Back to Reality
Hi friends! Remember me? I know I’ve been gone a long time, but this summer was just crazy busy. There’s no way that I’m going to be able to fill you in on all the details, but I can give you some highlights. This is actually harder than it sounds. You know in school how it is harder to summarize a long passage into a few sentences than it is just to retell the whole thing? That’s true here in real life, too! But, I will try, if only to prove to my kids that this is a skill worth learning and maintaining.
First off, we took an “mind blowing” trip to Jasper National Park in Canada. The words in quotes are not mine, they belong to my teenage son. I’ve tried to include a good selection of pictures below, but I’ll say what everybody says–that the pictures just don’t do the place any justice.
From our drive into Jasper until our last moment there, the place enchanted us with its amazing views.
There were gorges.
Views of glaciers.
Challenging hikes. (This picture in particular does not convey how difficult this part of the trail was to climb. See all the switchbacks? That means it was too steep to go down in a straight line. I’d guess it was at least a 45 degree incline.)
We even had a few triumphant moments.
And we had an amazing half hour on an actual glacier. (pro tip: It’s cold on a glacier. You should probably wear more than I did, which was basically shorts and a light jacket. A full length down jacket would be appropriate.)
Four days in Jasper was not enough to do everything we wanted to do there. We would go back in a heartbeat if we could. The only consolation we had in leaving was that we were moving on to Banff National Park, which was equally enchanting, but in a different, less wild kind of way.
In Banff, you never feel too far away from civilization. This picture is taken just a short walk from Banff town, which is quite a hub of activity.
In Banff, seeing the most popular views also means seeing some interesting hotels and sharing that experience with hundreds of other strangers. Still, there are moments where you can feel like you have the place to yourself, such as 7 am in the morning at the shores of Lake Louise.
One of the most charming things about Banff is that there are several trails that have teahouses on them. So you don’t even have to bring your lunch!
This makes up for the crowds of people that you have to share your incredible views with.
Ok, maybe crowds is a bit of an exaggeration here. But, there were a lot more people on the trails in Banff than Jasper.
One interesting thing we saw in Banff was an ice cave.
Another nice thing about being closer to civilization is eating incredible ice cream.
We sadly only really had two days in Banff before we had to move on to a place that felt more like home, but was no less amazing because of that. If I could only go to one national park for the rest of my life, it would probably be Glacier National Park in Montana.
Even though we had been there 4 years before, there was no shortage of new things to see. Some things we had seen before looked new and different. The view of the mountain next to our campsite glowed red with the sunrise when I got up one morning.
The Highline trail gave us incredible views, albeit a bit smoky/hazy.
We saw waterfalls we had not noticed before, even though we passed right by them on the road.
Here, in Glacier, we also had more wildlife encounters, like this moose having her lunch right next to the trail.
Some places, we visited again and loved them just as much as we did before, maybe even more for having seen it twice.
When it was time to leave Glacier, we left with mixed feelings. We were tired of camping and a little footsore. Ten straight days of camping without any campfires (There was a fire ban. There had been very little rain in the Rockies over the summer.) was probably one or two days too long for us. There’s only so much you can do to make an airbed more comfortable. But, I was loathe to leave the mountains behind.
However, there was more adventure ahead as we had planned to end our trip with a couple of days in Seattle. In Seattle, we all got to see something that interested us.
My younger one wanted to go to the Boeing museum.
And my older one wanted to go to the Smith Tower and see the old fashioned elevator.
The husband got some great food.
And I got to go to the amazing Chihuly Glass Gallery.
If it looks like an awesome trip in the photos, it was exponentially more awesome to be there in person. It was actually a lot harder to pick which pictures to include here than it was to write this paragraph. This is partly because, between the four of us, we took over two thousand pictures! I’m glad we have those pictures, though, because you never know if we’ll ever go back to those amazing places. The pictures will help us remember them and I hope you enjoyed them as well!
Now, we’re more or less back into the swing of things at home with school and work and life. I’ll be back soon with some details on some fun things I’ve been working on. How was your summer?