The Rockies

fall in the rockies

So I flew into Canada at the end of last week. It’s 4 years since I was last in Canada and it’s really good to be back.

After starting in Banff National Park (about an hour’s drive from Calgary airport) we spent the first night at Lake Louise. Was bitterly cold and the weather not great. On the Friday we drove from Banff to Jasper national park, several hundred miles north.

Having ordered the most basic hire car, it turned out we had something a couple of models up which is really quite large. Some type of Chevrolet but very smooth and very spacious. Weird driving an automatic when most people in the UK drive manual and cruise control is also a novelty. The wide open highways are blissfully empty compared with back home. Even in the north of England (where I was a month or so ago) the motorways were packed. In fact – the whole darn island is packed and London really is at the epicenter of it all.

Being high up in the mountains, surrounded by amazing views, comparatively few people, a comparatively large amount of wildlife – is very therapeutic.

The picture up top is one I took this afternoon. The dazzling yellows abound on the mountainsides as fall is in full season here.

As well as lots of sightseeing we’ve done a couple of hikes of 2-3 hours each. The one today – at Mount Edith Carvell – was tougher than expected as we climbed several hundred metres. I had forgotten to bring proper walking shoes with me (whooooooooops) and am wearing some brown, summery French leather shoes that I usually wear to work in summer. Hardly ideal for hiking but so long as it’s dry (it mostly has been) they’re not too bad.

Overall the weather hasn’t been bad. Brilliant blue skies and cloudless days have not, though, been forthcoming. A fair bit of cloud overall but also sun. That said, the weather is due to improve from Wednesday with full sun predicted. The mountains look even more stunning when the weather is like that so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Haven’t seen bears yet (they’re reasonably common but rarely seen) but have seen lots of elk (it’s the mating season). You even see them on roads. We also had a coyote (or wolf or wild cat, we couldn’t tell what it was) run out in front of the car earlier today but we managed to swerve and brake to miss it.

We’ve varied where we’re staying – it will total 5 different places in the end covering Banff, Jasper, Canmore and Calgary. I loved one of the places we stayed at in Jasper which is comprised of log cabins, some of which date to the 1940s. It’s like going back in time. A lovely log cabin, quite basic facilities (but has bathroom, kitchenette, etc). A big open fire place and I made the fire with the hunks of firewood provided. The evening chill draws in but you draw close to the fire and can smell the woodsmoke… London is a million miles away, just where I want it to be.

I do love Canada and am really savouring being here.

elks outside jasper

mountains as taken through the windscreen

medicine lake, the rockies

14 thoughts on “The Rockies

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  1. Thanks for the update as I know how hard it can be to find time to post when on holiday.
    Hope you gets the sun and blue skies for both your memories and great photos of that awesome place. continue to enjoy and watch out for those yabba dabba dos !

  2. What *awesome* pictures, Milo!! I saw the one on top with all the yellow while I was tweeting from my ipod touch last night at the Border Cafe in Harvard Square (I suspect you must remember that place) and I showed it to my friend then because it was so stunning.

    As per usual, your post is vivid and evocative — I swear I can actually smell the woodsmoke ๐Ÿ™‚

    When my family immigrated here from England my parents insisted on driving all over the continent, so I’ve seen every corner of the continental USA in my life — I’ve seen the rockies more than once. But I’ve never seen the Canadian Rockies — I’ve never been anywhere in Canada but Niagara, Ontario, and Montrรฉal. These pix are making me want to make a trip out to the Western half of Canada some day ๐Ÿ™‚

    BTW I made the exact same mistake you did once — drove 6 hours from Boston up the Maine Coast (or “down east” as they like to say in Maine) to go hiking in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, and although I had packed all sorts of stuff for the trip the *ONLY* shoes I had were leather penny loafers. OOPS! Thankfully there is a sporting goods store right in Bar Harbor so I bought myself a nice pear of hiking boots before going up mountains ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. SB – thanks! The weather did improve a lot yesterday (sunny all day) and I’ve just looked out of the window here (it’s 8.15am) and it’s same again!

    Justin – thank you. Unlike the New England fall there are no reds or oranges that I can see – only yellow. Still very striking. Enjoy the New England fall this year.

    Birdy – thank you! Just being out of the UK and away from work is half the fun. Hope all well lower down the Rockies in Colorado!

    Mike – I went with Sheridan, an old friend. Yes they are with the new camera. I’m fairly happy with it. Especially good for zoom and HD video (which I’ll post on my return home). Pics in lower light not so much its strong point and battery life not the best.

  4. Justin – enjoy!

    Craig – thank you!

    Hen – thanks, and I’ve envious of you too, though for different reasons (namely the 19 lb weight loss! ๐Ÿ˜€ )

    Sven – was lovely. Really, really enjoyed it.

    RO – thank you! Fall is a great time to be there as the colours are so rich.

  5. Beautiful photos! I din’t think I have ever been to the Rockies in the fall, which is quite a shame as I am only 3 hours away from Jasper! (came to you via Jeni btw..)

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