Posts in Category: Travel and Holidays

Interesting Facts About Alberta, Canada


Alberta is one of Canada’s western provinces that is home to both a diverse population and a world – renowned landscape of lakes, forest, prairies, Rocky Mountains – including glaciers, and badlands scenery. With five national parks, over 100 provincial (and wildland provincial) parks along with six UNESCO sites, there is plenty to see and explore. After living in the province for over 10 years, I am still discovering interesting facts about Alberta – many of which lead to travel.

After co-authoring the book, 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta, I can also tell you that Alberta is a nature lover’s destination. Join my husband John as he showcases over 50 fun facts about Alberta.

This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.

Interesting facts about Alberta – Moraine Lake is one of the most visited places in the province

Interesting facts about Alberta related to geography

  • For those that have never heard of us, we are a province in western Canada in the northern hemisphere. 
  • The shape of Alberta is nearly the same as Saskatchewan to the east except it looks like British Columbia bit off our southwest corner.
  • Alberta stretches from the 49th parallel on the southern border with Montana to the 60th parallel, our northern border with the Northwest Territories, a distance of 1200 km (750 miles).
  • Our eastern boundary with Saskatchewan is the 110th Meridian west. Our western boundary with British Columbia starts in the north on the NWT border, on the 120th Meridian and goes south about two thirds of the way and then angles down to the east about the 114th Meridian on the southern boundary, cutting off the southwest corner!
  • The longest east – west distance is 640 km or about 400 miles.
  • Not trying to start a war here, but wouldn’t it be nice if BC would just agree that our border was the 120th Meridian so we could have that southwest corner. Then, we could brag about fine Albertan Okanagan wine and get a few more ski hills as well.
  • Area wise, we are about 661 thousand square kilometres or about 225 thousand square miles.
  • If we were a state in the US, we’d be the third biggest state after Alaska and Texas. 
  • In European terms, we are bigger than France although they make better croissants.
  • We along with Saskatchewan are land locked.
  • The highest point in Alberta is Mount Columbia at 3,747 metres (12,293 feet) above sea level. No bragging rights here because BC and the Yukon have higher peaks.
  • Much more air though, on the Slave River where it exits Alberta on the 60th parallel (on its way to the Arctic Ocean) at an elevation of 210 m (690 feet).
  • Alberta has mountains in the west and flat and rolling plains to the east except the Cypress Hills in the southeast that we share with Saskatchewan. The Cypress Hills, 1,468 m (4,816 feet) above sea level, are the highest part of Canada between the Rocky Mountains and the Torngat Mountains in northern Labrador and Quebec which rise to over 1,646 m (5,400 feet) above sea level.
  • The northern part of the province is boreal forest with some large lakes and more trees than you can shake a stick at. 
  • Alberta has lots of glaciers and water from various glaciers and mountains flow to the Pacific, Arctic and Hudson’s Bay which is connected to the Atlantic (and Arctic Oceans).
Beautiful views and lots of wildflowers in summer in Cypress Hills
Beautiful views and lots of wildflowers in summer in Cypress Hills Provincial Park 
The Columbia Icefield from Wilcox Pass
Civilization seems so close but step back 20 feet and you feel like the mountains are all yours

Alberta weather

  • Travel Alberta says we have 312 sunny days a year. Now that may not be sun 312 days all day long but nevertheless the sun appears 312 days a year.
  • Apparently, the hottest temperature recorded in Alberta was 43.3 °C (110 °F) on July 21, 1931, at Bassano Dam.
  • On the other side of the equation, it was reportedly -61.1°C below zero in Fort Vermillion on February 3rd, 1911.
  • Alberta is also famous for chinooks. These are warm winds that come out of the mountains and can warm a day by 4.4°C or 40°F in a hour or so.
Interesting facts about Alberta - seeing the Chinook arch which can quickly raise temperatures
The Chinook Arch seen on a winter walk near Calgary

Parks in Alberta

  • We have lots of parks in Alberta! In fact, Banff National Park, established in 1885, was the first one in the country. Since then, Yoho, Kootenay and Jasper National Parks which are contiguous to Banff National Park have been added, forming a large area of mountain parks (and they make up one of the six UNESCO sites). When you add in the provincial parks on both sides of the border there is a whole lot of protected land in the Rockies!
  • Alberta has five national parks: Jasper, Banff, Waterton Lakes, Elk Island and Wood Buffalo.
  • Alberta has more than 100 provincial and wildland provincial parks according to the Alberta Parks’ website.
  • Alberta has six UNESCO World Heritage Sites! 

#1 – Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park straddles the Canada – US border.

#2 – Wood Buffalo National Park is in both Alberta and the NWT and is one of the largest land parks on the planet. Notice the word land, as there are some crazy big marine parks.

#3 – Rocky Mountain Parks – only has majestic mountains, spectacular scenery and wildlife.

#4 – Dinosaur Provincial Park where it shouldn’t surprise you if you come across a dinosaur bone or fish bit emerging from the badlands outcrops.

