Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada to Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Miles traveled: 253
Total miles traveled: 563
Cranbrook was a beautiful little town. The views of the Canadian Rockies from the town were incredible. Unfortunately because we were on a timeline we didn't really spend much time in the town. There was a rail museum that would have been really interesting to visit but we just didn't have time to take a real sightseeing trip. We didn't even make it off of the main strip of town.
While in Cranbrook we discovered two things: Tim Hortons and The Real Canadian Superstore. I'd heard of Tim Hortons and knew immediately we would be stopping there for breakfast the next morning. They did not disappoint. Oh my goodness the doughnuts were delicious! I think we ate most every breakfast in Canada at Tim Hortons.
The Real Canadian Superstore was a find out of necessity. We had forgotten our night light back in our hotel in Spokane. Going back for it wasn't an option so we went out in search of a store that may have one. Imagine Walmart mixed with Fred Meyer and you have something similar to The Real Canadian Superstore. They had everything, including things I'd never heard of like Bologna with Macaroni and Cheese in it. Sounds terrible to me but Jonathan LOVED it. He's super bummed that we can't find it anywhere in the states.
Leaving Cranbrook we had several options as to which direction we wanted to go. There was the direct route or the route that would take us through Banff. Since we were trying to see some of the sights we took the longer route that took us through Banff. We were not disappointed, the sights were AMAZING!
Not too far outside Cranbrook is the Kootenay River. The river is a beautiful blue-green color because of copper deposits in the water. I've never seen water so beautiful in my life.
We stopped along the Kootenay River and skipped stones and threw rocks in the water for quite a while. It was a nice opportunity for Jonathan and Jason to be boys and play, especially since we still had a lot of driving a head of us.
The next cool thing we found was Columbia Lake. Living in the Pacific North West we were very familiar with the Columbia River. Dan grew up in Portland with the Columbia at his doorstep. Half of the drive from Pullman to Portland is through the Columbia River Gorge and right along the Columbia River. On our honeymoon we visited Astoria, Oregon and saw where the Columbia River empties into the Pacific Ocean. We had no idea that this trip would take us by the headwaters of the Columbia River. It was really neat to stop and see the headwaters of such a major waterway.
The road to Calgary also took us through Kootenay National Park. Since we were driving though on our way to Calgary we didn't have to pay the park use fee and were able to enjoy most of the sights free of charge. The views were amazing: stunning vistas, beautiful bodies of water and impressive mountians. It was seriously more than one can take in on a drive through. I can certainly see why people pay to stay in the park. One thing that mom remembered from her drive to Alaska was Lake Louise and she wanted to show that to us. Unfortunately because we hadn't paid we couldn't go up to the lake, plus it would have added over an hour to an already long drive. So, sadly, we had to miss that but we saw lots of other great views along the way.
The road into the park was cut through the mountain side so we were actually driving between a mountain. It was really neat. The boys, especially Jonathan, thought it was super cool.
There were also many beautiful wildflowers throughout the park.
And you can't forget the mountains. The peaks were so close it felt like I could touch them from the car. So impressive. I don't know what the bird in the photo is. I'm sure I knew then but its been a year.
Somewhere in Kootenay Park we crossed into Alberta. Clearly I had no idea that was coming or I might have been more prepared for the picture. Oh well!
Just outside Banff, where we stopped to play tourist and eat, we saw these wild mountain goats. Both boys were really excited to see wild animals crossing the road.
Banff was beautiful. There we shops and restaurants everywhere. And of course since its a major tourist destination there were also people everywhere. I didn't get any pictures because I was so busy trying to keep track of the kids. I do remember downstairs in the mall there was a display showing how skis have changed over the years. I found that very interesting.
I did get one picture of the Banff area on our way out of town. What a beautiful place! The rest of our drive to Calgary was equivalently beautiful. I spent most of the trip in absolute awe of the beauty of the Canadian Rockies.What a beautiful country!