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Canada, Photography, Travel

Why you should visit Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

January 3, 2017

Why you should visit Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park was the first stop on our Canadian adventure and we were absolutely in awe of it. If you ever go to Alberta or British Columbia, Emerald Lake needs to be on your to visit list.

Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

You already want to
Photos of Emerald Lake must pop up on my Facebook feed at least once a week because friends have liked or tagged me in it when they’ve seen it on another page. I’m willing to bet that in the past few weeks, you’ve seen a photo of this lodge surrounded by snow, looking like a dreamy winter wonderland.

Reflections on Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

The reflections
On a still day, this beautiful lake reflects the surrounding trees and mountains like a teal-tinted mirror.

 

The trail around Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

The trail

A trail allows you to walk all the way around the lake, and it splits off to other trails if you fancy being more adventurous. The trail is pretty flat so it’s easy for all the family, and you definitely don’t need to be superfit. The only thing you might want to do is consider wearing wellies because the last part was fairly muddy; we wore walking boots and were fine, but if it’s rained heavily recently, wellies might be a safer bet just in case.

It probably took us about two hours to walk the trail, though I’m sure you could walk if faster, but I don’t think you’d want to rush this place.

 

Canoes on Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

You can canoe here

I’m convinced that there is no better way to explore a lake than by canoe; and luckily for you, there is canoe rental at the end of the lake. We didn’t actually canoe on Emerald Lake, but it’s on my list of things to do when we go back in the summer.

 

Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

The water seems to change colour
Depending on where you’re stood, or the angle of the sun, the colour of the lake seems to change colour.

 

The mountains around Emerald Lake

Mountains around Emerald Lake

The mountains

When you think about Canada, one of the first things you might think about is the Rockies. Emerald Lake is the perfect place spend some time in awe of the mountains. That said, you honestly don’t have to look vaguely hard to find mountains when you visit this part of the world.

 

The forest trail at Emerald Lake

The forest
On one side of the lake, the trail through the edge of the forest.

 

Emerald Lake Lodge

You can stay here

If you want to stay surrounded by Emerald Lake, you can stay in Emerald Lake Lodge.

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Canada, Photography, Travel

Moraine Lake is my mind palace

October 25, 2016

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Where do you wander off to in your head when you feel stressed? When everyone wants something from you? When you just need a minute? When you’re trying to bite your tongue? When you’re bored?

For me, that place is the shores of Moraine Lake. Sat on fallen over tree next to Daz, feeling the warmth of the sun ever so slightly. Sheer bliss.

Moraine Lake

It’s strange how you can find somewhere that feels so peaceful in quite a touristy place.

About a month before we went to Canada, I ordered the Lonely Planet guide to Banff and Jasper (well worth it, by the way) and we both desperately wanted to know what lake was on the cover, and we eventually found out that it was Moraine Lake. Because we both love a good kip, and it was very cloudy while we were there, we didn’t have chance to see a sunrise or a sunset over Moraine Lake, but I’m not entirely sure we could have handled it given how stunning it was in the middle of the afternoon.

Moraine Lake is on our list of places we’re going to go back to when we revisit next summer, so hopefully you’ll get to read a blog post about how we lost our shit watching the sun set over Moraine Lake.

Where is your mind palace?

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake canoe rental

 

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Canada, Life, Photography, Travel

14 Reasons why Canada is making me wish my life away

September 23, 2016

Vermillion Lakes

My longing to go to Canada began with my 10 year old self’s obsession with Avril Lavigne (you all had an Avril phase, shut up) and finally, after 15 years, I made it to Canada. The only problem is, it’s making me wish my life away in a way my Nan would tell me off for.

While we were sat in the airport we began planning our return. There are other places on our travel list but I don’t even want to entertain the idea of visiting another country until I have returned to Canada.

Our plan is to visit next Summer and it cannot come soon enough. My Nan would go batty if she heard the amount of times I’ve said “I can’t wait to go back,” in the past two weeks.

 

Bear at the side of the road in Jasper National Park

You can see bears and giant, antlered beasts at the side of the road

In England, the thing you’re most likely to see at the side of the road is litter and a dead squirrel. In Banff and Jasper, at least, you can see bears and huge elk.

