about 12 miles. I’m not sure of the elevation climb but it wasn’t too bad. Even for me! We didn’t bring the bear spray, though of course there were the most bears we’d been around on this trail. Our fellow hikers had our backs! There were plenty of other hikers joining us, and this time we were grateful for them. We saw a brown bear from an overlook mosying through a field. Is mosying a word? It was the perfect way to see wildlife. From a good distance above. The hike views only got better. Wildflowers, blue lakes, and monstrous peaks everywhere you looked. The sun was shinging, and there was a slight breeze. We were so grateful.

Lake Josephine

Snacks
The view was better through binnoculars but there he is!

Grinnell Lake

We made it to the top and celebrated with a peanut butter (almond butter for me) and jelly sandwich with our new favorite beers and a view! Then we headed up a little bit more to check out the Glacier and take some pictures where we met the loveliest two people from Canada! They were friends traveling and we swapped pictures. That’s been working out quite well. We chatted the whole way back down the mountain. It made the time just fly! On the way down we ran into a big horned sheep right in the middle of the trail, as well as an adorable marmot hanging out next to it. The sheep was a little in shock I think, poor guy. He didn’t move at all and just stared at us for a while. When we reached the bottom, we exchanged numbers with our new friends, made plans to make it back up to the stampede next year in Calgary, and then headed our separate ways. They asked what we were doing tonight and we felt like old people when our response was just hanging out at the site. We were pooped and drinks by the fire sounded excellent. No shame.

We headed back to camp, making a stop at the overpriced grocery store by St.Mary’s lodge for some icecream and snacks. A box of Cheerios was $10. Needless to say, if you are traveling and camping in Glacier and are looking to save money like we try to do, do your grocery shopping elsewhere. Hence the backpacking food dinner the night before. Every little bit helps! Tonight we found some fettuccini pasta sides that actually looked really good and were affordable. Plus we had some pesto, and fresh herbs to use as well as wine we had picked up in Canada! It worked out perfectly. Until it rained. Once a day everyday we get a shower and we’ve gotten pretty used to it at this point. The pasta stayed surprisingly warm as it sat on the stove getting wet. We dried off by the fire and ate standing up with a rainbow behind us and a slight wine buzz. No complaints. After dinner we spent time drying everything off and then headed to bed, looking forward to moving forward and onto new places tomorrow!

Day Twenty Six: Trail of the Cedars & Avalanche Lake

We woke up to rain. Drizzling with a hint of depression. Just kidding, we truly have nothing to be sad about, but were getting a bit sick of the rain at this point. None the less! We perservered, made oatmeal, and put our rain gear on and headed out to do a couple of hikes before lunch. Trail of Cedars and Avalanche lake were just a short walk from the campsite, just as my grandma had told us. We did the trail of the Cedars first. A nice “forest bathing” stroll on a boardwalk as a warm up. There were plaques with poems on them along the way. That was my favorite part. Well, that and the ferns. The hike to Avalanche lake was only about 2 miles up with just the right amount of incline. The sun peeked out a bit and we shed a layer on the way up. The trail was lined with a babbling river and waterfalls , it seemed like we beat a rush of people also which was nice. When we got to the top we met the nicest family, of course. They suggested we visit a Glacier on the other side of the park so we made that our new plan! I shouldn’t even really say new because we didn’t quite have a plan to begin with, and that’s the way we like it.

When we got back to camp we made tuna sandwiches. I got a little crazy and added cucumber, sprouts and avocado to mine. It was delicious! We then hung out for a bit and read. I fell asleep.

When we (I) woke up at 4:30 Jake decided to go back up up Avalanche and fish. Crazy man! He ended up having the most incredible time and catching beautiful pink colored fish. He captured some beautiful shots as well. I stayed behind and did wifely things. Re-organized the truck, clorox wiped everything, threw away anything we didn’t need, made some overnight oats for the morning, and hung the blankets out to dry in the peek of sunshine we were blessed with.

I had tea and a very simple solo dinner, and left it out for Jake to have when he got back around 9. Leftover burrito filling and a premade salad mixture. It was delicious! And more importantly, super easy. We were both fulfilled in all the ways, and were ready for a good night’s rest. We would be up at 6 tomorrow to head over and try and get a spot at our new campsite!

