Thursday, 4 February 2010

Banff Retreat

Last Friday, Greg called me at work to tell me we were going to Banff National Park for the weekend. I was excited at first but the thought of all my laundry, cleaning, groceries and everything else on my lengthy “to-do” list came to mind. I resisted at first and asked why we were doing it and he was like it was an early valentine’s day present since he was leaving for Vancouver on the 14th and would be gone all week. I thought that was kinda sweet, so off to Banff we went. 
This was Finley unpacking her suitcase. It ended up all over the floor! I was concerned about what would be in it since Greg packed it all by himself. I usually don’t trust him to do stuff like that – he did not a bad job…
Every year in Lake Louise they have a weekend dedicated to ice sculpture that takes place on Lake Louise and in front of the Lake Louise Chateau. The hotel we stayed at also participated in the ice sculpture craze…most were Olympic Inspired….and amazingly awesome!
This was the hotel we stayed in Lake Louise. I think it was called the Lake Louise Inn…It was a combination of hotels and motels all on one property. Plus it had a pool, 2 hot tubs and a steam room. We hit the pool Saturday night after supper but we only stayed about 20 minutes if that. Finley may love her baths now but pools she still hates! We got a great deal on the room and was upgraded to Executive Queen for no charge. Greg got it for 60 bucks a night, which apparently is around half of the regular night, on which he seems to be addicted to!
This was the skating rink on Lake Louise. You entered at your own risk. Had to take a photo of the “zamboni” – it was so cool!
Greg and Finley standing on the skating rink…Her first time on the ice!
The beautiful winter scenery that is Lake Louise. Such a magical place regardless of the season. Love living so close to the mountains – we are so blessed to have them in our backyard.
We spent part of our visit walking downtown Banff! This was Finley in front of the big bear at The Fudgery which just happens to be the home of the BEST maple fudge in the entire world. It is so delicious but sits like rocks in your stomach. I don’t recommend eating it for breakfast…haha. One thing I did notice about Banff and Lake Louise is their heavy promotion of the Olympic games in Vancouver. The lamp posts display olympic 2010 flags, every souvenier store is fully stocked in every type of olympic paraphenilia known to man.  
We spent part of the after at Johnston’s Canyon which is a personal favorite hike of ours. We do it at least once a year and is usually our kick off hike of the spring to get us going! I had never been in the middle of winter. At first it’s really strange because you don’t hear any running water like you do in the spring or the summer. It’s a very serene feeling. The photo above is water frozen along part of the canyon. Although the photo doesn’t display it, some of the ice along the canyon was just the most amazing shade of blue. It was just a beautiful shade…you kinda tell above but not really, I just couldn’t capture the beauty of it
Finley had a blast walking Johnston’s Canyon! She was all bundled up in her stroller and loved every minute of it! Normally we backpack her but we figured it wouldn’t be too busy, it would be safer in icy sections and we were only going to do the Lower Falls so we decided to use the stroller with the safety attachment to Greg. We hoped that she would nap but she would have no such thing!
Another beautiful sight in Johnston’s Canyon. This is a better photo that captures the pristine color of the ice – especially at the top and part of the middle. In case you haven’t noticed, I love water falls – frozen or flowing! 
I thought that it was interesting how random parts of the water were not frozen and running freely. I don’t know how or why it happens but would be interested to find out. I found this shape to be more interesting then the others, it’s kinda like a shape of a fish or possibly a leaf Look how clear the water is, gotta love fresh mountain water…
This is the pool of water that is below the lower falls. It was nice and unfrozen and beautiful!
This is lower falls frozen as heck. It was so cool to see it. We seriously thought that the water was going to come breaking through at any second.  
This is a photo from the cave at lower falls. You can see the water fall gushing underneath the ice and flowing out the bottom. The cave was insanely slippery on the inside. I nearly wiped out a bunch of times.
After a long day of sightseeing, hiking and shopping, we ended our day by having a delicious dinner at The Keg. The food was absolutely wonderful – nothing beats their bacon wrapped scallops. They are amazing and come highly recommended from both Greg and I. Although Finley looks happy in the above photo, she was pretty cranky the whole time. But that’s a whole other blog about that….

This was our last day at the hotel before we headed back to reality. Greg may look sleepy but it was just disappointment as we had just found out about the Dion Phaneuf trade to the Maple Leafs. The disappointment furthered when we saw what we got back. Anyways, back to the photo above, you will notice Finley is wearing a McDonald’s bib. I forgot to put a bib in her diaper bag, so when walking by the McDonald’s in Banff, I stole a bunch so that we would be covered. Finley didn’t like it much since it was almost impossible for her to pull off!

All in all, it was a wonderful, much needed weekend away from the chaos that is our life. Even though I had to spend Monday and Tuesday nights doing laundry and cleaning my house so that it was at least respectable, it was worth every minute of it. The next few weeks are going to busy for Greg and I so it was really nice to get away from it all. It was the first time in a LONG time that I headed to work on a Monday and felt so relaxed and refreshed – which was a good thing considering how swamped I have been at work the last few days!

Thanks Greg for a wonderful weekend away! I loved every minute of it and I can’t wait to do it again sometime soon!

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