Banff Log, Days 3 & 4

Note: This is the MUCH anticipated second installment of my Banff Log. For part 1, go here. Day three finally brought us to Canada. That's where we pick up this episode...

Day 3 - Sullivan Lake to The Canadian Border to Radium

We woke up to chirping squirrels and birds and a sleeping Teagan. He was uncovered in the early morning but went back to sleep when Autumn covered him up. I snuck out and started some water for coffee while the campground slept. It was about 6:45 and the perfect time to be up and about. Teagan woke up and Trinity came trotting around after spending the night with mom and Harry, which ended up being really good for everyone. A quick clean and pack and we were on our way.

Canada, here we come!

First Border Crossing

About 25 minutes later we hit the Canadian border where we had to show ID and Teagan and Trinity were officially international travelers! We stopped for pictures and the officer checking our paperwork stamped some papers for the kids. The mosquitos welcomed us as well, making our Canadian debut a success! Then we hit the road.

Besties on top of Kootenay Pass!

A long climb up Kootenay Pass quickly showed us that Canada is just plain big. Huge views, huge mountains and valleys greeted us and we stopped to check out a caribou momma and baby on top of the pass. We threw some rocks in the lake (mandatory, even in Canada) and then packed up again. We stopped at Moyie Lake for lunch where everyone was able to stretch their legs and get replenished for the next push. A (not so) quick stop in Cranbrook For groceries and fuel set us up for the last leg for the day. A 7 hour trip later and we were in Radium for the night. We set up camp and then went into town for dinner. After an uneventful meal we went to the hot springs and swam in the big warm pool for an hour or more. What a great way to end the day. But end it must, so we headed back to camp and all laid our weary heads down for the night. I think what I loved most about today was to be reminded how even little events all add up for a really adventurous day, especially when you’re in a place you’ve never been to before.

Day 4 Radium to Lake Louise

Whew! Day four (night three) in the camper and we’re still having a great time! Both kids slept in the camper, in the same bed and come out none the worse for wear. Teagan is a mover so there’s always the possibility that he’ll wake up Trinity. He popped up first and climbed into bed with me while Autumn braved the bears and went for a quick run. Trinity woke up a little later and we all went down to the Kelley camp site for some promised coffee. I sipped a little cuppa while the kids had a little milk and played with their collapsible chairs. Autumn then came back, so I went for a short run too. The rest of the morning was a slow motion version of what it is to pack up and leave another camp site.  There were showers and playing and hooking up trailers. That’s about it. Then we took off for Lake Louise, only to be derailed about 20 minutes into our drive by a fantastic view of the Canadian Rockies. So we stopped and snapped a few shots and were off again. What a fantastic drive! The mountains were really breathtaking with their massive presence looming over us. I’ve seen big mountains before, but these just shot out of the ground and shot skyward with very little distraction. The massive amounts off rock made it all seem a little surreal.

Little boy in front of big mountains (catchy caption, eh?)

A couple of hours later, we pulled into Lake Louise and got in line to register. It sure is busy here! I am so glad we were able to get reservations ahead of time. On the way in, the camp hosts informed us that there was a bear on premises, so please observe all the rules for camping in bear country. Now where was that bear spray? The afternoon passed with tired kids and dinner preparation. It was a little different because we will be staying here for a few nights. It makes it a little easier to get organized and feel a little more settled. Autumn has done a great job packing and organizing our little home on the road.

We all get settled in a little differently!

After dinner we set out on bikes to see Lake Louise. The small maps we had showed that it would be a few miles on trails to get there. So we set off on the nice single track, ready for a beautiful view. Well, I believe it was Thomas Moore that said something to the effect of, “The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.” Yep, the trail prohibited bikes about a mile into the trip, so we jumped on the road and began to climb. And climb. And climb. By road it was about 4km to the lake and it was ALL uphill. All told it was about 800 feet of climbing. It doesn’t sound like much until you realize you’re hauling a trailer with kids. Ha! We didn’t know it at the time, but about ¾ of the way up the hill, we saw a ranger vehicle and a crowd of onlookers. Pedaling up, we discovered a grizzly bear wandering around in the bushes. The kids were able to see it live and in person! It was a first for me as well, which made all of our effort worth it!

Trailers do roll on surfaces other than pavement, like rocks and roots!

The climb begins...

...and never seems to end!

The smiles could be forced...

After a few snaps, we found out that we were about 5-10 minutes from our goal. The lake was just up the hill. I think we all groaned a little inwardly, but none of use was going to quit so close to the prize. Up we went, huffing and puffing. I was towing Teagan and Emerson, and I was talking to Teagan when I looked back and discovered that they had both fallen asleep! I guess it was tiring just riding up the hill! We all regrouped and rode to the lake, where there is a fancy resort and maybe the most spectacular view on earth. The mountains rise right out of the lake and don’t stop for thousands of feet. Wow! The funny part was that the kids sleeping in the trailer really attracted a lot of attention. Many of the tourists were foreigners and many of them thought that the kids sleeping in the trailer were as interesting as anything else. One Indian family even shot a video of me riding past with the kids. Youtube anyone? We’re going viral baby! Many more people stopped by to peer into the bike trailer and comment on the two little sleepers.


3/4 of the Kelley family and 1/4 of the Harrell family

The best 1/4 of the Harrell family. Hey baby, how YOU doing?
But it was getting late and we didn’t want to ride down the hill after dusk, so we set off and covered the same 2 miles in about 1/20th of the time. Then we went for ice cream! All four kids were awake by then, so we enjoyed a scoop of ice cream and then it was back to camp and into bed for the kids. Teagan was so tired that, on the way back from ice cream, looks at me from Kal’s bike trailer and asks, “daddy, can it be my bedtime?” Too cute. It was a good way to end the day and it’s a good way to end this journal entry.

The end of the day AND the end of this post...


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