“We’re going to… Canada!” News about taking a family vacation is exciting, but news about visiting the neighboring country that shares Niagara Falls and is north of the 49th parallel can be considered quite mundane. At least, that was my first reaction to this news. However, our weeklong trip to Canada proved to be the perfect break as we climbed archaic glaciers on the Columbia Icefield and experienced bear, moose, and deer sightings only yards away.
Immediately following our landing in Calgary, Canada, the adventure began. First stop was renting a car for traveling through the three national parks; Yoho, Jasper, and Banff. This vacation certainly was going to require wheels. The car we rented was perfect as it had the GPS necessary for our self-guided travels and better yet, a sunroof!
The Canadian Rockies are a popular place to visit as it boasts an impressive four million visitors annually. One activity that is a renowned must-go is the Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure. A giant vehicle that resembles a mix of a bus and monster truck brings 40 visitors every half hour up to a glacier that is a part of the Columbia Icefield in the Canadian Rockies. The experience was incredible. My family made sure to bundle up, grab our camera, and pack an empty water bottle. Standing on the top of the glacier gave me a placating feeling where time seemed to slow down as my attention focused on the howling, chill winds and glistening, light blue ice. Why did we bring an empty water bottle you may be wondering? The answer is visitors are allowed to fill water bottles with glacier water when they visit. I was the only one in my family who dared to reach my hand into the frigid glacier water and fill up our bottle. It was totally worth it, by the way. The water tasted sweet and clear, although, it may have just tasted sweet because of my satisfaction of braving the cold to fill it up!
Throughout our visit, we witnessed many natural animal sightings. Driving through Jasper National Park in particular enabled us to spot animals such as black bears, moose, and many, many deer. Visiting the park in June was ideal for animal sightings as most animals are with their offspring and are especially active. Most of the time, animal sightings occur because lots of cars have stopped and people are all gathering and pointing their camera in the same direction. This was the case when we witnessed our first animal, a grown brown bear. After numerous additional sightings, it began to be a contest as to who in the family could be the first one to sight an animal without a crowd to tip off the location of an animal. This proved to be a hard task and one entirely based off of luck, but as we were rounding down the road from Edith Carrow, we saw a deer! It was about five feet away and was the closest we had ever gotten to wild life on the whole trip.
These experiences were the adventurous, exciting highlights of my trip to the National Parks in Canada. I hope I inspired you to consider Canada as a vacation destination for your next trip. You never know, the maple syrup capital of the world may be location of your next favorite vacation.