This Infernal Racket | my life, after cancer

A Toronto-based lifestyle blog by a 2x cancer survivor

keep reading

Destination: Alberta

If you already follow me on Instagram, you'll know that for my birthday this year, I finally got to go on one of my dream trips to see Alberta! I had THE BEST time, and it really made me appreciate living in Canada and being exposed to an abundance of beautiful nature.

This blog post will cover touchpoints and spots to visit if you or someone you know is looking for Alberta travel ideas. PS: Don't forget to watch my Alberta travel vlog!

Explore Canmore Kananaskis

Canmore was the first stop on my list. It's a small town about 1.5 hours from the Calgary Airport and the perfect spot to start your rocky mountain exploration. I stayed at the Silver Creek lodge and it was fantastic. The service was good and the in-house restaurant was gluten-free Japanese cuisine. The lodge is minutes from the main street and budding community. From Canmore, I had easy access to drive to trails, parks and walking paths; overall it's a great first stop on your road trip.

There are a lot of tourist opportunities but I prefer to figure out my own itinerary. I use an app called AllTrails and it's great for discovering where to go and what to see. It offers reviews from fellow explorers as well as ratings and seasonal closures/maintenance. It's a must-have for anyone searching for nomadic adventures.

Downtown Canmore is bordered by the Bow River. The river is an emerald-green, fast-paced river with stunning views of Mount Rundle, an old railroad bridge, and the famous Three Sisters Mountain Range. The main loop only takes 25 minutes but can be extended if you choose. You can access it from town by walking or driving to one of the entrances.

Downtown Canmore offered many eateries, cafes and boutique shops and the residential parts of town were intertwined so it really created a homely feel. I really enjoyed the simple pleasure of walking through the town and finding little hiking/walking trails throughout the city. You are surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains and the sun really warms up the cooler April air. From Canmore, I did a day trip to Banff which I will cover next!

Where I stayed: Silver Creek Lodge

Trails: Bow River Loop / Grassi Lakes Trail / Tree Sisters Viewpoint / Policemans Creek Trail

Food: Graze Food & Drink / Canary Coffee / Wild Orchid 

Day trip to Banff National Park 

From Canmore, the drive to Banff was about 1.5 hours and offered stunning views of the mountains and local wildlife. You MUST follow the speed signs, the police are very strict and will pull you over if you go over the suggested speed limits, especially in the parks. Parking is affordable and before venturing on a hike, I stopped in town for a quick walk-through and to rent some bear spray. The town has a beautiful lodge/western movie vibe going on. Banff is much more touristy than Canmore so be prepared for more people. 

Originally, I had wanted to hike Lake Moraine but according to AllTrails, it was closed for maintenance. There are so many trails and lakes to see you really can't go wrong with any choice. I decided on Lake Minnewanka. Make sure to rent some bear spray for your hikes, it works on any animal that might be getting a little too close for comfort. ALSO if you are travelling during winter/spring it is a good idea to rent some walking sticks or ice picks for the bottom of your shoes. The trails are still icy and I struggled at Lake Minnewanka and only made it about 1/4 of the hike up due to the steep incline and icy paths. 

If you are looking for more touristy spots then make sure to hit Lake Louise and Lake Moraine! Lake Louise was frozen in April but during the summer months, it's stunning.

After your hike, stop in the beautiful town of Banff for something to eat and drink. Downtown Banff is super cute, almost like a ski village, and of course, surrounded by the mountains. There is a gondola in Banff that is stunning, however, I decided to skip it and wait until I got to Jasper. I have heard good things about the Banff tram but it does get busy so buy tickets ahead of time!

Trails: Lake Minnewanka Lake Trail / Two Jack Lake Trail  / Lake Agnes Trail / Shadow Lake  

Find adventure in Jasper National Park

The majority of the drive from Banff to Jasper occurs along the Icefields Parkway. The Icefields Parkway is a 232 km stretch of double-lane highway taking you along the Continental Divide and through the Rocky Mountains. It is absolutely stunning. During the drive, the weather seemed to change every 10 minutes from snow to sun to blizzard to fog. You’ll see mountains and glaciers rise dramatically overhead while wildlife roams freely. TAKE YOUR TIME DRIVING. Do not rush, this is a minimum 3.5-hour drive and full of things to see and places to pull over for stunning views. I also ended up going into British Columbia on a little detour, just for some fun.

Downtown Jasper is a tiny little gem situated in the bowl of spectacular mountain ranges that tower over and create a snowglobe feeling. I noticed a lot of LGBTQ+ flags and signs in town, which I was happy to see. The city is very small but has many chain and individual restaurants and cute little souvenir shops. Much smaller and more rustic than Banff, and that is how I like it. 

I booked a ride on the Jasper Sky Tram and did the formidable hike up to Whistler's Peak. It was freezing cold and I was underdressed but still had fun and the views were *chef's kiss*. Take your time, altitude sickness is a real thing and did affect me but it doesn't last too long. Obviously in the summer, you do not need to dress in as many layers haha.

Another hike that I recommend is the Old Fort Point trail summit which takes you up the side of a smaller mountain. It is not an easy trail but the panoramic views at the top make it worth the steep rugged incline. There was a small herd of mountain sheep at the top, and I got some great shots on my FujiFilm. 

There are not a lot of options for places to stay in Jasper, everything is either a motel or an inn. Tourists who venture to Jasper are there for the outdoors, so the importance of hotels is pretty low on the list. I enjoyed my stay at Mount Robson Inn it included breakfast and an outdoor hot tub with mountain views.

I would say I saw the most wildlife on the way to Jasper and in Jasper National Park. The animals are very comfortable around people and you can see a lot of them strolling through people's yards on actually in town. Luckily I was also able to see two bears in Jasper which was amazing :)

Where I stayed: Mount Robson Inn

Trails: Whistler's Peak, Jasper Sky Train / Old Fort Point Trail / Maligne Canyon Loop / Valley of the Five Lakes

An evening in Calgary

After a long road trip through the parks, there and back again, I stayed in Calgary on my final day in Alberta. I have a good friend who lives in the city and really wanted to meet up with him to get a personal tour and catch up! Blair and Ashley met me downtown and we rented scooters to explore the city. Calgary is very small and the buildings are short too! It was a nice change from the towering skyscrapers of Toronto. We scooted through the city and through a super hipster area that reminded me of Kensington Market. The river was beautiful and we got some food before closing up the evening. 

Unfortunately, I didn't get to explore the city too much as my flight was leaving the next day, but I did snag some EPIC breakfast at OEB and I would 10000% recommend you check it out. I also got the chance to walk back through the hipster district and picked up some great tea and some snacks at the local cafes. 

I stayed at a beautiful hotel, The Westley, and would recommend it. Great design and room and VERY comfortable bed + walk-in shower.

Where I stayed: The Westley Hotel

Food: OEB

I had a fantastic time in Alberta and hope to be back soon. I checked it off the bucket list but it's somewhere I could see myself visiting again and again. I felt very grounded and calm while adventuring, and that doesn't happen to me often. There is something to be said about the beauty and stillness you feel when you're up on top of a mountain and looking down and around at your surroundings. It is a good feeling and slightly addicting. 

Drop me a comment if you have been or are going to Alberta :) Enjoy the adventure! 


Form for the Contact Page