We stopped at the Banff sign on the way out to Lake Louise. It was the only time that there wasn't 100 people out there, so we hurried and got out and snapped some pics. I have no explanation as to why Sloane posed so sassy, she was very happy and cooperative throughout the whole morning, but I'm not mad about it.
We tried to start at Moraine Lake because that one fills up so quick, but we were already too late. I think it was only 8:30, but apparently people get there at like 6. They close the road to the lake once it's full and only let people in when people come down. They also don't let you sit and wait for someone to come down, so you have to have really good timing and be the only car there, it's not likely that you will be lucky enough to drive up. I was super bummed, but I was determined to find a way to get there. In the meantime we decided to enjoy Lake Louise.
Renting this canoe was also embarrassingly expensive. But I had researched it beforehand, so I wasn't surprised or mad. I was also 100% sure that I wanted to do it, so I hurried and paid before Nate could try and talk me out of it. The people at the rental were so nice and cute. They loved Sloane. When they handed her her life jacket, Sloane said, "thank you" and they were like, "did she just say thank you?? omg that is so cute". Later that day (like 5 or 6 hours later) we were walking back to our car and we heard a couple of girls say, "Hi Sloane!" and it was the girls from the canoe rental. I was impressed that they remembered her name and a little annoyed that Sloane was popular enough to have friends in Canada.
This lake is so insanely beautiful. It's so pretty you just can't really appreciate it. It's confusing.
I literally took pictures 90% of the ride. Nate rowed by himself nearly the whole time because I couldn't stop. I was switching between my phone and the real camera and between photos and videos and trying to capture the beauty of the surroundings (from both POV's and both sides of the lake) as well as the cuteness of Nate and Sloane. I was SO busy. And I had a lot of moneys worth to get out of it.
Before we got on the boat, the people laid out all the rules and made some weird threats that we talked about the whole ride. They said if you try and get out of your canoe, we will come and take your canoe away and you will have to walk all the way back to the rental house with your life jackets. They made it sound like walking with life jackets was really hard and that doing that with a toddler would be near impossible. I feel like saying the water was 2 degrees would have been a good enough threat. Even though we weren't scared of the consequences, we still didn't get out of the canoe. Although Sloane did hang over the edge for most of it and when we got off her hands were frozen.
Even though it's expensive, I would still recommend the canoe experience to anyone. It was so fun to be ON the lake and get away from all the tourists. It was even more breathtaking.
After that we went into the Fairmont hotel that overlooks the lake. We walked right on past the "Guests only" sign and acted like we were staying there. We found out that there was a shuttle that would take us to Moraine Lake, and then we found out that the shuttle would cost us $60 because we weren't hotel guests. Nate was like, "do you really want to spend $--- on lakes today? (adding in the canoe rental cost) and I said, " Yes, yes I do." I knew it was probably the only chance I would get to see Moraine and I thought it was worth it. So we hopped on the shuttle, the driver said we could pay him when we got to the lake so we went and sat down. When we got to the lake the driver had disappeared. I tried to find him but couldn't, so I figured we'd just pay on the return trip. But the driver on the return trip figured we had already paid and didn't make us pay on the way down. We thought, she must be waiting until we get back to the hotel, but when we got back we got off the bus and the driver was gone. So...we didn't pay. I didn't feel that bad about it because that is an outrageous price to pay for a 20 minutes bus ride. Wow. That was a long story about a free bus ride.
This. This is why I was willing to pay $60 to get to this lake.
The water is truly this blue. I don't understand it.
By this time in the day, Sloane was getting irritated. She was hungry and tired. We didn't anticipate being away from the car for so long so we had no snacks. Luckily there was a little cafe at the lake and we spent $30 on two sandwiches and a drink. (I don't know why I keep telling you the price of everything, I guess I have some weird repressed anger about it and this is how it's manifesting itself)
Anyway, we tried really hard to make her eat and she wouldn't. We wanted to leave so bad but we had to wait an hour and half until the next shuttle came. So it was time to try and get her to sleep. I had high hopes that maybe she was tired enough to just pass out if we held her still enough, but that was not exactly how it went down. She was a nightmare. She was screaming so loud and I felt really bad because there were so many people around. I thought if I could just get her to calm down and hold still she would surely fall asleep. I held her tight against my body and started walking around the lake, but she wasn't giving in and in fact she was getting more angry. Finally Nate took her into the parking lot and found a quiet ish little area and let her scream. She fought it for probably 45 minutes. It was the worst part of the trip. Nate and I were both so ornery. And I didn't want to just sit in this weird area for an hour while she slept, so I asked Nate if he cared if I left and he didn't. I walked back up to the top of the viewing area and sat by myself and tried to calm down and enjoy the insane beauty in front of me. It was a nice time to myself.
I walked around the lake for a minute and then realized it was time to go catch the shuttle. So I ran back to get Nate and (sleeping) Sloane and we got on the shuttle. Everyone on the shuttle was SHOUTING and some bus alarm was going off. Sloane woke right up and I almost lost it, "Do you people have any idea how hard it was to get this baby to sleep! She's only been asleep for 20 minutes! Shut your faces!" Luckily, our frantic "shhh"'s in her ear worked and she fell back asleep for the shuttle drive. It was not a great outing. Perhaps that's why we didn't have to pay, because that really did make me feel better about the whole experience. I would have been pretty upset if we paid all that money just to battle it out with a psycho sleep-hating baby. We got back, hung out for a minute and then hopped in the car and drove back into town.
DAY 3...or 4 I think.
We stuck around town and just explored the Banff village.
Starting at the crazy Fairmont Banff. This place was insanely cool. It super old and haunted and I loved reading the story of the ghost bride who died there on her wedding day.
I heard a lot of hype about this ice cream, and it lived up to it. It was delicious. We bought a one scoop cone for all of us to share and we couldn't even finish it. We aren't big ice cream people I guess.
I got one of these one night and thought it was alright, but nothing particularly special. But then the next day I woke up thinking about how bad I wanted another one. I went and got another one and acted like it was gold, taking pictures of it and savoring every bite. It was a quick change of heart. I really want another one now.
We had a little bit of extra time before getting on the plane, so we checked out a park in Calgary. It was a really cool park. I really appreciate that Canada has so many fun signs to take pictures with.
The plane ride back was les miserables. I thought Sloane would sleep for sure because we were all pretty exhausted from the trip, but she was wide awake the whole time and being insane. It was the longest 2 hour flight, and a pretty long drive home from the airport. She didn't fall asleep for a long time and then she only slept for a few minutes before waking up screaming and took another 10 minutes to calm down enough to go back to sleep.
Overall it was a great trip, and I have some really good memories with my little fam. I am making a little video of the trip and will share it when it's done.