CANADA | MEXICO | UNITED STATES

CANADA

Canada, eh? Having traveled the Toronto area briefly for work we were excited to get to the other side of the wide country. For sixteen days, we  traveled the Western portion of Canada via motorhome. The bears were present, the mountains high and the beauty endless. We picked up our RV in Calgary and traveled a 2500km loop, ensuring we hit Banff, Jasper, and Wine Country. 

The summer months brought a lot of crowds to the popular destinations, but thankfully we were able to find remote hikes and quiet spots all throughout both Banff & Jasper National Parks. 

A few Recommended Hikes & Stops: 

  • The Iceline Trail Hike (YOHO National Park) : Passing only one other hiker, this 11 mile hike was serene! Apparently it gets pretty busy during weekends, but perhaps we lucked out with the longer distance and elevation gain deterring other tourists. It starts at the base of Takakkaw Falls, which plummets down 1,100 ft down stunning rock face. The hike goes through Alpine lined trails, and opens up across wide rocky paths. On a clear day the contrasting blue sky, gray rocks and deep green forrest create a colorful scene of natures beauty. There are endless photo opportunities demonstrating the vast landscapes. We found a nice stream and bridge to stop for lunch and continued our way back down the mountain side to the RV. Definitely recommended for a great full-day of exploration!

Johnston Canyon Hike: A simple afternoon hike revealing bright blue pools and of course a gigantic mountain backdrop. Crowded towards the beginning and end, but ideal for an afternoon you're not feeling anything too strenuous. 

Pyramid Lake: Paradise in a view. We pulled our RV off the road into a small pull off, allowing for a short stroll to the waters edge and unbelievable morning views. We loved this spot so much we stayed two whole nights reading our books and gawking at natures beauty!

Moraine Lake: Close to Lake Louise, Moraine lake had quaint trails surrounding it, but most visitors landed themselves on the shores for pristine photo opportunities. 

Lake Louise: The most photographed location in Western Canada, and after one afternoon there I have no doubts this fact is 100% accurate. The Lakes beauty is stunning, but I was slightly disappointed after ranking this at the TOP of my must see and do in Canada, here's why. Just steps after weaving your way through a crowded parking lot, you find yourself on the lakes dock. Red Canoes swarm the water for a ridiculous price, and to your right behold a massive five star resort commercializing such a beautiful place! Most of my disappointment comes after expecting Lake Louise to be hidden away, a reward for a uphill hike or lengthy walk. Having no idea it was such a 'resorty' spot, we decided to come back first thing the next morning, a plan that rewarded us well with empty docks, and clear skies. Definitely worth seeing, but one only needs a quick stop and be sure to go early, very early to avoid the selfie sticks and flocks of people. 

Wine Country, BC: Who knew? We sure didn't! British Columbia is swarming with small wineries producing limited quantities of flavorful (outstanding) vino. Our time was spent in the Okanagan Valley, which had over 100 wineries in it's small span. We found that many wineries closed before 5PM, so we had to be strategic about our visits! Not knowing about this before stumbling upon it, we realized that an entire trip could be planned surrounding this one focus! 

MEXICO

Cancún’s wide beaches with scattered palm trees and deep waters were a sight to see. A quick few days here allowed for a lot of soaking up many southern rays.

Cancun 2015

Cancun 2015

THE UNITED STATES

44/50 states explored. From 'sea to shining sea', the USA truly has a variety of landscapes covering everything from beaches, mountains, plains and concrete jungles. Growing up in the Midwest, I've been accustomed to beautiful wide open spaces, and straight rows of rotating crops. I frequented southern beaches, spent a few years on the East Coast and in my later years became aquatinted with the wonderful and wild west. My eyes were opened to mountains scraping the clouds and an outdoor world that left me wanting more! Such a beautiful country filled with a landscape of plentiful diversity! 

Chicago | Home for over five years!

Chicago | Home for over five years!