Day Eighteen: Up the Mountain!

Today was the first day of our backpacking adventure! We woke up to rain drizzling and started getting ready to leave the site. Two Jack’s was okay but I doubt we will be back. A bit to out of the way and no showers. We headed into town to pick up some last minute groceries, get some ice, and make sure our cooler was free of perishables while we were gone. We ate our taco salad leftovers in the parking lot for lunch nad then headed to the base of Taylor Lake trailhead to start packing our backpacks full of everything we would need!

We headed up the mountain at about 2. The trail was 6.3 km with a 3,000 ft. gain. I complained much more than I should have. My pack was heavier than usual and the incline really did us in. Shouldn’t have brought the night creme. When we made it to the top it started raining, and we quickly (after taking a victory picture) found coverage to wait in until we could pick out site to set up camp.

We found the least squishy place to set up our tent, and took shelter from the rain that came back through. We ended up taking a little nap and then Jake headed out to fish. I, on the other hand, stayed in and made tea while reading. It was lovely. This lake is like glass and the mountains are just incredible. It felt like our own little sanctuary. When he got back we made dinner. Vegan rissoto! For backpacking food the ingredients were actually really good. It began raining again so we headed in. Both of us were incredibly sore so sleeping wasn’t the easiest. However the peace of where we were definitely helped.

Day Seventeen: Tourist Mistakes and Happy Endings

We woke up slow. The days here are so long it’s easy to stay up until midnight or later and feel like it’s only 9 or 10. Our plan for the day was to visit Lake Louise and Moraine. We made shakes to have on the way and were hyped up on this new coffee we bought. Or at least I was. So much singing and anticipation to see the views we had been dreaming of. To our surprise we of course were very late and the overflow parking for the shuttle to either lake would be a 2 or 3 hour wait. Oops. We adjusted our plans and decided to make the most of our day by visiting a park nearby until about 8 tonight when we would try again and hope for the best. Jake and I aren’t much for waiting or large crowds so this was going to be interesting. We continued up the highway and pulled off onto the Iceland parkway in Jasper national park. I was still a little bitter from the change of plans but it didn’t last too long because hello there is SO much to see. We looked at the map and decided to hike back into Glacier Lake. We made it to the red chairs overlooking the old fur trade route and had our pb and J’s and then continued on our way in the wrong direction. Oops again. By the time we turned around and found the correct route we just decided to head back and check out a few more places on the way out.

Jake was interested in seeing a free campsite we had found online. After some off-road driving we found it and were quickly filled with regret in booking the other site. This was much closer to the places we wanted to see and FREE. Ah well, next time. Afterwards we stopped by Mistaya Canyon and then pulled off into a campground by Waterfowl lake. Jake fished while I read and did yoga. Then I made us dinner. Beef burritos and taco salad. Way too much, but it worked out well! We saved the leftovers for lunch the following day. After we ate, we headed up to give these lakes another try. Having everything we need in the truck really makes things easy to make things up as we go. Especially when things don’t go as planned, which is mostly always.

Grass fed beef with taco seasoning, avocado, bell pepper, Mexican rice and a taco salad mix with cilantro

We drove through the village of Lake Louise and followed the signs to what we thought was the lake itself. We found ourselves in a long line of cars and weren’t sure if we had made the right decision or not. It was about 8:30 and we could hardly keep our eyes open. As we pulled into the parking lot the heavens opened up and there were PLENTY of spots. Hallelujah! To top it off we had actually driven to Moraine Lake instead. Oops again! This day. We climbed up to the view point and it was almost as if this entire trip had led to this moment. The water was even more blue than we could have imagined. It was truly unreal. The timing of the evening couldn’t have been more perfect either. The skies were turning purple, people were leaving, and we just sat. Staring at each detail and taking in every moment, laughing about how the seven peaks seemed like seven old and noble men. I have feeling we’ll be coming back here for our anniversary someday. We didn’t make it back to camp until midnight. We were exhausted but entirely full. Our plans to see Lake Louise were set aside for now. That was all we really needed in the end.

