Through mesmerising Canada

Through mesmerising Canada

My husband and I have now retired (well almost) and decided to visit our son and daughter-in-law in London for a three-month stay. But when my son and daughter-in-law decided to plan a trip to Canada, the itinerary included visiting family and also visiting Banff and Calgary.

We flew from Gatwick, London to Edmonton, Alberta and met our relatives. We took two cars for eight people and a kid. Our first halt was at Hinton, in west-central Alberta, Canada. We stayed at the White Wolf Inn. This is a small town and is named for William P Hinton, Vice President and General Manager of the  Grand Trunk Pacific Railway.

On our way, we picked up some ready-to-make Indian food (five of us are vegetarians). We cooked the food in the microwave provided in the rooms and slept. The next morning, we drove to Icefields Parkway to see the Rockies. The glaciers were an experience by itself. We rode in a bus with super special tyres to the glaciers. The Canadian Rocky Mountain is named as Icefields Parkway and is one of Canada's national treasures. It stretches across the Canadian Rocky Mountains Park World Heritage site.  The scenario includes lakes, ancient glaciers and valleys. To travel the Icefields Parkway is to experience one of Canada's national treasures and most rewarding destinations.

The Peyto Lake is magnificent and as many a photographer claim, it is one of the best places for inspiration. It is located in the Banff National Park, northwest of Lake Louise. Apparently, the colour in the lake is derived from the glacier rock flour which ideally flows in during summer.

Most interestingly the colour varies depending on the season and also the time of the day. We just could not get enough of it, the lake, the mountain and the entire scenario left us mesmerised and wanting for more.

An experience to remember in a lifetime is visiting the Athabasca glacier. It is magnificent, huge and very intriguing. We were booked for a 4.30 pm slot and were taken in a bus to a spot. What we saw when we got off the small bus was surprising- there was a huge bus with much huger wheels. Apparently, the size of the wheels was to counter the glacier. We reached a spot and were given around 15 minutes to bask in the glory of the glacier.

The snow was spread over miles and miles, slippery in some places and quite safe at other spots. Little rivulets were also flowing, the water was cold and pure. We managed to taste it and definitely felt rejuvenated.

Visiting the Niagara Falls was truly an emotional experience for me. I had certainly not imagined what I was to encounter. We left from home Toronto around 5 pm, it was a two-hour drive (peak traffic).
When we arrived, the first thing I heard was the gushing of water and then saw these huge falls -- majestic, pure, dominating and most important
spectacular.

Apparently, the view from the Canadian side is far more beautiful than from the American side. We could see the visitors from the American side viewing the falls as they would have perhaps watching us too.

Johnston Canyon is embalmed with limestone bedrocks over several years of water erosion. It is a visual treat with waterfalls, narrow ridges, bridges, lush forest and of course canyons. It has the lower and upper trials. The hike is easy and not too tiring.

Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular destinations in Banff National Park, and for good reason; it is a place of dramatic natural beauty accessible to most.   It is particularly popular during the summer and at certain times of the winter. If you seek a more peaceful experience, try visiting Johnston Canyon during the spring and fall, or make the most of the long summer days by going in the early morning or mid-evening.

The walk is made even more meaningful because of several scenic spots which are lush and green.

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