We tried not to get our hopes up about seeing a bear but we both really wanted to see one. The Canadian roadside gods must have heard our silent pleas to them because we ended up seeing two bears.

I can’t even begin to describe how ridiculous it seemed to see a bear at the side of the road, having a munch on some berries. WHAT?! WHAT?! I want to live in a country where that is normal. I also need to live in a country where it’s normal to see a huge elk standing on top of a bank at the side of a road, looking out on his land.

 

Night sky, Lake Minnewanka

I didn’t see the milky way

While the Canadian roadside gods were very kind, the Canadian weather gods were not so nice.

It was unseasonably cold for the start of September and pretty cloudy most nights. I’m yet to see the milky way with my own eyes and since Jasper is a dark sky preserve I thought I would come home having seen the milky way. Due to the cloud, there was no chance of seeing it, so I’ve got unfinished business with the Canadian sky.

 

Reflection of the Rockies in Two Jack Lake

I’m convinced some of the scenary was CGI

While we were driving down the Icefields Parkway, we literally could barely believe our eyes. The Rockies didn’t even look real to us. We kept saying it looked like someone had just stuck them in, because the snow capped mountains looked so perfect and so clear.

Lake Louise and Chateau Fairmont

And the lakes? Don’t even get me started on the lakes. The lakes are so teal and blue that they look like a painting you could smudge if you tried to touch them. One of my favourite memories of Canada is when we hiked up to the Lake Agnes teahouse.

Glimpse of Lake Louise from the Lake Agnes teahouse trail

At a couple of points during the trail, there’s a gap in the trees and you can look down and see a glimpse of Lake Louise which looks the most ridiculously shade of blue you could imagine. I am 99% sure it was cake icing, like some kind of showstopper challenge from the Great British Bake Off, or something BECAUSE LAKES AREN’T THAT BLUE, SURELY?

So, I need to go back to make sure the mountains and lakes are definitely not CGI, or cake icing.

 

Canmore, Alberta

It felt like home and I need to find a way to get the Canadians to accept me as one of their own

I now know exactly how my Mum feels about Ireland; Canada just felt like home. It felt like I was supposed to be there and once I’ve finished my masters, the Canadians can look out because I’m determined to move there. (Parks Canada, if for some reason you’re reading this, I would honestly love to work for you guys testing water, looking at pollution…please?)

 

I need more poutine

Of course I could make poutine myself, but I feel like poutine is like Guinness in Ireland and is much better in it’s home country.

 

Medicine Lake, Jasper AB

The guy on boarder control that annoyed me

Look, I know that boarder control are supposed to be hard faced and a little snarky because they don’t want people sneaking in and staying forever. This is a snippet of the conversation I had with a guy at boarder control:

Boarder control: Why are you visiting for seven days?

Me: Because I’ve just been to San Francisco, and this is all my holiday used up.

Boarder control: Why Canada?

Me: Because it’s beautiful.

Boarder control: At this time of year?

Me: Yes.

Ok, sir, if you think Canada isn’t beautiful in September;

  • You are a little bit nuts or sarcastic (I respect either.)
  • I need to see what it’s like in the summer to find out if it is more beautiful, or if you’re being sarcastic.

Plus, I hope I get you next time and I can tell you I’m coming back for two weeks because you were suspicious about a seven day visit. Maybe not, that kinda comment sounds like something that would stop me entering the country – a little bit like when UK border force told my Dad to stop making daft comments or she’d be looking at his sun tan from the inside, BURN!

 

Best pizza, at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company

The best pizza in the world

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you will remember that two years ago I declared a little pub in Germany as having made the best pizza in the world. I have eaten a lot of pizza since then in my quest to find a better pizza, and the Canadians rose to the challenge.

While we were staying in Canmore, we went to the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company, where they have a huge pizza oven in the corner of the restaurant and oh my goodness. The pizza it creates is one of the best things to ever touch my taste buds. It is, easily, the best pizza in the world and if you think I’m only eating that pizza once, you are delusional.