#5 – Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (this is not a word salad, it’s a real name!) where Indigenous peoples drove buffalo over a cliff and recovered the buffalo bodies below.

#6 – The latest edition is Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park. It was designated because “the park demonstrates recognition and respect towards the Blackfoot and other First Nations by highlighting its global cultural significance.”

Following our group on the Rock Art Tour in Writing on Stone
Following our group on the Rock Art Tour in Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park
Me checking out the dinosaur in place
Me checking out the dinosaur in place in Dinosaur Provincial Park
Beautiful scenery around head Smashed In Buffalo Jump
Beautiful scenery around head Smashed In Buffalo Jump

Glaciers and other interesting natural things to see

  • Alberta emerged from the ocean bottom during the building of the Rocky Mountains, but it has not been all wild roses (Alberta’s provincial flower) since then. For instance, there have been a few glacial periods where most of the plain, except some parts of the Cypress Hills, were covered by continental glaciers over 1 km thick. And most of the mountains except the tallest peaks were covered in alpine glaciers. The glaciers haven’t all melted, and you can still enjoy seeing or actually walking on them in places like the Columbia Icefield.
  • Alberta had large areas of sand dunes although they are now well disguised by a lush green carpet of vegetation. These were probably formed as the glacier was receding and there was lots of loose sand around for the wind to push around. Around Red Deer and east of Vulcan are two areas that come to mind but keep an eye out when you are driving about the plains, and you’ll be surprised how often you see “green sand dunes”.
  • Canada’s worst natural disaster was the Frank Slide in southwest Alberta when a huge chunk of Turtle Mountain broke off. It slid down the mountain killing 76 people in the town of Frank on April 29, 1903. The highway now goes through the slide area which is 3 km wide and up to 30 m deep. Sixteen miners were trapped in a coal mine but dug themselves out. Turtle Mountain is closely monitored and one day some more of it is going to slide down. Don’t linger on the highway!
Looking at the devastation the Frank Slide caused - that's the highway through the middle of it
Looking at the devastation the Frank Slide caused – that’s the highway through the middle of it
Looking out at the Saskatchewan Glacier - the source of the North Saskatchewan River
Looking out at the Saskatchewan Glacier – the source of the North Saskatchewan River from the Parker Ridge Trail

Interesting facts about Alberta with regards to wildlife

  • There are no rats in Alberta because they are not welcome in Alberta from a crop perspective. Also, it is not legal to have a pet rat here. Alberta is reported to be the largest rat-free inhabited land area in the world.
  • The province has majestic species of wildlife including the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, the provincial animal, which at one point roamed well into the plains. Interestingly bighorn sheep run a car washing service in winter when they lick the salt off cars. The service is free, but they are not very thorough.
Big-horned sheep licking the salt off the car
Big-horned sheep licking the salt off the car
  • Buffalo, moose, grizzly bears, and elk are amongst the larger animals of the total of 587 species cataloged to live in Alberta.
  • You may not be surprised that we had mammoths after the Ice Age, but did you know we had camels in Alberta too? Regrettably, both are extinct.
  • Apparently, our provincial stone is petrified wood which is almost as confusing as having a bull trout as the provincial fish.
  • We do have the largest beaver dam in the world which is 850 m long in Wood Buffalo National Park. 
  • If there is anyone else who likes to look at and seek out birds, 437 bird species have been spotted in Alberta. In case you didn’t know, the great horned owl is the provincial bird. Spoiler alert! It doesn’t have horns just feathers.
Bighorn sheep near Nordegg Alberta
Bighorn sheep near Nordegg Alberta
Saw my first lynx in the wild along the David Thompson Highway
Lynx along the David Thompson Highway

People and history of Alberta

  • As the glaciers retreated, it is only natural that people followed the ice front north. The earliest evidence so far is from Wally’s Beach which is now underwater behind St. Mary’s Dam in southern Alberta. Some artifacts from there have been dated at 13,300 years old and that site rendered over 3,000 artifacts including the surprisingly unexpected, slightly mesmerizing fact that camels lived here.
  • Alberta was home to many Indigenous groups through the millennia as archaeological evidence gives us a window into the past including their adaptations to previous changes in climate.
  • Tragically, Indigenous populations were decimated by the arrival of Europeans although Indigenous peoples are gaining back their pride and presence in Alberta.
  • Alberta, the province, was established in 1905.
  • The province was named after a daughter of Queen Victoria – Louise Caroline Alberta. They used her other names too e.g. Lake Louise and the Town of Caroline. 
  • Louise lived in Canada as her husband was Governor General of Canada. She was bilingual, a supporter of women’s rights, a patron of the arts but also liked tobogganing, curling, and skating. That’s my kind of Princess!
  • Here are some notable firsts in Alberta and by Alberta Women.

1916 – Women were first granted the right to vote in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. 

1916 –Emily Murphy was appointed the first female judge in the British Commonwealth.

1917 – The first women in the entire British Empire to be elected to a legislature were here in Alberta: Louise McKinney and Roberta MacAdams – no relation.

