We will begin this story in Canmore, AB where we recently photographed an elopement. Though the elopement would only take a half day to photograph, we had booked a few days at the Silver Creek Lodge (a really nice, affordable dog friendly resort) in order to get to know this popular mountain town a little bit better. We started our first morning by meeting our clients at their favourite spot in town – Rocky Mountain Bagel Co. At the suggestion of my lovely client, I ordered the Maple Eggel – a maple flavoured bagel toasted with an egg and cheese combo in the middle. I wouldn’t have normally ordered the Maple Bagel, but damn am I happy I did! That became my “regular” order throughout our stay. Lucas had the Rosemary Parm Eggel with added Ham and he, too, was very impressed. We also were thrilled to see they had Oso Negro Coffee as a part of their wide selection of brewed coffees. Oso is not only delicious, but sentimental to us, as it’s roasted in Nelson, BC where my brother has lived for over a decade. All in all, we loved eating at the Rocky Mountain Bagel Co because of the chill vibes, friendly staff and unreal food and coffee. Can’t wait until we go back!
We brought our fur child Nelson with us, so we naturally explored the Dog Parks in the Canmore area. If you’ve been to a dog park, you know about the camaraderie amongst dog owners. Questions about the dog (“Which one is yours?”, “What kind of breed is that”, “How old is she?”) slowly transition into questions about the owner (“How long have you lived here?” “How do you like it?”). We met a few interesting residents with nothing but great things to say about Canmore. One of them was an author from Ireland, who moved to Canmore 14 years ago; the other, an owner of a local Cafe named in honour of his dog who passed on too young. The author told us about how Canmore inspires her work as a creative person, which I can totally understand. The entire town is surrounded by beautiful mountains and seemingly has nothing but happy residents in it. After chatting with the cafe owner, Brad, we decided to visit Black Dog Cafe for a couple of coffees (which we can never get enough of, apparently haha). Black Dog Cafe was really quiet at the time of our visit, and had really friendly staff as well. They also serve beer, wine and liquor (hello Baileys & Coffee) which is an added bonus!
We really enjoyed our time in Canmore, but felt an itch to continue on in our exploration. We decided to hit the highway (#1 –> #93 South) as it would be our first time driving together on the #93 South. The day had relatively bad visibility, so we couldn’t see all the beauty that this particular highway boasts. However, we did a few interesting stops where we were able to do a little bit of hiking! Stop #1 was at the trailhead of Boom Lake. We began the hike without checking the length (I know, total rookie move) and then got about 30 minutes into the hike and figured maybe we should turn around because we weren’t prepared at all with limited food and water. It turns out that it would have been a 3.5 hour hike round trip which we definitely could have completed with our supplies. We will have to do the full hike next time because the photos online of Boom Lake look incredible.
Stop #2 was at the Continental Divide: A place where the water flows either to the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic Ocean, depending on which way it melts. That fact to me was SHOCKING. How can the water flow all the way to the Atlantic Ocean from here? It’s nearly 3/4 of the way across our country! The sign that boasts that fact is old and chipped, which makes me wonder about the proud people that installed the sign in the first place. Every letter looks hand carved. So very cool and such a great, authentic representation of the Canadian Rockies.
Stop #3 was Marble Canyon: a short hike just off the highway. The canyon itself is so beautiful. Water erodes the rock as it melts and flows from the tops of surrounding mountains. This thought has always been so awe inspiring to me… that something as seemingly harmless as water, with enough persistence, can leave it’s mark on something as strong and steady as rock.
After all of this exploring, we were getting tired and hungry. We decided it would be best to head back to our cozy hotel room. This is the evening we decided it would be a great idea to spontaneously book a room in Jasper for one night. This would mean we would drive one of the Earth’s top rated drives, The Icefield’s Parkway, to get there.
The day started early. We decided that we would take Highway #1A to Lake Louise. We had been to Lake Louise but never in the winter. Luke proposed to me in June 2016 at Moraine Lake which is on the way to Lake Louise! On the drive up, we couldn’t help but notice a little hotel off the side of the road up, Deer Lodge, looking cute as ever. Winter makes this place look straight out of Hogwarts. So we thought we’d stop in and have some lunch and cappuccinos before our trek to Lake Louise.
All fuelled up, it was now time to drive up to Lake Louise and crush a hike up to the Lake Agnes Tea House (<– Click for more info!). The hike took us about 3 hours round trip and Nelson powered through the whole way, too! The tea house itself was closed for the season, but the hike itself was full of incredible views. I can only imagine how amazing it would be in the summer. But the best part about winter explorations is there are WAY less tourists. We had this whole place to ourselves which was so special.
Just after Lake Louise is the turn off for the Icefields Parkway– Highway #93 North: One of The Greatest Drives On Earth. No words can really explain the beauty of this highway. Regardless, you’re probably here for the pictures anyway. But I will say that it has a radiating peace about it, and that I totally understand why it’s the GOAT (greatest of all time) of roads.
You’ve gotta go here. Thanks for reading.
-Julia + Luke.