 

We didn’t get to go to Lake O’Hara

Nestled in Yoho National Park, Lake O’Hara is an exclusive lake. The area is so special that it’s essentially ticketed. There are three ways to get in:

  1. You can buy a highly sought after bus ticket and camping pass, which sell out faster than tickets to see Beyonce.
  2. You can walk in
  3. You can cycle in

You cannot drive in, and the road from the car park is about 11km long. I’m hoping that we will be able to get a bus pass and squeeze in a visit, because it looks absolutely stunning.

 

Moraine Lake

There are lens flares on my photos of Moraine Lake

Horrendous, I know; it was too sunny and I need to go back and take some more photos.

It seemed like every lake we visited (apart from Maligne Lake, which tried to kill us and end our bright canoeing careers far too early) was more beautiful than the last, so it makes sense that the last lake we visited was the most beautiful.

The water was a stunning colour, it was actually sunny, and so peaceful; apart from the Instahooligans who were straying off the path, hanging hammocks, and climbing over rocks to get the most Instagram-worthy photo.

Instahooligans, by the way, is the name I’m giving to idiots who don’t care for protecting the beautiful places they’re in and wander off the paths, trampling foliage, to get the “best photos”, despite the signs asking people to stay on the path to allow plant regrowth….See, Parks Canada, I am already incredibly passionate about protecting Canada. In fact, I might just have created my own job; Instahooligan repeller. I will hide behind rocks and in bushes with a large water gun and soak any idiot who strays off the path because they want a “better photo”. Don’t worry, I’ll provide my own cape.

 

Canoeing on Lake Louise

I know I can be better at canoeing

Maligne Lake was not kind to us with the wind, waves, and tour boats and made it pretty hard for us to actually get anywhere because we could not canoe against the wind and waves. We had a much better and significantly less stressful canoeing adventure at Lake Louise, but I am determined to visit Maligne Lake on a calmer day and show it who’s boss.

 

Pancakes at Melissa's Missteak, Banff

I need more huge pancakes

Honestly, I think one of the best dates you can ever go on is a breakfast date. We went out to Melissa’s Missteak in Banff one morning and I ate the biggest, and most delicious pancakes ever.

In the UK, when you go out and order pancakes, they are tiny little things, but not in Banff. In Banff, you get delicious, thick, fluffy pancakes that are bigger than your head.

 

Lake Agnes, early morning

I’m unfit

Since most of the places we wanted to visit were right at the edge of the Icefields Parkway, or had carparks next to them, we didn’t do that much hiking. So when we did hike, we discovered how unfit we actually are.

The Lake Agnes teahouse hike was an eye opener and we kinda tentatively thought about doing the Plain of the Six Glaciers, but hadn’t got it in us. There were a couple of other hikes we wanted to do but just didn’t have time to fit it in.

We’re determined to return to Canada fitter, and do a bit more hiking.

 

It’s seriously chill

I don’t know if this is a cultural thing or not, but it seems like in England when people go on holiday we like to ask people if they saw “any trouble”, or litter. I really don’t know why.

We actually tried to play spot the Police Officer but it was so hard. We saw one Police Officer during our entire trip, and she was eating breakfast with a friend, either having finished a shift or about to start.

Everywhere we went seemed so relaxed, the people were friendly and polite, there was no hassle, or litter. <– Pretty much everything a Brit wants when they go on holiday.

 

I want to get back on that Pokemon gym in Calgary Airport, and find that Taurus in Canmore

I’m not the biggest Pokenerd I know (believe me, I know a lot, including my boyfriend) but I did just about manage to get a spot on a gym in Calgary Airport. It’s only the second gym I’ve ever got on (the first one is at my work, which of course all the staff love) and I feel it is my duty to improve and take the gym next time, even if it’s just for 10 seconds.

On the last morning we stayed in Canmore, my boyfriend spotted a Taurus and we didn’t quite manage to find it. We were hoping to return home with some new, exotic Pokemon but the Taurus eluded is – not next time, Taurus, not next time.

 

Why Canada is making me wish my life away and why you should go

Have you ever been anywhere that’s felt like home and you’ve longed to go back to?

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