I had the joy of not just travelling to but living in many beautiful places in my life. The coast of Florida. The beaches of the Bahamas. The smoky mountains of North Carolina. The ski slopes of Colorado. The majestic coast of Alaska.
The rugged mountains. The pristine hiking trails. The striking vegetation. But what took my breath away were the lakes—Lake Louise, Lake Peyto, Lake Bow, Lake Moraine, and many others whose turquoise blue waters took on an otherworldly quality.
One of the members of the film crew, Justin Wylie, took some of the B-roll (the background scenery) and put together some glimpses of the area with light background music. Even if you only watch a minute or two, you’ll get a glimpse of God’s incredible creation, and a taste of what to expect when the Bible Study release January 7.
Here are 9 things to know before you go to Lake Louise, Banff, or the Canadian Rockies:
1. Bring Your Best Camera. Why? Simply watch the video above to catch a glimpse. Photo-aficionados will want to be ready to snap breathtaking pics during dawn and dusk when the light softens and becomes even more stellar.
2. Don’t Assume Your Hotel Has Air Conditioning—Even If It’s Five Stars. Call ahead and find out. Just because you’re in the Canadian Rockies in the summer, doesn’t mean it stays cool. Your hotel room can easily heat up past 80 degrees in July, August, and September—which means you’ll need to keep your windows open at night to cool down. Plan on hearing every noise outside—traffic, tourists, and more. All. Night. The noisiest and most persistent are the train whistles. End up with a room without air conditioning and need to leave your windows open, plan on waking up 6-8 times per night due to noise.
3. Eat at the Saltlik. TripAdvisor has surprisingly few reviews for the restaurants around Banff—making some restaurants appear higher ranking than they really should be. One tasty restaurant we discovered was the Saltlik. Located within a block of the main strip in Banff, the restaurant offers more formal dining with steaks and ribs upstairs and more casual dining with salads and sandwiches downstairs. Everything we ate at the Saltlik was delicious. When we return to Banff, we plan to eat there everyday.
4. Check Exchange Rates. The US dollar isn’t what it used to be (anywhere) so if you’re travelling from the United States—or wherever—check exchange rates. Nearly every place takes credit cards, so you probably don’t need to exchange money (other than for parking meters and tipping, the latter can be done in dollars). And make sure the credit card you’re using doesn’t charge extra fees for being used overseas.
5. Compare Rental Car Prices. We were stunned at how wildly rental car prices varied. Between national companies, they’d be two to three times as expensive for the same vehicle. Make your rental car reservation early—if you’re flying into Calgary—and check back before you leave to see if prices have changed to see if you can lock in extra last-minute savings.
6. Pay the fee to enter Banff. If you’re driving in from Calgary, you’ll be asked to pay a park entrance fee along the way. Don’t skip it. Park rangers patrol for passes and hand out tickets to anyone who doesn’t have a pass.
7. Spring for the Better Hotel Room. The Canadian Rockies feature some stellar hotels including the Fairmont Lake Louise, the Fairmont Banff and others. If you’re making a special trip and staying in a luxury hotel, pay extra to ensure the view you want—otherwise you could be looking at a parking lot. And again, call to make sure they have air conditioning (See No. 2).
8. Expect cultural differences. Canadians are some of the kindness, most gentle, sweetest people on the planet. But those travelling to the Canadian Rockies come from around the globe representing many cultures—including those more aggressive than our own. Don’t be surprised when someone who speaks a different language cuts you off in line or traffic. They’re not trying to be unkind, they just have different cultural norms than our own.
9. Don’t speed. If you’re tempted to push the speed limit to 8 or even 11-miles over, you might be surprised to discover drivers in Canada actually obey the speed limit. At times, they even go under the speed limit. Shocking, I know. Police are looking for reasons to hand out tickets—on your way to the park and once you’re in it—so slow down, enjoy the view, and obey the speed limit.
Have YOU ever travelled to the Candian Rockies? If so, what did YOU love most? And what will you do differently the next time you go?
*Photo courtesy of here