Monday, October 1, 2012

A Family Trip - Banff, Calgary, Jasper

We took our first family trip this past weekend. As in our first time going somewhere, just our family -- not visiting other family. I think we actually took a family trip 3 years ago down to Pasadena while Chris was at a conference, but Gwen wasn't there and Chris was at a conference so... I'm not counting it.

We drove down to Banff/Canmore/Calgary. Our main reason for doing this was to attend the Calgary Temple Open House.  Its not very often that an LDS Temple is open to the public, so we were excited for our kids to get a chance to see inside a temple! I don't know how much Charlie will remember, Gwen, not at all, I'm pretty sure, but I bet Alec will remember it quite well. He was excited for days and asked ALLLL day long on Saturday, "can we go to the temple yet??" Pretty cool to be inside as a whole family.

I didn't get any pictures since we arrived barely on time and it was dark when we were done, so I'm borrowing this one from the Calgary Sun.

We drove down on a Friday to Canmore (just outside of Banff National Park) and played in the hotel's pool and got to bed kinda late. Little Gweny was SO excited to be sleeping in the same room as everyone and tied Alec at falling asleep last around 10:00. I read stories from The Friend on my iphone for over an hour and made Chris go get me some ice cream super late to soothe my throat and enjoy the kids being asleep. The next day we were pretty tired, but we had LOTS we wanted to see in Banff.

We saw the Banff Springs Hotel. I had no idea it was so HUGE! It looked like a castle.  In talking with my mom later,  I found out that Banff was one of my Grandpa Hardy's favorite spots and once he and grandma stayed in that nice hotel for a tax conference, and my mom (the oldest at home at 17) stayed with the younger kids, camping in their trailer nearby. One of my Grandpa's colleagues found out his family was musical and in Banff too, so he arranged for them all to sing in the conference center. 

Someday I'd like to go back and stay there with Chris and play the golf course they have. Its been a while since Chris played golf due to his back, and he hit an imaginary drive off one of the tees. Apparently, it was a nice little draw and he wished I could've seen it. 

Always looking for ways to kill two birds with one stone, I decided if we wore nice clothes while we were exploring Banff we might have lots of chances to take family pictures.  It really seemed like a good idea before hand, but it might have driven Chris a bit crazy with me always insisting on a family picture in every "this is pretty!" spot.  I'll number them and you can help us decide on the BEST one. 

The kids love to skip rocks. Everywhere we walked all three of them are bending over every couple of minutes to pick up "the best skipping rock ever."
After walking around the Banff Springs Hotel, golf course and Bow Falls we took a ride in the gondola.

 Pretty awesome view out the window.

 We walked out on the boardwalk for a kilometer or so even though it was a bit cold and windy.  Charlie was ready to go back so Chris returned with him to the upper terminal while Alec, Gwen and I took the rest of the steps up to the historic Meteorological Station.

With tired kids we took a the scenic drive out to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. By then it was drizzling so our stop was pretty short. Besides, we had to get back to the Hotel to grab a quick dinner before driving out to Calgary to see the Temple!


I had fun taking pictures of the kids while they, surprise surprise, threw rocks and sticks into the lake.

 Super man Charlie kept trying to throw in things he could barely lift.


The next day we attended church with the cute Banff Branch in the morning and then headed for home the long way. The really really long way. Instead of driving the 4.5 hours by Calgary, we thought it would be fun to drive 8 hours on the Columbia Icefield Parkway that Chris biked earlier in the summer, up to Jasper and then out to Edmonton, stopping along the way at places we didn't get to see in July.....This is where we maybe didn't think thoroughly about the effect all this driving and stopping would have on 3 active young kids.
 Peyto Lake

Johnston's Canyon - We forgot our camera, hiking backpack and stroller but had Chris' phone for this one: 


 Around bedtime on Sunday we stopped at our last place, Sunwapta Falls.  After feeling like we'd just been nagging the kids all day we were in need of some sweet family fun and I would've never thought it could happen during yet another family photo. But it did. We set the camera on the hood of our car and let loose.
 So yeah, it was a crazy weekend. It felt more like 3 days of travel than 3 days of holiday. Kids were tough getting to bed and full of energy in some really beautiful but potentially dangerous and therefore stressful places.  I actually counted to 500 to get Alec and Charlie to fall asleep in the car. It was full of frustrations, whining, yelling, car food, seat kicking, water spilling, eeny-miney-mo singing, sibling fighting, and on-the-spot planning.....but it sure was pretty. 

What were your favorite family pictures?  I like Alec's expression in #20, Gwen's in #8 and Charlie's in #12. And if you really read this monster of a post all the way through - you get a prize.


Natania and Brady said...

You have the most beautiful family; you all are glowing in every one of these pictures. Why do you have to choose just one?

dixie said...

What great pictures! I love them all. Especially the sequence at the end. And the scenery is just gorgeous! so glad you all survived.

Shelly Beth said...

1, 4, 23, 26 are my favortie. I stayed in the Banff Springs Hotel when I was in eighth grade. My parents were part of a travel agency my grandpa owned and one of their regular trips was there. My grandparents stayed in one of the suites and it was awesome. I remember there was a story about a bride who fell down the stairs in the hotel and died and haunted the "castle." I thought that saw so neat. Anyways, I learned how to skii in Banff, too. I hope you guys get to go again just the two of you sometime but it looks like you guys had a great first family vacation! Love the pictures!

brittany said...

so fun and beautiful. Way to go!

Katie B. said...

Yeah, some gorgeous scenery. I liked 1, 6, and 16! And what's my prize?

MandaMommy said...

1, 2, 9, 10 are my favorites. Where's my prize for reading the whole thing? :) You guys are awesome! I love how real your posts are.