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Day 15-Hot Springs

2 weeks into vacation today! Kids didn’t wake up until 9:30 this morning. …. Quite a change from the 5:30 that we started vacation with. I think they are getting the most out of the vacation so far.

It was our last day to hike in Banff, and we had trouble deciding between 3 hikes we wanted to do, but time won out and we picked the closest and shortest. We hiked up to Saddle Pass. It was a 7.4 km hike round trip but the elevation change was just under 600 meters. Just a straight hike up. Got a slow start, 5 days of hiking in a row has made all of us, especially the littlest legs, sore. The top was full of snow and the kids got soaked trying to sled down in their clothes. The view was of the town of Lake Louise instead of the actual lake, and wasn’t near as pretty as yesterday. From the pass we could have shot up to the peak another 400 meters in less than a mile (really steep), but we decided to head back down so we could take the kids into Banff for supper and a soak in the hot springs.

We headed into Banff for a perfect evening. We tried to go to a fancy Indian restaurant, but there was nothing the kids would have eaten, so we decided on the Old Spaghetti Factory. Fabulous food. One thing I have noticed is that servings are smaller up in Canada. First, I thought it was just a restaurant or two, but it has been consistent. Also the food seems more real, fresher. Hard to tell because we have been going to nicer restaurants, but Bryon has said that too. At the Old Spaghetti Factory I had a flat bread with caramelized onions, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, and fresh basil. Such rich flavor in all of it. It was luscious.

Vacation, for us, is a hunt for good hiking and good food. Really excited about finding some great restaurants on the coast. Hard to get good vegan food in Nebraska.

Yellowstone was the first national park in the world, was created to protect the geysers and Old Faithful. Banff was the first national park in Canada to protect the hot springs. So, for educational purposes, we had to make sure we soaked for a while… 2 hours to be exact. It was a huge pool, treated, and kept at 39C/102F. I feel like a new person. The kids loved it! It is all open air and it sprinkled rain a lot of the time that we soaked. The view of the mountains, with fog and several rainbows made for an awesome setting.

We are driving back from Banff now on the alternate route at sunset (almost 10pm) looking for wildlife. We have seen some elk already, and hopefully will get to see more before we get back to our campsite at Lake Louise.

Tomorrow, we leave Banff. It has been so nice up here. The area hasn’t been affected by wildfires or the beetle that has destroyed so much of the forests we have seen in the US. The climate is also interesting. It has rained hard 3 of the 4 nights we have been here so far, and it has rained everyday. Hiking, it goes from cold and rainy to hot and sunny in minutes several times during the day. We can never tell if we need our sweaters on or off. Hikers range from fully suited up for skiing with coats, hats, gloves to hikers with shorts and tang tops (or less)….. So obviously no once else can decide either. It is like a cold rainforest. Lush green moss covered ground on the lower areas, and huge bare sheets of rock at the tops.

Someday we will have to come back. There are so many more trails we would have loved to hike.


This is a view of the town of Lake Louise.