Lake Louise is always a beautiful place to visit
Lake Louise is always a beautiful place to visit

Cities of Alberta

  • Edmonton was picked as the capital because it’s the geographic centre of the province.
  • Edmonton has the worlds largest indoor mall but unfortunately, we are not mall people.
  • As you have seen, Alberta likes to share eg. parks, borders, air etc. but we also share a city as Lloydminster is in both Alberta and Saskatchewan.
  • The Trans-Canada railway reached Calgary in 1883 and on the way here, they accidently discovered natural gas near Medicine Hat when they were drilling a water well.
  • Calgary has a network that is now over 18 km (11 miles) long that has more than 60 bridges that interconnect many buildings downtown. It is called the Plus 15 because most of it is about 15 feet (4.572m) off the ground.
  • One more Calgary thing is the Calgary Stampede which is billed as the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. I think nature puts on a greater show but that’s just me. But, the Stampede is fun and you get free pancakes!
  • The population of Alberta is now about 4.4 million people of which about 116,000 identify as First Nations People. 
  • Alberta has two NHL hockey teams; the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames who are currently working on their golf games so let’s not talk playoffs, especially in 2021.
  • We also have two CFL football teams: the Edmonton Elks and the Calgary Stampeders.
A view of downtown Edmonton from the river valley trails
A view of downtown Edmonton from the river valley trails
Mountain biking through the flowers in the park
Mountain biking in Nose Hill Park – where you get a superb view of Calgary
The world's largest chess set board in downtown Medicine Hat
The world’s largest chess set board in downtown Medicine Hat

Random, irrelevant but fun Alberta fact

  • Alberta is only worth 9 Scrabble points. Too bad they didn’t name us Mozambique because that is worth 34 Scrabble points.
The Cline River Canyon is a popular spot for ice-climbers
The Cline River Canyon in the Nordegg area is a beautiful spot to visit

Further reading about interesting facts in other provinces

This guest post was kindly written by my husband, John McAdam.

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

50 plus fun and interesting facts about Alberta

 



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How to become an Au Pair in France? Here is a step-by-step guide!


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There is no extra romantic doing the job great than starting to be an au pair in France. Real operate aside, it conjures visuals of strolling along boulevards, stylishly rocking the beret, contemporary, crusty baguette under your arm, wishing the locals a hearty ‘bonjour.’ It is not all this, but it confident is aspect of it, so let us obtain out just what you can assume from getting an au pair in the remarkable nation of France?

Are you all set for an experience of a lifetime?

What does au pairing in France look like?

Au pairing in France is generally the most immersive way to explore the tradition of the nation and, reward, you get paid out to do it! Residing with a French family and hunting after their children although they perform indicates that you never have to be concerned about the expenses of lodging and foods, all of this is incorporated, even though you may possibly also be cleansing the household and cooking some of the foods. 

You get to working experience day-to-day daily life in France, genuinely immersing your self in its customs and culture and sharpening up your language expertise as you shell out your times interacting with the locals. It is the excellent chance to grow to be a cherished section of a family’s daily life, establish your self-assurance, get out there and examine France like a regional

How to grow to be an au pair in France?

There are a wealth of au pair agencies in France and based mostly in quite a few nations all-around the entire world that will enable you get established up with a French loved ones. This is the key component and distinctive companies will charge distinct amounts to established up this placement. Usually, all they will provide will be the placement and all other components, flights, visas, etc, will be up to you to manage yourself. 

Working with World wide Perform & Vacation, for case in point, eliminates all of the further stresses, offering you with a environment-class pairing method as properly as making ready you for your posture. With on the net courses, airport transfers, added accommodation and a distinctive incompatible loved ones rematch, to make absolutely sure you are solely at ease when you get there in France, they are targeted on all of the very little specifics so you really don’t have to. 

Seeking for organizations or platforms that give you self esteem and guidance is crucial for a fantastic operate and travel encounter in France or any place in the globe. 

Demands for turning into an au pair in France

Not everyone can just rock up and come to be an au pair in France. There are pretty specific specifications, which is good more than enough when you are entrusted to look following someone’s small children. Each individual country differs, but to be an au pair in France you will have to: 

Photo of a passport and driver's license are some of the documents you must have organized for applying to au pair job in France.
Files and child-caring practical experience are a will have to for seeking Au Pair work in France.
  • Have 14 times provable boy or girl-caring encounter
  • Have a significant college certificate or diploma
  • Fulfill french visa prerequisites
  • Be a non-smoker (yes, even in France!)
  • not have endured from any mental well being concerns or consuming ailments above the preceding two years

If this all applies to you, then you are in! 

Now, if this does not apply to you, there are even now lots of approaches to function and travel, au pairing is not the only way to go. You can take functioning vacations in several pieces of the globe, rocking the ski year in Canada, doing the job in Australia at the great barrier reef, or bossing one particular of the majestic resorts of the Usa

You can volunteer, creating a big difference in pieces of the globe wherever the experience is extra adventurous and the perform you do would make a genuine impression on the locals. Aid with turtle conservation in wonderful Costa Rica, assistance train young children who don’t have considerably in the beautiful metropolis of Buenos Aires, or aid preserve the mindblowing Massive 5 in South Africa

Of training course, you can educate English all close to the entire world also, basing your self in the clash of ultramodern and super conventional in Japan, or move on these English capabilities to little ones who are determined to find out in Thailand or Korea. If the au pair does not function out for you, by no indicates is the conclude of the line to your operating and touring strategies. 

