Posted on April 5th, 2017
As a frequent weekend traveler, I’ve come to learn there are fun mini-trips, and there are epic ones. Our weekend to Lake Louise had the makings to fall squarely into the epic category. It was our first time in the Canadian Rockies, we were meeting two of our best friends who live across the country and whom we hadn’t seen since our wedding, the weather forecast looked promising, and we were staying at an awesome and historic hotel.
Lake Louise didn’t disappoint.
A late night flight to Calgary and a few hours snoozing in an airport hotel had us ready to roll with Taylor and Andrew at sunrise on Friday morning. We rented a car and started the 2.5(ish) hour drive into the mountains, stopping only for Tim Horton’s because that’s the Canadian way (#teamtimbits). Thanks to our early departure, we arrived at the Fairmont Chateau at 10am, and couldn’t wait to get out to play in the snow. A 7 mile snowy hike across the lake and on the paths around the hotel was the perfect way to commune with nature in a winter wonderland.
By the way, as much as I enjoyed every minute of our wintry weekend, I was struck by how much I do not under any circumstances actually want to live through a real Alberta winter. It was in the 30s and sunny, which was pleasant and totally lovely for what we wanted to do, but to imagine experiencing months of short days and daily temperatures 60 degrees below freezing sounds daunting. I’m not even sure I could handle a Lake Louise vacation in December!
After our walk, we had a late lunch overlooking the lake before Taylor and I treated ourselves to pedicures at the spa before we drove into the town of Banff, about 45 minutes away, for dinner. Fittingly, we had bison steaks at The Bison, catching up and sipping cocktails in their cozy upstairs space.
Saturday morning brought our long-awaited dogsledding adventure. Teams of 8 dogs pulled us over the meadows and through the woods for one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. Seeing the joy the dogs got from running and appreciating the beauty of the scenery was truly rejuvenating. The fact that the dogs just wanted snuggles at the end was a bonus!
The town of Banff, albeit a bit touristy, was charming, so we decided to explore on Saturday afternoon. I had one of my favorite meals (salad, gin, and french fries) at Park Distillery, and then we did a little shopping. Life hack: Lululemon prices are the same in Canadian dollars as they are in American, and the Canadian dollar is 75% of the USD, aka Lululemon 25% off. We took the scenic route home before dinner at the chateau’s Walliser Stube restaurant. Long, luxurious dinners with great food (black truffle fondue!) and best friends are my favorite way to spend an evening.
Andrew was our fearless chauffeur for the weekend, and braved the blizzard conditions to drive us back to Calgary for Sunday flights home. We flew back to Seattle feeling so fortunate to have the opportunity for adventuring, and particularly to have friends who will fly to another country to join us. We’re already planning next spring’s trip!