Day Sixteen: Arriving in Banff

We left the campsite rather quickly, as we were excited to get to Banff. We were in such awe driving in that we could hardly contain ourselves. Just a lot of “wows” Giant mountains peeked through the clouds that looks like space ships and it seemed like every lake we passed was crystal clear. We drove through the downtown area, picked up some groceries and soup for lunch in the park. I can’t wait to go back and check out the Christmas store! We might move here.
We left town to check out our campsite and see the area a bit more. The views only became more and more beautiful. We passed by lake Minnewanka on the way to Two Jack’s Main campground where we would be staying. More “wows” There wasn’t much as the campground, including no showers. It’s a good thing we love each other. We made shakes for a second lunch and headed to a hike through the canyon by the lake where we met the sweetest couple from Montreal.We headed back to town so I could get a few hours of work done and have my weekly Arbonne meeting. Jake did the laundry while I was working. He’s the BEST. When I was finished we headed back to the lake so he could do some evening fishing. I called family and enjoyed my new favorite beer while he did. This is taking work life balance to a whole new level if you ask me. We stopped to watch the sunset on the way back to camp. No matter where you are in this place, every view is just incredible. When we got back I made pesto pasta with Chicken. I tried to take a picture but Jake’s response was a hard no. He doesn’t feel I need to capture every meal. I disagree. #compromise

Day Fifteen: Tune ups and Ghostlands

We woke up at the campsite and took our time getting ready for the day. Enjoyed some coffee and oatmeal and showered. We love this place! Highly recommend. Today our plan was to find this free campsite on Forestry trunk rd right outside of Banff to stay in for the night. On the way there, we would be passing through Calgary, so we decided to stop for a tune up on the truck. Walmart was the only place open so that worked! On our way to our surprise campsite later that afternoon it started to rain, and we began to see the incredible views awaiting us in Banff.

When we arrived at our campsite I felt a strange presence. There was definitely something to these “ghost lands” as they call them. Nevertheless the spot was beautiful (and free) so we began setting up. We took a short walk around the forest and saw a huge skunk. We could tell right away that this was a different kind of wilderness than we had experienced so far.

When we got back to camp we had a simple dinner of soup by the fire. Jake fished ghost river nearby but didn’t have any luck. It started to rain again so we hopped into bed with our tea and actually watched a movie we had recorded on Netflix. Is that bad juju? Not sure but I didn’t sleep. A very Erie night it was in ghost lands!

Day Four: Engagement Moon

Jake leaped out of bed saying “Today is going to be a GREAT DAY” So clearly yes, I had an idea…however I really didn’t want to get any hopes up. But he was right, it was the most perfect day.

He had his coffee, I had my fizz. We did yoga and had our shakes. Then I made us almond butter, banana and honey sandwiches for lunch. We packed up the lunch, snacks, and post hike beers and headed to Prospect. We would go to Lye Brook falls afterwards to cool off. When we reached the top, there were a few people lingering and we had seen the scenes, so I was ready to go. Jake wanted to stay and wait for them to leave, thus giving me another idea of what might be coming. At that moment, I knew that if what I thought was coming was coming…the forest was where I wanted to be, and I knew he would love it so much more too. I was right, this round also. Toot toot.

So off we went to Lye Brook falls. We took a different path to a small lookout I used to visit when I lived here. I sat for a moment on the wall, and then he set up the VIDEO camera and my whole body filled with flutter. It’s funny how much these excess things like pictures become so much less important when the moment is actually here. I had always imagined wanting a picture of this event but once it arrived, all I wanted was him.

We drove to the quarry in awe of life to celebrate our engagement with beers and swimming. There were too many people there, so we went to equinox pond instead, and just sat. Soaking in every moment and treasuring this day.

When we got back to the campsite I made tostadas with leftovers from the previous night. After dinner, it started to rain, so we laid in our little bungalow and just listened. Still in awe and full of freeing, joyous and peaceful excitement for this new beginning. We made it. Love won, again.

Leftover chicken and beef with lime juice Guac; Avocado, garlic powder, lime, salsa Bean dip Bell pepper Cheese Pan fried tortilla