I'm Candace and I'm a destination wedding & portrait photographer based out of the Washington, D.C. area. Chances are you won't find me in the DMV for too long. Come and explore my corner of the world with me!
Ohh you guys. Brace yourselves because you are about to see some of the prettiest places I have ever seen with my own eyeballs! If you are late to the party, you can see Part I of our road trip HERE. It was our last two days in Banff before we would have to drive back to Calgary to catch our flight home. We drove past the Columbia Icefield as it was raining on our journey from Jasper to Banff, so we knew we were going to come back the next day to give it the love it fully deserved. It was about a 1.5-2 hour from from Golden back to the Columbia Icefield so it was a bit of a drive but it was worth it. The weather was still a bit iffy. Life from and on the Glacier changes so drastically. Winds coming off the glacier were high and can be EVEN worse than they were when we were at the base of the Athabasca run off. There is a road that allows you to drive right to the bottom of the moraine and hike up to the base of the glacier. You aren’t able to walk onto the glacier from here without a guide as the ice is very unpredictable. You can have ice caves, parts of melted ice that look like its frozen. Its VERY slippery. So its just not safe to do so without one. Hiking up the moraine was A HILL. haha. It was a big ass hill though worth the views. The clouds were coming over the glacier blocking some of our views but it gave it that other worldly, eerie feeling that I love. We spent a little bit of time here being the biggest goofs we could possibly be. I kept seeing the big ole Ice buses going up to and ON the glacier and I was super curious. I mean how often are you presented with an opportunity to go to and walk on a glacier? Never for me, so I was prepared to drop some money for this kind of experience. WORTH IT.
One thing I loved about seeing the Athabasca Glacier so up close and personal, seeing the different shades of blues and whites. Because of the wild fires, there was a lot more black in/on the ice than usual. The smoke would come down and leave residue on the ice. Usually you can drink directly from the stream of melted glacier ice on the glacier but with the amount of smoke on the ice, they didn’t recommend it. A lot of people would take a drink and spit it out. haha! They clearly don’t know how to listen to their tour guides. Also, one awesome part of standing on the tongue of the Athabasca, was seeing two other glaciers. We were standing on one glacier and had two other glaciers around us. All of them stem off of the Columbia Icefield. I believe our guide said that the Athabasca is a major player as it flows into 3 different oceans! The Pacific, Atlantic and the Arctic Oceans! Which is CRAZY to think about! Apart of the ticket to enjoy our 2 hour tour to the Glacier was the Skywalk. I remember when we drove by this and I laughed because I said NO WAY IN HELL. And then apparently Hell froze over because Kyle somehow got me to do it. I freaked out and panicked and stopped and wonder why people do things like this. Then I felt the Skywalk SHAKE AND SWAY and I was freaking out even more. Mind you, Im not even on the actual walk part of this thing yet. The guide there kept telling me its built to do that but I think its for the scare factor. After a few minutes of freaking out saying Im not gonna be able to do it. I walked SUPER fast all the way around. And was like woosh, I did it. Still cant believe I did it. Then I went back out a few times to talk to Kyle and to get proof that I took my ass out on something like this. Looking down is kind of over rated because the glass is so scratched from people walking the views are clear. It was still an awesome experience though so.
On our drive back to Golden after the glacier, we made a few pit stops. I wanted a field of wild flowers and though we never found any on our explorations, we drove past this same patch of beautiful purple flowers that were growing next to a construction site. Thankfully, with the right angle, you dont see the equipment or the main highway that was right behind me. Winning! After that quick that photo shoot for myself ( how self absorbed am I?) we made it to the Takakkaw Falls inside of Yoho National park. This place was stunning! It was a crazy windy drive to the base of the falls but it was a supy quick and easy hike to the falls. Be warmed, you will get wet and I highly recommend going to the bathroom before you get here. Almost didn’t make it!
This is Emerald lake. Im glad we got to see it while we could because we came back to this lake at 9 in the morning the day we were leaving and you couldn’t park. It was overRUN with cars and tour buses.
Now, we saved the best for last. We originally thought we wanted to do Banff first but I knew we would want to save the best for last – and be closer to the airport of course. We saved our last full day in Banff to enjoy the views of Lake Louise and Moraine lake. We got here SO EARLY. At least we thought we were early. We arrived around 9 in the morning and the parking lots at the lakes were full so we ended up having to take a shuttle to the lakes, which costs $15. It was FREEZING this morning. Thankfully once the sun burned off the clouds it warmed up but man I was really regretting not having my jacket with me. We decided to opt for Moraine lake first and we did that wrong. We should have gone to Lake Louise first. A few things about Lake Louise…. I have NEVER seen this many people in one place at the same time. You could hardly move around. So many bodies gathered. It was funny. Kyle and I laughed because there were a few hundered people crowded onto the one part of the lake taking pictures but all you had to do was walk a measly few feet and you were able to actually MOVE a little bit. The beauty of Lake Louise really just did NOT live up to the beauty of Moraine. Don’t get me wrong. Lake Louise is beautiful…. but when you spend your entire morning at Moraine lake, it just doesnt compare.
We got of the shuttle bus and saw the lake and I about died. IT WAS MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN I COULD HAVE EVER IMAGINED. We walked up to the overlook, found us a nice rock to post up on. Took some photos of each other and sat there. We wanted to wait for the clouds to burn off more so the sun could hit that water and really LIGHT IT UP. The water is so blue from the rock flour that comes from beneath the glaciers. Glaciers are constantly moving, melting, refreezing and grind the rock and dirt beneath. This rock flour flows into the lakes below and the rock flour is what gives the lakes in the area that magical blue water. It was UNREAL WHAT MY EYES WERE WITNESSING.
We then spent a ridiculous amount of money and rented a canoe and canoed our way through the lake. I won’t lie. I was freaking out! We had about 8 or 9k worth of equipment between us and these sketchy boats felt like they wanted to tip every move we made. Im sure Kyle got a kick out of watch me try to turn around the boat haha! The things we do. Seeing the 10 peaks fro that angle was other worldly. How can a place like this be real? GATORADDDEEEEE. I said that maybe once or twice looking at those blues!