Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 2324: Banff

This is essentially a continuation of my previous post.

After Disney World, I returned to Milwaukee on a Sunday, only to leave on Wednesday (at 5:20am) for Calgary, Alberta, Canada! If any of you followed the news in the past two weeks, you will know that Alberta had floods and there were states of emergencies called throughout the province. My family and I arrived safely in Calgary (and then drove to Banff National Park) on Wednesday June 19, only to have flooding begin that night. We were then stuck in Banff for the duration of our trip. This was our itinerary. See our new itinerary in red.
  • Wednesday: Arrive in Calgary. Drive to Banff. We successfully completed this.
  • Thursday: Explore Banff, head to Lake Louise. Stay in Lake Louise. We had already checked out of our hotel when we were told all the highways out of Banff were closed. So, like many other visitors, we scrambled to find a hotel to sleep that night. We found one, luckily. We explored Banff more thoroughly. It has a small, cute, shop-filled downtown that spans about six blocks. As you can imagine, my sister and I were done with downtown by that evening, haha.
  • Friday: Drive on to Jasper and explore the Ice Fields. Sleep in Jasper. Another day in Banff. Our hotel has a fitness center, complete with an indoor track, so, what else was I going to do? I ran 50 laps on that tiny little track, which amounted to 5km or 3.2ish miles. Not bad, since I hadn't run in at least a week. The sun came out at 5pm and you better believe the family and I booked it to Lake Louise. It was truly a sight to see. Apparently, when you actually have sun, it doesn't set until 9:45pm! Crazy!
  • Saturday: Explore whatever we wanted (Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff). Return to the Calgary area. We found out that a bus was leaving Banff for Calgary. It was taking the long route (aka the only highways that were open and available to us), making a normally 75-mile journey in to a 475-mile journey. It was a 10+ hour bus ride, but we made it to Calgary!
  • Sunday: Hang out in Calgary until our late-afternoon/evening flights to the states. Downtown Calgary was closed indefinitely due to flooding. A lot of the city and the surrounding cities/towns were closed due to flooding and/or states of emergencies. So, we ended up staying in our hotel until it was time to check-in. Then, we all parted rather abruptly since we were all on separate flights (in separate terminals).
All in all, it was great to see my sister and have some bonding time with her. As you can imagine, the trip was an adventure to say the least. If anything, it reminded my mother and I what a bearer of disaster I am. Don't believe me? 1994: earthquake in Northridge, CA. 1998: typhoon in Taiwan. 2003: blackout while visiting colleges in New York/the East Coast. 2013: flooding in Alberta. I am just missing a hurricane and tornado. Don't worry, I have a lot more life to live to get those babies on my list. (No tsunamis for me, thank you.)

Pictures below:

Our first day in Banff. Should have foreseen the impending doom.

Met this chum at a yummy Canadian restaurant called Earl's.

A Canadian sheriff informing us that all highways out of Banff are closed.

The view from our new/second hotel in Banff.

Blue skies! Honestly. I can't imagine how even more beautiful
Banff would have been if it had been sunny on our trip.

The Fairmont Chateau at Lake Louise

Lake Louise

A black bear seen on our 10+ hour drive to Banff.

Followed by a family of mountain goats! So adorable!

The rain and flooding was so bad that mudslides, rockslides,
and rising rivers caused part of this bridge to collapse.

Can you see how high the water is?