Well, I am now headed back home after an amazing and much needed vacation to Banff National Park of Alberta, Canada. After all I’ve been through these past months, including my surgery, crate rest, conservative care, and rehabilitation, it was so nice to feel like a regular dog again and do what I love so much – explore a new place!
Mum and Dad decided to make a vacation out of this trip since I was coming out to Calgary anyway as the last stop of my No Bite is Right tour.
So alongside having an awesome vacation, I also had the chance to meet a bunch of my amazing Calgarian fans. Here’s a few pics from the event:
From there we drove to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. As Canada’s first-ever national park, this is true wilderness!
“I hope the only bear we see is the one on that sign!” Mum said as I posed for this picture.
“On the contrary!” I shot back. “I hope we get a good look at one! From a non-snackable distance, of course! 😉 ”
Fittingly, I checked in at the Moose Hotel & Suites which just opened this year and which as you’ll see, proved to be one of my best hotel experiences ever! And I’m not just saying that!
Even though my backpack was light, I still couldn’t be seen carrying MY OWN bags through the lobby like some “non celebrity”. So, I asked Mum, a “non celebrity”, to wheel me up to my room on one of the luggage carts.
There’s a lot to do and see in the park; including hiking trails for all experience levels, incredible mountains views, gorgeous green lakes, and amazing wildlife.
So that’s why when driving out of the village headed towards our first hiking trail, I told Dad to pull over at this wildlife crossing sign.
“Dad, what time is the next wildlife crossing? I would really like to get a picture of the three of them crossing together like that.”
Dad looked down at his watch. “Um, I think the next crossing is at 6:30 this evening”.
Darn, that would be too long to wait if were going to get in a bit of hiking, so we headed onward.
You’ll also notice that in some pictures there’s snow and in others not. Well, some days were warmer than others and we were there right at the time of year when the snows start to arrive. Also depending which hike you’re doing in the mountains, elevation-wise, will change ýour scenery!
And on that note, one of the things I loved about the Moose Hotel was that the inner hotel hallways were essentially “outside”, which really makes you feel like your immersed in the natural surroundings, including the seasons!
And alongside those hallways are real patches of grass with rocks and sticks which gives it a nice natural touch and is rather convenient for pups like me!
Anyway, we continued on our way towards the hiking trail, taking the Bow Valley Parkway scenic drive, a renowned way of seeing wildlife in early mornings or late afternoons.
And we hadn’t gone far when Dad exclaimed, “hey look!”
I was so excited! One of the three from the sign! The elk!
Or more specifically, a bull elk guarding his harem of ladies.
“Hey Dad, how come you don’t have a harem of ladies like that guy?”
Dad looked thoughtful. “Good question. I don’t know Crusoe. I don’t think Mum would allow that.”
“Yes”, I agreed. “Mum CAN be difficult sometimes, can’t she?”
However, I sensed some tensions rising so I urged us to continue on. And before long, I had my
feet paws on Rocky Mountain soil for the first time and was leading the way through the woods on a short, easy hike called the Fenland Trail.
Along the way, I couldn’t help but take a few minutes to sit and take it all in; the quiet river flowing by, the soft rustling of trees, the birds chirping and woodpeckers knocking, and Mum’s loud, incessant conversation meant to warn any nearby bears of our presence…
It was only later on that night that Dad read that there was a grizzly and black bear sighting on that trail just a week earlier!
“Darn, we missed it!” I said, disappointed.
“I don’t want to see a bear!” Mum said.
But after the Fenland Trail, we still had plenty of time to hit a few more spots. What’s also nice about Banff is that you can visit many of the “postcard views” easily by car, or by hiking if you prefer to “earn the view”!
Since I can’t hike too much right now from my surgery, we drove to the gorgeous Lake Louise. The pristine mountain waters give this lake a mesmerizing turquoise color.
Heck, it looks like a walked straight into a postcard.
