Travel Journal #9
Two weeks ago we were in the Canadian Rockies with snow and freezing temperatures, surrounded by mountains. Today we are back in the Caribbean, back home on Isla Cozumel… what a whirlwind! This is the story of how we went from the Canadian Rockies to the Caribbean.
It’s been just over a week since we got back to Mexico, and the last 21 days have been a whirlwind of travel and adventure. We haven’t been very active lately keeping up with content, but we have a great excuse; we were on vacation!
We had been apart for 4.5 months, and the anticipation of 2-weeks of adventure was overwhelming! The trip officially began Thursday at 9pm when Norma landed in Vancouver to reunite with Rob, and we spent the next two weeks exploring Vancouver, driving through British Columbia and exploring the Rocky Mountains in Alberta.
We drove 2600-km (over 1600-miles) in a short time and visited five different National Parks, including Jasper, Banff, Yoho, Glacier and Mount Revelstoke. We saw mountains, waterfalls and lots of wildlife. At one point, we were only 500-meters away from a Grizzly while we were hiking around Lake Louise, which we found out after the fact as we were walking away from the bear. It’s been a fun adventure, and we have lots of pictures and stories that we’re planning to share with everyone in the next few weeks.
The catalyst for this trip was a wedding (not ours). We had been invited to my cousin’s wedding in Revelstoke and we decided to add a few extra days of adventure before the actual wedding day, which is how we ended up driving around Canada for 9 days. We began by driving north-east through British Columbia, following the Thompson River north, along highway-5 through Wells Grey and Mount Robson Provincial Parks, where we crossed the border into Alberta and entered Jasper National Park. While we had planned for the cooler temperatures of the fall, we were instead thrown straight into winter.
We explored as much of Banff and Jasper National Parks that we could, spending a full day in Jasper before driving the Icefields Parkway, the world-famous highway 93 between Jasper and Lake Louise. This majestic road winds through the valleys of the Rocky Mountains, past some of the most spectacular mountains, glaciers and valleys you will ever see.
The first two days of our trip was quite cloudy, foggy and snowing on and off (so we didn’t see as much of Jasper as we had hoped), but on the third morning we woke up to blue skies. It was the perfect day! This was important because today we would be making the “3 and a half hour” drive along the Icefields Parkway. We were simply in awe of nature; it took us close to 9 hours with the multiple stops along the way for hikes, viewpoints, and pictures.
After a few days in Alberta, we sadly had to leave the Canadian Rockies, heading back west along Highway-1 towards British Columbia. On this glorious day, we drove through 4 national parks (Banff, Yoho, Glacier and Revelstoke) which was one of the most beautiful drives during our trip.
One issue with off-season travel, the arrivial of winter impacted our trip in a few ways. There were many roads that were closed and hikes that we were unable to do. Many of the higher altitude roads were closed for winter. We were very upset not to see the Meadows of Mount Revelstoke or Moraine Lake in Banff, but we had plenty of backup plans and filled in the gaps elsewhere when needed.
British Columbia was beautiful this time of year. Unlike Banff and Jasper, we were treated to the colours of fall once again. It was still a little bit cold but nothing like what we had just seen. There was snow on the mountains and in the high alpine passes, we still got to see a lot of oranges, yellows, and reds hanging off the trees throughout the province.
We visited Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, and it was nearly deserted of people. The snow-capped mountains reflecting off the water were incredible. We had a few days in Revelstoke to settle down and explore a little bit, and including one day at a wedding on the top of the Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Revelstoke is a beautiful town, without trying to hard to be too much. We really loved it and would definitely go back.
We drove back to Vancouver on Thanksgiving Monday and we were certainly thankful for everything we got to experience over the last few weeks. Instead of taking the faster route through Kamloops, we took a slight detour through Kelowna, deciding to stop for a quick wine tasting and some appetizers at the Quails Gate Winery. We got a bit more snow on our way to Merrit and had rain for most of our drive through the Fraser Valley. We stopped for dinner in Chilliwack to visit our friends Stacey and Andy and eventually got back to Greater Vancouver late in the evening.
Nothing beats a sunny day in Vancouver, and it was even more spectacular in the fall with the changing colours. It was warm, sunny and blue skies; the perfect Vancouver day. We had two days in the city before we had to leave, and it involved a lot of packing and errands to prepare for the move back to Mexico. We managed to find the perfect mix between work and pleasure and had lots of time to enjoy the city. We wandered around Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver in the sunshine watched the sunset over English Bay.
Wednesday – our last day in Canada – was spent packing and relaxing. We got most of the hard stuff done on Tuesday, so we got to relax a little. Our flight left at 5:45 am the next morning, so we wanted to have lots of time to pack and organize. We had dinner at home with the parents and the next morning the next phase of our travel adventure began!
As I mentioned, our flight left at 5:45 am, so we were awake at 2:45 and at the airport by 3:30 – Dad is a stickler for being on time, and he was the one who was nice enough to wake up early and drive us. We traveled many different forms of transportation on our long day; it begins with the ride to the airport and is followed by plane, bus, ferry and finally a taxi home. It was a long day, but at least our flight was direct. We were home in time for dinner!
We are finally settling in back at our home on Cozumel, our island home located off the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. We have lots of places we want to explore next; going back to some of our personal favourites like El Cielo and Punta Sur and new spots like the Mayan Ruins at San Gervasio and Isla de Passion that we haven’t explored yet. We are also enjoying some of the non-swimming beaches on the east side of Cozumel. We have started making some great lists to share our insider tips!
We have just started going through our pictures from the Rocky Mountains, and have lots of great pictures to share with you very soon, including our first story – The Canadian Rockies Road Trip – which we should be ready to share tomorrow! We have lots of exciting travel plans around the Yucatan Peninsula coming soon! So stay tuned for some great new content soon!