It’s super time for a vacation. It has been one full year since I’ve been abroad. *gasp* *shock* *horror* at lack of proper vacation time one encounters upon joining the real world. It really is horrendous how little vacation real people get. Who’s with me?
Anyway. I’ve decided to rebel. By taking a 2.5 day vacation. WOO. What do I do in my 2.5 days + weekend? Explore the ever-beautiful, magnificent Canadian Rockies! Banff and Lake Louise, to be precise.
Where does day 1 of my 12-month-awaited vacation find me? Ridin’ solo in the Calgary airport. Of the two friends joining me, Steve & Whitney, exactly 2 of them are no where to be found. I get on g-chat and find Steve online, who should be 10,000 feet up in the air and definitely not on the internet. He tells me his first flight caught on fire (no big deal), and he is still in the States. But not to worry, “hang tight, I’ll be there in a couple hours!”
An hour later, I see Whitney walking up and we decide we would really like a McDonald ice cream cone. Problem? Steve rented our car and is still hours away from Calgary. Solution? I pretend I am Steve’s wife and try to get Steve’s rental car. The conversation with Hertz went a little like this:
Canadian Hertz rental agent: “We cannot give you the keys, because it is under Steve Kennington.”
Me:”No, it’s okay, I’m his wife”.
Hertz: “Oh, hmm. Can I see your ID [give him my id) And, are you under 25?”
Hertz: “Oh, I’m sorry. We cannot give you car if you are under 25, for there is an extra fee”. (looks confused at my ID) “I’m trying to do the math, you are under 25?”
Me: “Oh, no, I’m over 25”.
Hertz: “Oh! Okay! Here are the keys, car is out the door and to the right.”
Whitney: “Hey! Do you know where the nearest McDonalds is?”
Hertz:”Do you know the area well?”
Whitney & I: “Not so well, we’ve never been here”.
Hertz: “Do you want GPS in your car? It is $16 a day extra”.
Me: “Ugh, that’s dumb, no”.
Hertz: “Okay, no problem, I will give it to you for free! And, I’ll upgrade your car as well”.
Me to Whitney (as walking to car): “Omg, I love Canadians!!”
30 minutes and 3 McDonalds later, we finally arrive at a 24-hr McDonalds, where we are given free ice cream cones and my love for Canadians is affirmed. After our ice cream fill, we pick Steve up from the airport and arrive in Banff shortly before 4am.
Let the Adventure Commence
The next morning,we head to Lake Louise to gaze at the splendid beauty of what appears to be a painting, and hit the hiking trails.
After admiring the gorgeous, turquoise-green lake, Steve begins to blaze the trail. We arrive at a point where we see a “Danger! Avalanche!” sign, and a British lady sitting nearby points out she hasn’t seen anybody successfully go up the trail. Steve looks at me, asks “Want to do it, Tracey?” to which I immediately reply “Yep!!” There is a fine line between ignorance and adventure and we soon find ourselves straddling that line.
Within a few minutes, we are no longer on a trail, but rather trudging through the snow, at times sinking in up to our knees. After a while of trekking through the path less taken, we soon find ourselves traversing rapids, hopping from stone to stone, climbing boulders and jumping through rivers. Several falls into icy waters later, we have never been so happy to stumble upon the trail (except for that time I got lost in the woods in Seattle).
On the way back to our hotel, we decide we simply cannot walk another step and half-jokingly stick out our thumbs to hitchike back to town. A few seconds later, a car pulls over and Marcos, our German savior, not only drives us back to town but offers us cookies as well! What a swell guy. Don’t worry Mom & Dad, we asked him if he was a serial killer before getting into his car.
The next day, we take a 4 mile journey through Johnston Canyon, to make it to the Rockie’s most impressive waterfalls!
After our strenuous hike, we head to our hotel, where SPG has granted our requested upgrade to the honeymoon suite. The polygamous trio is happy with the jacuzzi in our bedroom 🙂
The following day, Steve heads to the airport and Whitney and I spend the day urban hiking through Olympic Park and downtown Calgary, in search of a hookah bar. We successfully find the hookah bar and celebrate by spending the evening watching t.v. and eating McD….life is good, eh?