Now again to au pairing in France. For the host household, they must be able to provide you with:

  • At minimum a single youngster underneath the age of 18 to look right after
  • An personal space for you to continue to be in
  • More than enough time to show up at a language program all through your continue to be
  • Willingness to host you for at least 3 months

Jobs and Obligations of an au pair

An au pair could be asked to conduct a vast wide variety of tasks, and the information of these tasks are ironed out in your au pair contract right before signing up for your family members. This legally binding document covers you to make certain that you are not requested to do something above and past, like getting still left on your own with the kids for two weeks though the moms and dads go off to sunshine on their own. 

Happy woman playing with two children in a green space that looks like a park.
Be an Au Pair in France implies tasks but also wonderful exciting!

Common duties for an au pair in France would be: 

  • Food Preparing – Making ready foods and treats for the little ones. 
  • Early morning Regimen – Waking the small children and assisting them get dressed, fed and completely ready for the day
  • Transportation – Taking the young children to their many actions and clubs all over the regional location
  • Playtime – Retaining the youngsters entertained and joyful with online games and pursuits
  • Washing – Washing and folding laundry for the children
  • Homework – Serving to the small children with any homework they might have
  • Tidying up – Helping to continue to keep the kids’ place clean 
  • Bedtime – Assisting the youngsters get ready for bed

Although not an exceptional record, these are the most common tasks that any au pair can anticipate to undertake all through their time in France. 

How to journey all around as an au pair in France

When having trapped into the job alone is a fantastic matter, we all truly know that touring and experiencing France and the rest of Europe is the real attract. Although you will discover and improve as an au pair, insert to your CV, and blossom as a human becoming, finding out and exploring France is an essential aspect of the expertise. 

A woman that got an au pair job in Europe traveling by train.
Traveling close to Europe is one particular of the benefits of au pairing in France

The range of France is one of its most attractive features and with an outstanding rail network you are mere hrs away from discovering a fully distinctive side of the place. From stylish, historical Paris, bursting with artwork, to the breathtaking all-natural splendor of the Alps, winding your way by way of majestic valleys, breathing in the crispest air acknowledged to humanity. Examine fairytale Alsace, the opulence of the Cote d’Azur, or uncover the finest rural landscapes in Provence or Languedoc. 

And the joy of France is that it is not just just one state and society that is open up to you. With a shorter flight or practice journey, you can be in Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy or Switzerland, to name but a couple. Europe is compact, unbelievably assorted and you will be living right at the coronary heart of it all. 

However, we all know that the finest way to vacation is to genuinely immerse your self and this is what the au pair expertise excels at. You will be staying locally, exploring on a modest scale and embedding on your own into French life. There is also the possible for your family members to take you with them when they choose their summer season holiday getaway, so you get to see a entire distinctive element of Europe on the very same intricate scale, including to the sophisticated attractiveness of your touring encounter. 

Staying Safe and sound when au pairing in France

Rather rightly, protection will be a problem right before you go, on the other hand it has to be pointed out that turning out to be an au pair is just one of the most secure solutions of touring. With your host family as a backup, you have a strong foundation, locals who know the spot well, and a household to return to just about every night. You will get to know your regional space intimately and know if there are places that must be averted. 

Young tourists sitting in front of Eiffel tower in Paris, France.
Extra than visitors, remaining an au pair in France will allow you to reside like a neighborhood.

It is not only your physical protection that is vital, on the lookout immediately after your mental well being is essential way too. Location up your au pair experience with specialists like Worldwide Function & Travel also implies that you have ongoing aid during your excursion, a focused travel concierge to assistance you with your arrangements and a certain household re-match if you don’t sense like it is operating out with your first loved ones.

Talking about protection, just take some time to browse our information about very long-time period travel insurance policy, it could be useful for your au pairing career in France. 

Financial investment and gains of au pairing in France

3 months in a foreign nation, controlling a house and a loved ones is an superb achievement and we have discovered that it is typically just after returning from this style of journey that individuals make excellent strides in figuring out wherever their everyday living is major them. We know extraordinary wellness care workers, journalists, designers and restauranteurs, all of whom obtained their spark from immersing them selves in the cultures and customs of a further country though au pairing. 

Currently being an au pair seems great when making use of for employment. The volume of accountability you are assuming, in a fully distinctive place with a new language, customs and tradition shows your resilience, your drive to choose challenges and working experience new matters which are all incredibly fascinating characteristics for potential personnel. 

It also boosts your self-self-confidence immeasurably. You will return with the expertise that people all close to the globe are the very same, that you can speak to anybody from a pauper to a prince and how easy it is to hook up no issue how daunting somebody may perhaps appear. 

