Banff, Alberta

I had never spent more than a couple of hours in Canada before this trip. I had gone over the border a couple of times, just long enough to grab a few foreign coins and think I was funny to order Canadian bacon on my pizza. But we were looking for a winter adventure and as you know, Winter Adventure is Canada's middle name. So we packed our bags for the Great White North! 

1. Banff: The place where 2 out of 3 people are carrying skis, and 3 out of 3 people look more legit in their outerwear than you do.

I absolutely LOVE this town. From the moment you drive in and see the gorgeous view down Banff Ave., you can't help but love it. The people are unreasonably kind and everything looks like it should be on the front of an outdoor magazine. The views aren't too shabby either.

This was the little bed & breakfast that was home base during our stay in Banff. Big fan. Delicious breakfast and amazing hospitality.

This was the little bed & breakfast that was home base during our stay in Banff. Big fan. Delicious breakfast and amazing hospitality.

Whitebark Cafe - one of my favorite spots in Banff! I don't want to brag but we're super good at leisure. So coffee shops are right up our alley.

Whitebark Cafe - one of my favorite spots in Banff! I don't want to brag but we're super good at leisure. So coffee shops are right up our alley.

Aaron was deeply engrossed in his book about Abraham Lincoln during the whole trip.

Aaron was deeply engrossed in his book about Abraham Lincoln during the whole trip.

I, on the other hand, was enjoying more sophisticated and thought-provoking literature. AKA the musings of Amy Poehler :)

I, on the other hand, was enjoying more sophisticated and thought-provoking literature. AKA the musings of Amy Poehler :)

2. Lake Minnewanka: we took our trusty rental Buick out for a scenic drive and stumbled upon beautiful Lake Minnewanka. And by lake, I mean flat field of snow. We didn't totally realize that all the beautiful aqua lakes we'd seen pictures of were frozen over and covered in snow. So we accidentally missed most of them....oops. Canada, we'll be back in the summer.

Lots of wind. Alllll the time.

Lots of wind. Alllll the time.

He boldly walks over the frozen lake as I cautiously shuffle along. I'm great at thinking of all the creative ways one can die while on a winter adventure.

He boldly walks over the frozen lake as I cautiously shuffle along. I'm great at thinking of all the creative ways one can die while on a winter adventure.

3. The Icefields Parkway: hello, gorgeous. I don't even have the words to describe this place. The Icefields Parkway is the road between Banff National Park and Jasper National Park and it is supposed to be one of the most beautiful drives in the world. It's risky business driving this thing in a little Buick with no snow tires....in avalanche country....with not another soul for kilometers. So of course that's what we did.

I'm happiest when in the snow :)

I'm happiest when in the snow :)

4. Athabasca Glacier: hands down one of the coolest things I've ever seen. I knew there was an ice cave inside the glacier somewhere so we put our spikes on and set out to find it. The hike to the cave included multiple falls through waist-deep snow and 360 degree views of wild beauty the entire time. Holy cow.

We found the cave!

We found the cave!

This is me contemplating how in the world I will get back down from this ledge without sliding down into a glacial abyss...

This is me contemplating how in the world I will get back down from this ledge without sliding down into a glacial abyss...

This is Aaron realizing there is a very deep gap in the glacier right along this blue wall of ice....while I simultaneously hear cracking on the ice I'm standing on... *insert freak out here* (spoiler: we get out alive)

This is Aaron realizing there is a very deep gap in the glacier right along this blue wall of ice....while I simultaneously hear cracking on the ice I'm standing on... *insert freak out here*

(spoiler: we get out alive)

BOILER UP!

BOILER UP!

5. Johnston Canyon: waterfalls that were - you guessed it - frozen! :)

Some crazies climbing the waterfalls!

Some crazies climbing the waterfalls!

6. Lake Louise: this place is absolutely dreamy. It's so beautiful and peaceful and feels like you're a million miles away from everything. Walking on the lake and right up to the mountains was pretty amazing.

This was his favorite place :)

This was his favorite place :)

There was an ice castle!

There was an ice castle!

I was super sad to leave Canada and can't wait to come back! I love the sweet people, delicious chocolate, gorgeous mountains everywhere, glaciers and blue ice. Next stop on our Winter Adventure - Jackson Hole! To be continued...

I was super sad to leave Canada and can't wait to come back! I love the sweet people, delicious chocolate, gorgeous mountains everywhere, glaciers and blue ice. Next stop on our Winter Adventure - Jackson Hole! To be continued...