From the lake, we decided to embark on the toughest hike of the trip, which went up the mountain to the famous Agnes Lake Tea House.
Back before my surgery, I would have been able to do this hike no problem, but since I’m still working myself back up to that level, Dad carried me most of the way, only putting me down for short 5 minute intervals when I was really egging to get down.
The trek was worth it though – at least I think it was – because at the top is a lovely little tea house overlooking another gorgeous lake with sloping mountainsides all around.
Tuna sandwich and soup, don’t mind if I do! A nice reward once you make it to the top.
And on our way down, on a bit of the rock outcropping around the lake, we stumbled upon a pretty rare sight. This little guy is called a “pika”, and was just casually suntanning on this rock.
“Aww!” Mum muttered.
“Hey! Let’s not forget who’s still the cutest one around here”, I added.
I’ll admit, he was pretty cute though.
That about wrapped up our first day, and the days following were of a similar idea: go out early to try to spot some wildlife, do a couple little hikes, hit a viewpoints, then come home and get “loose like a moose” by the hot tub with a cold, refreshing mountain beer.
After which, a moose can only relax by the fire with a nice glass of red wine and some cheese.
There are so many beautiful hikes and scenery and lakes here that I can’t even list them all.
I particularly enjoyed walking along the grassy slopes of Two Jack Lake not too far from the village, even though Mum was a bit wary of going there because of recent wolf warnings! (Even though no one’s been hurt by wolves in the park’s history!)
So we were just casually strolling around, enjoying the view, taking some pictures, when all of a sudden Mum screamed!
“AGH, a WOLF!”
And Dad and I both turned to see this formidable beast standing just twenty yards into the woods, teeth bared and all!
That’s when a few other people nearby also screamed and ran away. You’re never supposed to “run” from carnivores like wolves or bears, but then again, when you’re stricken by pure, unadulterated fear, not many people can help it.
At least I knew better. “This is actually a subspecies called Wienerwolf”, I told Mum reassuringly.
“And not to worry, despite their fearsome appearance, they subsist solely on a diet of pine-cones!”
“Phew!”, Mum said, relieved.
Another one from the sign checked off my list!
But the next morning, Mum wasn’t so lucky! While driving along the Bow Valley Parkway, we encountered the one I’d been waiting to see, probably the most iconic animal of the Canadian Rockies & Banff National Park – the mighty Grizzly Bear!
“WOW!” I was in shock.
“Dad, can I go say hi to the giant teddy?”
“No, I don’t think that’s a good idea”, Dad said. “Bears eat hot dogs for breakfast!” I didn’t need more convincing than that, so I just happily watched the bear from the safety from the car.
And by the way, bears shouldn’t actually eat hot dogs, or hamburgers, or any human food – so please never, ever feed them!
So that was pretty exciting, and to wrap up a great day, we visited one of my favorite viewpoints up along the Icefields Parkway called Peyto Lake.
Your eyes can’t even believe the water is actually this color when you first see it!
That about wrapped up a lot of my week’s adventures, but after all that hiking my paws and muscles were pretty sore! Same with Mum, so it only made sense to finish out week with a day at the spa!
The lovely ladies at Meadow Spa & Pools, located within the Moose Hotel, gave me an incredible massage to start. They’re a real human spa, but were gracious enough to accept me alongside my Mum for the day.
She worked muscles I didn’t even know I had!
Then it was time for our “pawdicure”. And yes, I still call it a “pawdicure” even for Mum because her feet are more like bear paws.
Lovely! And a nice opportunity to catch up on some of the latest celebrity gossip.
Just watching this video still puts me to sleep (in a good way).
The best part was that delicious yogurt facial though, which has my fur feeling extra lustrous.
And that’s that! My vacation to Banff National Park is done and I’m now on my way home. It’s been exciting, relaxing, inspiring, and fun. Hope to be back one day, and if you ever get a chance to visit, I highly recommend it.
Just beware those Wienerwolves!