What to know prior to touring to France

There are a few of genuine, factual things that will support when touring to France for your au pair adventure. The evident types are information of the language, customs and cultural components of France, with the language becoming the most significant. The greatest obstacle you will face will be the language barrier and even though you are allowed time absent from your duties to attend language courses, you must arm you with at minimum the fundamentals before you go. Duolingo, Mondly and Rosetta Stone are good applications to assist you with this merely and cheaply. 

Photo of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. People are walking by the square in front of it.
France is extra than Paris, be completely ready to master a new language, society and manners.

It is also well worth reading into the lifestyle of France as it can, at very first, seem a minimal overwhelming. People’s mannerisms in France may well not be what you are utilised to. Portray them with a broad brush, French folks can appear chilly and indifferent. They might mock you for your flawed language techniques or feel impatient with you if you do not comprehend, but this is all just conditioning and is very considerably surface area deep. When you study to have as thick a pores and skin as the French by themselves you will obtain them to be interesting and welcoming persons, keen to share their adore for their nation. 

We can hugely advocate Global Do the job & Travel, who have been arranging profitable au pair outings globally due to the fact 2008. In that small time, they have develop into one particular of the world’s leading function & journey brand names aiding around 58,000 tourists to switch journey desires into truth. Their au pair procedure is 2nd to none, heading further than most to make sure that you have not a one be concerned when you come to book your cultural immersion as an au pair in France. 

And if you want to look into international locations other than France, there are lots of other European prospects. Au pair in Italy and filling your earth with pizza, pasta and parties. Head to au pair in the Uk, taking time to discover its extraordinary towns and wild, untouched areas. Or find out superb Spain, the lively country the place the parties never get started right until the compact hours of the early morning and social existence is lived out on the streets. 

You can of training course head south and au pair in Australia or New Zealand, giving you time to investigate both (or equally) with out any language problems. The identical could be mentioned for deciding on to au pair in either the Usa or look just after kids in Canada, and all of these fantastic au pair possibilities are expertly dealt with on the World wide Operate & Journey internet site. 

Like this Guideline to au pairing in France? Preserve it on Pinterest for afterwards!

Au pairing in France is basically the most immersive way to explore the country's culture, and bonus, you get paid to do it! Living with a French family and looking after their children while they work means that you don’t have to worry about accommodation and food costs.All you need to know about becoming an au pair in France is in this guide. Requirements, jobs, how to apply, and a trustworthy agency.

How to become an Au Pair in France? Here is a step-by-step guide!



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Lake Annette – Paradise Valley Hike & Camp


If you want a stellar hike or backpacking trip, without the crowds, in the heart of the Moraine Lake – Lake Louise area, I’d highly recommend the Lake Annette – Paradise Valley – Giant Steps trail. Many people stop at Annette Lake – 5.7 km in, but then you miss some of the dramatic scenery, along with the option to hike up to Sentinel Pass. However, it’s a 20.3 km return hike to Paradise Valley – too much for many in a day. That’s where the camping option comes in. Spend a night at the Paradise Valley Campground, something you can only book 24 hours in advance.

As many of you know, just getting a parking space so you can hike in the Moraine Lake area is problematic. Because the trailhead for Annette Lake and the Paradise Valley is off the Moraine Lake Road, you’ll be able to access the trail – and shouldn’t have any waits. Read on for all the details.

Good signage at the start of the hike

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Getting to the trailhead

The trailhead isn’t hard to find but it is awkward to get to in summer as the traffic patrol people don’t usually let you make a left-hand turn from Lake Louise Drive onto Moraine Lake Road. Instead, you must drive up at least a kilometre to do a U-turn, perhaps at the pullover where the Kingmik sled dogs start in winter. But if there is any traffic, you’ll have to go all the way up to the Lake Louise parking lot and turn around there.

Drive back down Lake Louise Drive so you can make a right turn on Moraine Lake Road.  You will have to stop and tell the traffic people you are hiking into Lake Annette and the Paradise Valley. You can also present your camping permit for proof. The trailhead is 2.5 km up the road on the right.

Hike details

Round trip distance to Lake Annette – 11.4 km with 250 m of elevation 

Round trip distance to Paradise Valley – 20.4 km to Paradise Valley with 400 m elevation gain

Time needed – 4 hours for the lake, 7 hours for Paradise Valley or overnight

Reflection in Lake Annette
Reflection in Lake Annette
Map of the hike to Annette Lake and Paradise Valley Campground
Map of the hike to Annette Lake and Paradise Valley Campground

The hike to Lake Annette

Before you set off on your hike to Lake Annette and Paradise Valley, be sure that you have a full can of bear spray that’s accessible – and you know how to use it. There is a sign at the start of the trail suggesting that you hike with a group of four or more but according to my guide on the Eiffel Lake hike, it hasn’t been mandatory for years.

You need to know you're traveling through a bear corridor
You need to know you’re traveling through a bear corridor

The hike is a moderate one – and straightforward to Lake Annette. Follow well-signed trails, sticking at signed intersections to the Paradise Valley Trail. There are two crossings of Paradise Creek on sturdy bridges before you reach an intersection at the 4.2 km mark. At the second of the bridge crossings, there are particularly good views of the north face of Mount Temple.

