Lovely, pricey, Lake Louise

Lake Louise is famous – and justifiably so – it is gorgeous. However, it is also totally overrun with tourists, so don’t expect much tranquility along with the wonderful scenery. We were lucky enough to stay there – not in the famous, huge Chateaux, but the rather homey lodge behind it. So we didn’t have to day trip. I’m still staggered by prices for canoeing on the lake – $105 (plus GST) for an hour on the lake, or $95 for 30 minutes! And just about every canoe was out on the first afternoon we arrived. Wow. But wow, what a place.

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View from the lodge
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Invermere

We drank local beer, watched the golfers heading out in their buggies and wondered if we could commandeer one, and got to see some northern lights.

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Local Arrowhead beer
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A taste of Canadian Germany
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Groovy moose sculpture, Invermere

More Waterton

We had three nights in Waterton NP. It’s a gorgeous location and even though we had some smoky days we had a great time going on a guided walk and canoeing on Cameron Lake. Some of the tracks were closed due to a bear having approached people at a camping area. From what we were told it’s usually humans that cause the problem, leaving food out so bears learn humans = food.

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State of the art alarm systems at the lodge
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Smoky view from Prince of Wales Hotel

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Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes is a gorgeous area where the praries and the Rocky Mountains meet. We visited in August 2017 and the air was smoky due to the bushfires, but there were still beautiful views to be had. In mid September, Waterton Lakes NP had its own fire that burnt out 38% of the park. The park is working hard to make areas safe again for wildlife and for visitors.

On our way into the park we checked out the Bison Paddock, where a herd is kept in a large enclosed space. Big enough for them to hide from the road that loops around the paddock. We did get a glimpse. Amazing to think that thousands roamed the Praries.

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Nelson – funky town

Nelson is a known both as a historic location and a bit of a hippy hangout. We liked it. En route we passed through the historic town of Greenwood, where the film Snow Falling on Cedars was filmed. Some of the film set facade is still standing in the main street.

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Barn, Okanagan Valley

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Cool historic main street of Greenwood
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Film set still standing from 1999 – time to move on, Greenwood!
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Nelson
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Nelson museum – the sturgeon canoe
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Market night, Nelson style

EC Manning Park

After a short stop in Vancouver to say farewell to friends, we headed up Highway 3 to our chosen destination for 3 nights, Manning Park. Most of the friendly staff were from Kalgoorlie, which was rather unexpected. Mornings we headed out early to see wildlife, and were not disappointed. Incredible mountain views – I would love to see it in winter.

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Cascade Lookout

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Yellow Bellied Marmot
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Heather Trail
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Cascadian Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
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Pika
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Lightning Lake

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Port Hardy to Nanaimo

After our fantastic Great Bear Lodge adventure we had another night in Port Hardy before driving to Nanaimo so we could catch the ferry from Vancouver Island back to the BC mainland. Nanaimo is famous for a rich creamy chocolaty slice with a sugar kick to boot you into next week. I recommend you try one. Fortuitously, the town also had a good local brewery, White Sails. We tried a couple of brews before eating and then heading home to get a good night’s sleep so we didn’t miss our early ferry departure. IMG_6499

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We did see an elk but I wasn’t quick enough to snap it. Also a bear running across the road. O adventure.
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Miracle Beach – somewhat different to your usual Aussie seaside view
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Nanaimo at dusk
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Understated food advertising at The White Spot restaurant – it was pretty good though…

 

Off pontoon

Our first mystery outing (*spoiler alert – look away now if you’re planning to go yourself) was a walk on the mainland. When you first arrive, rule number one is that you don’t go off the floating lodge unless you have a guide. On our walk we had Marlo and Sabine guiding us, with frequent calls of ‘Hey bear!’ to make sure there were no surprises. They also had bear spray on the hip. Both were really knowledgeable about bear behaviour and we were shown some cool places where bears hang out.

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Don’t leave the pontoon without a guide, ok?
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If you go down to the woods today…
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Summer scat – yes, they have been eating berries. Waiting for the salmon to arrive. 
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Stylish transport home