1. Hiking in Glacier National Park
We absolutely fell in love with Glacier National Park. Each and every hike was unique and full of incredible views! We can't wait to return to this outdoor oasis and explore many more trails.
2. The Beautiful City and the Beautiful People of Canmore, Alberta
This quaint town sits just below Banff National Park and is probably one of the most scenic cities we have ever visited. It is literally surrounded by mountains with 360 degree views no matter where you are standing in the city.
We met an amazing wildlife photographer, Brandon Brown, at a market in Canmore (check out his work here). We started chatting with Brandon about his beautiful photos but he quickly became a savior! We were asking him where we could buy camera gear in Canmore since our brand new camera was delivered to us without a battery or battery charger.
With in 3 minutes of talking to Brandon he invited us to his home to give us an extra battery charger he had. What hospitality and kindness! We gladly took him up on the offer. Then he and his wife invited us in for dinner to hang out with a few of their friends from town. It was such a fun evening meeting genuinely good people, talking, and receiving tips on Canadian travels. Definitely shows you that kindness and selflessness still exist. Make sure to pay it forward because you can easily make someones day, just like Brandon did for us!
Additionally the city is loaded with bike paths. Both paved paths and mountain biking trails at the Nordic Center in town.
3. Camping and Meeting Inspiring People in Canmore, BC
We camped at a gorgeous campground just 25-minutes outside of town called Spray Lakes West. This campground sits on the route of the Great Divide Trail (GDT) where through bikers going from Banff to Mexico often stop.
One evening we met two very kind Canadians from Montreal who shared their Maple Whiskey with us around a campfire along with a French couple with their 10-month old baby biking from Banff to the border of Mexico on the Great Divide trail. Pretty incredible challenge to take on and truly inspiring!
The following night our camping neighbors were 2 gentlemen from Oregon that are biking the GDT as well. They were a lot of fun to talk to and they explained their mental aspect of through-biking. It's all about taking it slow and fully enjoying the process. It's not a race to them like it can be for others, they simply want to travel through beautiful parts of North America via bikes without a timeline attached. It definitely gets our minds wandering and thinking about a potential through-bike trip...maybe next summer :)
4. Driving the Icefields Parkway
Obviously exploring Banff and Jasper on their own are incredible, but driving from one to the other on the Icefields Parkway is easily one of the most scenic drives we have ever taken.
Even with clouds in the sky and limited visibility it was amazing! Stunning views around every turn. Whether it’s a massive mountain, a gnarly glacier, or crystal clear turquoise lakes and rivers, it is all spectacular. Also, there is high probability of crossing paths with a bear along the road. We ended up seeing 3 bears along this route.
5. Sleeping in a Walmart Parking lot
Ok, so this one isn’t really a favorite moment per sae but it is pretty neat! Not every Walmart allows for overnight parking/camping but a fair amount do and it’s great. If you are just driving through and need a spot to pull over and sleep it’s perfect. The ones we have been in so far are usually loaded with other campers and lots of RVs so you actually feel pretty save. The store is generally open 24 hours/day and you can use the bathroom whenever you need. Plus there is food on hand, especially if you get a sweet tooth craving and need a chocolate fix.
6. Seeing Mount Denali
We moved through Canada pretty quickly to get to Alaska due to poor weather. We had been stuck in constant rain and cloud coverage with minimal visilibty for about two weeks. There was a break in the rain storm for just 3-hours one morning and we drove out first thing in hopes to see Denali. There she was, in all her glory and massiveness!
We were so excited we were literally dancing when we pulled up! Apparently only about 33% of visitors to Denali ever actually get to see the peak since it is frequently covered by clouds.
7. Making Friends on the Road
We met another couple traveling through the USA and Canada in their Sprinter van. We first met them at a laundry facility in Fairbanks, then met up again in Denali, Anchorage, and Soldtana. One of the many great parts to making friends along the road is that you can combine ingredients and make some awesome meals! Sharing great conversation, hiking experiences, and travel ideas is also fun but food trumps all ; )
8. Endless Views of Mountains in Alaska
Sadly the weather in Alaska wasn't the best during our time there, but once the skies cleared you could start to appreciate the wild-side of this great state. On this hike to Hatcher Pass we could see for miles and miles of pure mountain madness. The peaks are jagged and gnarly. You have to see it for yourself to get a true understanding!
9. Spotting wildlife
We have lost count but in total we think we’ve seen about 23-25 bears, 7 moose, herds of mountain goats, a few big horn sheep, and various other mountain beasts. Seeing these magnificent animals out in the wild is incredible! We especially love getting to see the little babies!
We had a fabulous July and appreciate everything we got to do, the people we met, and memories we have made along the way.
Looking forward to the coming months of endless-travel!