Golden, Jasper, and Banff Canadian Rockies Trip

If you've been following along here for any length of time, you'll probably have noticed that we're kind of obsessed with the Canadian Rockies. And unsurprisingly, because they're pretty much the best.

We stayed in the very cozy town of Golden BC, which was pretty quiet since it was shoulder season between skiing and hiking there. We had a wonderful time staying in a gorgeous cabin, enjoying the wonderful restaurants, and wandering around the winter wonderland that is the Canadian Rockies. We hit the Banff, Jasper, Kootenai, and Glacier National Parks on this trip (we were hoping to sneak Revelstoke in there too, but we'll have to come back for that another time!). Despite the pretty snowy, drizzly weather, and a lot of closed roads and trails, we had an amazing time and we'd highly recommend exploring there in the fall & winter! It's so much more quiet, and there's still so much to do.

Then, we drove out to Banff National Park to meet up with the wonderful Afton and Liam of Film & Forest Photo to have our own photos taken!! After a blizzard pretty much obstructed our first choice trail, we drove 30 minutes over the mountain pass into Banff National Park, where weirdly, the weather was totally calm. We ended up on a super lovely, short hike to a gorgeous lake, where we were the only ones there, and we ended our shoot with a short canoe ride! We didn't plan for this, but apparently Canada is a pretty rad, magical place, and it's something of a common outdoor ettiquette to have almost like a public-use canoe that people leave at lakes year round for other hikers and backpackers to borrow (so sweet, you rock Canada). So we took out this old, kinda leaky canoe out over the water for the last few minutes of our shoot, during which I was kinda terrified in being a unfamiliar, slightly suspect canoe on a super deep, practically frozen lake. Meanwhile, Devon was having *the time of his life*, because he actually knows how to paddle a canoe pretty well, and he adores the water. (Fun fact: we went kayaking in the Strait of Juan de Fuca for our honeymoon, and I am a horrible rowing partner. My abysmal lack of rhythm extends to more than just bad dance moves, apparently)

It was a really great day, and we were so grateful to Afton and Liam for being such wonderful guides and really knowing the area super well. There's so much that a local photographer brings to the table that a photographer from out of town, who is just flying or visiting for your shoot can't match. There is a skill that goes into to really knowing a place. It takes years to hike all around, be familiar with the weather patterns, find hidden gems, and really understand the spirit of a place, and Afton and Liam are an amazing example of that.

The next day, despite some gnarly snowstorms, we managed to get up most of the way to Jasper! We snuck in right after sunrise, in a patch of clear, beautiful crisp morning weather before it all got insanely snowy and we turned back south towards town. On our way back towards Golden, we made a short detour to stop at Emerald Lake, since the weather was finally clear and we could actually see the lake. It was every single bit as stunning as I hoped it would be, with about 1/100th of the insane crowds of Lake Louise.

On the last day of our trip, we took a different route home so we could hike around Stanley Glacier, in Kootenai National Park. It's a gorgeous, though pretty long and steep hike up to Stanley Glacier. We got almost completely to the end of the trail before the avalanche shutes on the sides of the valley started looking a little too gnarly for my liking, so we turned back about a half mile short of the actual tongue of the glacier itself, but we both really want to come back and finish the hike!

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