From the intersection follow the creek upstream towards Lake Annette. If you went right instead, you’d reach Saddleback after a 4.1 km hike. It’s a pretty pass between Fairview and Saddleback Mountain on the way up Fairview Mountain.

Cross Paradise Creek again at 5.2 km and then hike on a moderately steep trail to reach Annette Lake. It’s a nice place for a picnic lunch. 

There are several bridges to cross on the route in
There are several bridges to cross on the route in
Lake Annette never disappoints
Lake Annette never disappoints

Annette Lake to Paradise Valley

Start climbing again from Annette Lake, past the gnarled trees pictured below to reach a large rockslide, 1 km from the lake. The views open to the north across the valley. Make your way through the boulder area on an easy to navigate trail. You’ll reach another intersection at the 8.4 km mark. 

If you take the right trail – which is what we did – you’ll descend to cross a bridged creek. Then follow a trail through pretty larch filled woods to reach the campground, 1.9 km from the intersection. The campground is 200 m past the turnoff to the Giant Steps.

There is an option to climb to Sentinel Pass from the Paradise Valley Trail. It’s an additional 2.7 km but it’s a stiff climb to reach the pass at 2611 m. For comparison’s sake, Lake Annette is at 1965 m. 

Another option adds 1.7 easy kilometres. From the intersection to the Sentinel Pass trail continue on a loop trail for 1.3 km, heading west to get a taste of Horseshoe Meadows. It meets up with the main trail 800 m southwest of the campground. In July, it’s buggy, but this would be a pleasant diversion come mid-August or September.

Pass these trees with odd trunks shortly after Lake Annette
Pass these trees with odd trunks shortly after Lake Annette
Rosie is happy to happen on snow in July
Rosie is happy to find snow in July
Heading for upper Paradise Valley
Heading for upper Paradise Valley
Lots of wildflowers out in July
Lots of wildflowers out in July
Into some views
Into some views
Traversing the rocky area
Traversing the rocky area
Looking across Paradise Valley
Looking across Paradise Valley
This hike would be amazing in larch season
This hike would be amazing in larch season
Descending in he direction of the Paradise Creek Campground
Descending in the direction of the Paradise Creek Campground
Good signage when you reach the intersection to Sentinel Pass
Good signage when you reach the intersection to Sentinel Pass
View from the bridge on the route out
View from the bridge on the route out

The Giant Steps

Don’t miss a visit to see the Giant Steps. It’s a quick walk from the campground. You might want to drop your gear and set up your tent first and then return after dinner. A boardwalk takes you over an area of rusty rock  to a lookout at the Giant Steps. Enjoy views all the way to the Lake Louise Ski Resort. The view up the creek is also pretty. 

Boardwalks lead you to the Giant Steps
Boardwalks lead you to the Giant Steps
Enjoying the view towards Lake Louise from the Giant Steps
Enjoying the view towards Lake Louise Ski Resort (the distant slopes on the left) from the Giant Steps
Incredible rusting around the Giant Steps
Incredible rusting around the Giant Steps
Looking upriver from the Giant Steps
Looking upriver from the Giant Steps
Lots of blocky rocks that look like giant steps
Lots of blocky rocks that look like giant steps

Camping in Paradise Valley – and how to book

Paradise Valley is the only backcountry campground in Banff National Park – to my knowledge – where you book the campsite 24 hours ahead of when you want to visit. And then it’s by phone. I think it’s because the campground is in a bear corridor, so they close it down if there are any issues.

You can call either the Lake Louise Trails Office at 1-403-522-1264 or the Banff Backcountry Office at 1-403-762-1556. Leave a message with the date you want to do it and the number in your party. A real human will call you back. You can book 24 hours out so call at 9 AM the day before you want to go.

The actual campsite is pretty and there’s a decent amount of privacy between the 11 tent pads. The communal cooking area has several picnic tables and numerous bear boxes. There is also one outhouse nearby. The water source is from Paradise Creek and it’s in a very pretty setting. 

The downside to a summer trip as I found out, is that its buggy and not just a wee bit buggy – but eat as fast as you can and get moving to keep the bugs away kind of buggy. Since the trail winds through pretty larch country, I would recommend a camping trip from late August until about the third week of September. Count on very chilly nights.

The group cooking area with bear boxes
The group cooking area has bear boxes nearby
Beautiful backdrop where you get your water
Beautiful backdrop from Paradise Creek where you get your water
Looking up Paradise Creek
Looking up Paradise Creek
Looking towards Sentinel Pass from the campground
Looking towards Sentinel Pass from the campground
We could see Sentinel Pass through the trees from the Paradise Valley Campground
We could see Sentinel Pass through the trees from the Paradise Valley Campground

A few things to take on this hike – camping trip

If you like paper maps, pick up a copy of Gem Trek Lake Louise & Yoho.

Don’t forget the bug spray.

