Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Rahns Do the Wild West - Part 4 - Banff National Park and the Rimrock Resort

The last of our adventure - after 3 different hotels in 3 nights, we were looking forward to getting to Banff and staying put for a few days - we would be here for 3 nights and then fly home out of Calgary.

After a 4 hour drive from Lethbridge, we arrived at the Rimrock and it was BEAUTIFUL!! Canada does it's National Parks differently - it's not just park land, but all of the surrounding town "stuff" is also officially in the park. Our hotel was not a "park" hotel, but it was in the park.

We arrived on our actual anniversary - July 3 and this was waiting for us in the room with some chocolate covered strawberries.

 We explored then headed to dinner at the hotel dining room - very fancy and very good food! We even got an anniversary treat for dessert compliments of the Rimrock. :)

Juy 4th - Our next morning was up bright and early - we were going to drive the Icefields Parkway up to the glaciers! It would be a long day, but worth it!!

Our first part was the Bow Valley Parkway (which led to Icefields Parkway)- known for bears and other wildlife. Don was excited, we really hadn't seen any bears yet - but our drive produced nothing.....
 so...Don got up the next morning and headed back to Bow Valley Parkway on his own at 5:00 a.m. and he found bears!! :)

We began our journey to the glaciers - the scenery was beautiful and there were many stops along the way! We enjoyed our in-car tour guide. I had read about the GyPSy App for iphones that would provide info along your drive for certain parks and areas. There was one available for the Icefields Parkway, so we downloaded it and drove along with our guide and learned/saw a lot that we might have missed if we were just looking, driving and using guide books. It was awesome!

The color of the water still amazes me, and the pictures don't do it justice - Glacier fed lakes are so beautiful!!

We stopped for snacks and had to get the Canadian flags - it was July 4th and the girls were decorated, but there were definitely no celebrations going on  in Canada. ;)  The girls made their own celebration!!

We made it to the Columbia Icefields!! We could have taken a short bus ride over to the actual glacier and gotten out and walked on it...but decided to save our pennies and just admire from afar.

We ate lunch here and the girls found friends.

We then began our trek back to the hotel - the reverse GyPSy guide had different information, so it was like a different trip as we retraced our path.

 Had to stop and put our feet in the glacier water - it was COLD!!

July 5th  - our last day! We spent this day local and just hung out at the hotel and explored the area near the hotel. The Banff gondola ride was a 5 minute walk up the hill from the hotel, so that was definitely on our list for today.

 Up we go....

 That building in the middle - among the trees - is our hotel - beautiful location and truly stuck in the middle of the wilderness.

 At the top - only 2,058 miles - as the bird flies to Washington D.C......

 The view from the top - it was a cloudy day, but still fun!

My adventure girl - had to get off the path and into the tree!
 Heading back down - another view of our hotel as we were going down.

Stopped for Starbucks in the Gondola station at the bottom.

We then spent the rest of the day hanging out in the gorgeous hotel - 

 That night was the Women's World Cup Final - we found the lounge with the game playing - parked ourselves, ordered dinner and watched the was a fun little experience! Some other Americans were there also.

After the game - we headed up to our room, finished packing - said good night to our adventure and prepared for our day of travel on July 6th.

Our day of travel started at 8:00 a.m. - drive to Calgary Airport, fly to Chicago, layover and flight delayed, finally arrive at Dulles at about 12:45 a.m. on July 7th - home to Purcellville at about 2:00 a.m.

It was a great  11 days and memories were made, new sights were seen and another Rahn Vacation was in the books!!!

We had two weeks to prepare for our annual Emerald Isle beach trip.....

Coming soon - Emerald Isle #12 - any new adventures? You betcha!!