Recently I've been staying in Vancouver with a few people who have been kind enough to host me and help me out while I wait for the bike to arrive. One particular group of people who happened to be relations to a family I know back home have been such a great help. But they really went all out with their next offer of help.
So I receive a message saying they were going on a family holiday for a week and staying in a condo at Panorama ski resort up near the Rockies Mountains, and would I like to join them. Are you kidding me? That's an incredible offer. For sure I said yes to this offer. Three days later I was picked up at 0500 from where I was staying in town by these guys that I've never met before. This is going to be a great adventure.
Took a whole day to get there but was real good getting to know Roz and Christine on the trip. The scenery up there was incredible and I knew this was exactly the sort of adventure I was looking for when I arrived in Canada.
We arrived at the resort and I could not believe my luck. This place is stunning. The accommodation itself was incredible. Fully fitted kitchen and a nice hot shower. But not only that, it was set with the mountains all around, a river out the back and wild deer and elk walking around that were happy to be around us humans.
The rest of the party wouldn't be arriving until tomorrow. So the first night was spent eating steak and drinking beer. My first steak since leaving England over four months ago. And damn it was good!
The following day everyone arrived. David and Katie came over from England who were part of this family network and Anne too who lives in Calgary. They drove up to meet us all for the weeks holiday. Was real good meeting everyone and getting to know them. Was interesting trying to explain how this random English guy has hijacked their holiday. They are all so friendly and more than welcomed me in.
The next week was great fun. I spent time relaxing at the resort, drinking beer and reading. I love to hike back home and have missed it a lot so was good to blow off the cobwebs and get my legs moving and explore some of the local trails. We went to a quiz night, had movie nights, visited local towns and generally had a great time. One of the best days though was visiting the Columbia Ice Field in the Rockie Mountains.
The drive up there was simply stunning. I'm glad I wasn't driving because I don't think I could have concentrated properly. Mountain after mountain. Lots of glaciers to see and rivers running in all directions. What an incredible part of the world. It does make progress a little slower because you need to get out and appreciate it. Plus take lots of pictures to make everyone back home super jealous right?
So the Columbia Ice Field is this huge area covered in Ice. It's truly massive that you really can't appreciate until you read the facts. Most of it you cant see. But you are given a little teaser that is a tourist hotspot. From the visitor center you get on the bus that takes you up the road where you then transfer onto this super awesome bus. It has six big wheels and a huge cab to sit in with a glass roof to take in the view. This thing is to take you actually onto the glacier itself. The trip certainly makes for some stunning photos and you get to walk around on the glacier itself for about twenty minutes which is cool. The only downside is it is a tourist trap so you do feel part of the tourist conveyer belt. But it's still real cool to take it all in.
After this we then visited the skywalk just down the road. It's a new attraction. A glass bottom bridge that looms right out over the canyon. Very cool and a strange feeling having that many people walk along this structure. You just hope the engineers got the calculations right.
Final part of the day after having lunch together was visiting Lake Louise. This was always on my list of places to stay and it did not disappoint. Great view. Sun was shining and it was a near perfect finish to the day. This so far has been the best day in Canada, and definitely up there as the most memorable of the trip. I am a sucker for the mountains. Love being in them, whether climbing or simply taking in the view. Also, I have finally ticked off the bear sighting. A black Bear was about twenty metres from the side of the road which was real cool, but even cooler was seeing a wild Moose too on the side of the road. I had to get out and take some pictures. Apparently this is a real rare sight to see. Bears are common but Moose are not. So I am real happy I got both in one day.
It was quite sad at the end of the week. I had to say goodbye to Anne who I hope I will see again. She treated me to the trip on the glacier and I can't thank her enough for it. This week was the first time on the trip that I felt like I was on holiday. I needed it. All the travelling is tiring and sometimes you really need to stop and take everything in that's happened. And this was perfect for it.
I spent a week in the area and only scratched the surface, but holy crap was it an incredible sight to see. It's left me wanting more and one day I will go back and explore. It is a shame I didn't have the bike with me but it has been nice to travel for a little bit in a more relaxed approach. I have made some great new friends and shared stories. This trip was always about meeting new people and throwing myself into new experiences.
Big shout out Roz, Christine, Anne, David and Katie. You guys made this trip so enjoyable for me and just what I needed. I hope to see you all again one day.
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