If you’re camping or you don’t want to carry a lot of water, take a water filter like this easy to use one.

For campers, an MSR Pocket Rocket is a lightweight choice. 

And I always carry a roll of Gear Aid in case I need to make a repair on the fly to my tent, jacket or sleeping pad.

Pretty scenery on the hike out - after you've pass Lake Annette
Pretty scenery on the hike out – after you’ve pass Lake Annette

Where to stay in the Lake Louise area

If you want to stay nearby the night before or after, you’ll find plenty of options. It’s best to reserve well in advance.

Near Lake Louise itself, the rustic Deer Lodge is a good choice, especially the renovated rooms.

Paradise Lodge and Bungalows would be great if you could get in. 

Just outside of Lake Louise via a scenic drive on Highway 1A is Baker Creek Mountain Resort – with cabins and fire pits beside the river.

Baker Creek - one of the Charmin Inns of Alberta
Lots of red chairs and fire pits outside Baker Creek Mountain Resort

Further reading of hikes in the area

For a look at what this hike looks like dressed in fall colours read Golden Fall in Banff – A Guide to See Larch by Travel Tales of Life.

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

Lake Annette - Paradise Valley hike and camping trip in the Lake Louise-Moraine Lake area, Alberta



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How to save money while traveling abroad


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From climbing the mountains of New Zealand to checking out ancient ruins in Rome, touring abroad is the chance of a lifetime. Adventuring in an unfamiliar place and immersing yourself in a new lifestyle is something that anyone need to get the probability to encounter, but it can be fiscally annoying. 

Conquering the earth even though saving for far more journeys!

Luckily for us, touring doesn’t have to have to value a fortune. There are a whole lot of imaginative ways to help save revenue. There is no magical shortcut, and developing an cost-effective touring working experience requires time and exertion. Though this may perhaps seem complicated, it will all be worth it for the priceless reminiscences you will make together the way. 

Completely ready to get started off? Read on to explore some tried out and real strategies that will enable you journey overseas without the need of breaking the lender. Pleased preserving!

How to help you save income when touring? Listed here are 5 thoughts!

A woman at a food stall in Graz, Austria. She is smiling because she's eating delicious street food and saving money while traveling. There are two hot dogs and a beer on the table.
Street Food = Delectable Foods = Spending budget Foods!

Are living with a Spending budget

First items initially: generate a journey finances. Discovering how to spending budget your income (and sticking to this finances) is a person of the most important capabilities you will want when handling your cash overseas. Get started by performing a minor little bit of investigate. Knowledge the charge of traveling in the country you are visiting will give you a greater strategy of how much you will be expending whilst you are there. 

Then, design a spreadsheet monitoring all of your known fees, including lodge or Airbnb costs, food stuff, and worldwide flights to and from your desired destination. By tracking your crucial expenditures, you will start to understand how a lot cash you will have remaining in excess of to invest on any further splurges, such as working day visits and eating out. Realizing how a lot you are shelling out will also limit your impulse getting.

From working with an unfamiliar currency to resisting the superior-conclusion dining places calling your title, it may well appear frustrating when you start off to finances. If you can, try out to observe budgeting ahead of you go away for your vacation. Set some goals for on your own, and see how you do! After all, apply will make excellent. 

Safe a aspect-time job (or three!)

Woman in a cafe working from a laptop while she travels the world.
Wondering of how to preserve money when touring? What about having on on the internet task?!

If you have any wiggle place in your routine, picking up an odd career in this article and there is a excellent way to make some revenue on the facet. You will be grateful for the added transform, which will assist fund leisure functions that would have usually been unaffordable.

Examine out science labs at community universities looking for volunteers, local connect with facilities, and canine going for walks gigs. Is there a cafe in your neighborhood using the services of part-time waiters? A local family in require of a weekend babysitter? Maintain an open thoughts and be flexible — traveling overseas is all about embracing new encounters!

Although position looking, make certain to take selected components into account, together with your visa form. Dependent on the country you are touring in, there are distinct policies and regulations about work available to foreign readers. Even if your visa stops you from doing work in the country you are visiting, quite a few work opportunities are readily available on-line, which include online tutoring. From teaching languages to aiding with SAT prep, there is a high desire for on the web tutors, particularly for much more tough topics, like math. Acquire initiative, and learn how to develop into an on line math tutor. 

Safe a Scholarship

Woman standing in the middle of a pedestrian bridge. She has a backpack in her back. She going to study abroad.
What about researching overseas?!

If you are studying overseas for a semester or a whole year, a person of the most pleasing means to fund your practical experience is by a scholarship. Though it may take some further operate, this is dollars that you under no circumstances have to pay out again, so it is perfectly really worth the grind of filling out software papers and producing personalized statements.

Great news! There are hundreds of scholarships offered for global college students hunting to review overseas, from normal scholarships to specialized funding techniques, to people available by the college them selves. With so several study overseas scholarships obtainable, it would seem silly not to apply for as many as you possibly can. Looking by way of all the solutions out there can be a monumental task, so listed here is a listing of simple scholarships to apply for. 

Slash again on unnecessary purchases or vices

No matter if it is a each day morning latte or the Uber you consider house just after a night time out, sacrificing tiny luxuries for the duration of your travel practical experience will go a prolonged way. Test out additional economical solutions. Acquire groceries and cook home made foods as an alternative of ingesting out. Wander and consider general public transportation rather than opting for a additional convenient Taxi trip. If it aids, add up the day by day, weekly, or yearly prices that these day to day treats cost and have it go in direction of an exciting weekend experience. Do you truly need that scented candle or that pricey cocktail? Likely not. Pocket that alter, and help you save it for a weekend vacation to the Scottish highlands.

Woman wearing a red coat looking at the shelves of a shop. She is thinking how to save money while traveling, then she won't buy anything.
Get or not to acquire, that is the query!

Market your previous products

If you have obtained a closet entire of bits and bobs you under no circumstances use anymore, now’s the time to capitalize on your old matters. Even though it might feel distressing to section with some of your childhood possessions, it’ll all feel worthy of it when you are zip-lining via a forest in Costa Rica. Your lender account will thank you later on. 

If you want to go all out, host a property sale! Publicize the function on social media and invite your buddies, loved ones, and neighbors. Place a rate tag on no matter what you have got, from employed guides and furniture, to board games and aged documents. It could appear to be like junk to you, but a single person’s trash is a further one’s treasure. If you have a lot of used apparel, obtaining, trading, and marketing outfits items on line is becoming a vastly preferred development. Listed here are some of the finest areas to provide your outfits on line. 

Really like this guide about how to conserve funds when traveling overseas? Pin it for afterwards!

Creative and effective ways to save money for traveling abroad. Things you can do before or during the trip. These save money for travel tips are easy to follow and you can apply on your day by day life, things like creating a travel budget and following the budget, getting side jobs and even selling stuff you don’t need anymore. It’s easy to spend money while traveling, but it can also be easy to save money for traveling and while traveling.

How to save money while traveling abroad



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Abbott Ridge Trail in Glacier National Park BC


The Abbott Ridge Trail in British Columbia’s Glacier National Park (often confused with Montana’s national park that goes by the same name) is the must do hike in the park despite its length and significant elevation gain. After hiking the Hermit Trail in the park a few years ago, I had an inkling I’d be in for a treat.

Abbott Ridge is named for Henry Abbott, a mountain and railway man who helped build the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Abbott Ridge hike in the rugged Columbia Mountains isn’t an easy one, but it is straightforward. There are no route-finding issues or scary moves you must make. But you do have to hike a minimum of 13.6 km return with an elevation gain of 1029 m (3376 feet).

The hike starts in an ancient rainforest and climbs up into the alpine tundra where you enjoy phenomenal glacier and mountain views from your finish on a narrow ridge. Despite appearances from the approach to the ridge, the hike feels like a true mountain-top experience. Some of the highlights of the hike include views of the Asulkan Valley and Glacier, Vaux Glacier, Illecillewaet Glacier as well as Mount Abbott, Mount Sir Donald, and Uto Peak.

You feel like you can reach out and touch the glaciers
You’ll feel like you can reach out and touch the glaciers 

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Hike details

Length – 6.8 km one – way on the short route, or 15.5 km if you go up the short route and descend the long route
Hiking time: 5.5 – 7 hours return depending on your speed
Elevation Change: 1029 m on the short loop, 1059 m on the full loop trail
Trailhead: Illecillewaet Campground off the Trans-Canada Highway
Trailhead Coordinates: 117°29’31″W 51°15’49″N

Good trail signage right from the parking lot
Good trail signage right from the parking lot

Hike description

The hike heads up a road from the campground and turns right. You’ll see signage for the trails in the area almost immediately. If you look left, you’ll also see the A. O. Wheeler Hut, run by the Alpine Club of Canada.

Head for the ruins of Glacier House, a 90-room hotel with a bowling alley and observation tower. It was operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway from 1887-1925, attracting people from all over the world. Swiss climbing guides were brought to the hotel in 1899 to take people up mountain peaks. The railway is responsible for building many of the steep trails in the area as access routes for the mountain climbers. When the railway no longer ran in front of the hotel in 1916, the popularity of the place declined and eventually closed in 1925. It was torn down in 1929. 

A short distance after you pass a noticeboard with the latest wildlife sightings and Glacier House, you turn right onto a signed trail for Marion Lake and Abbott Ridge. The climbing starts gently at first on a series of switchbacks through gorgeous stands of old rainforest. There are some monster big trees in this section. Reach Marion Lake after climbing 2.2 km over 425 m.

The ruins of Glacier House
The ruins of Glacier House
Pretty view along the Illecillewaet River
Pretty view along the Illecillewaet River
Description of the animal activity on the trails
Description of the animal activity on the trails
The turnoff onto the Abbott Ridge Trail is well marked
The turnoff onto the Abbott Ridge Trail is well marked
Hiking initially in beautiful temperate rainforest
Hiking initially in beautiful temperate rainforest
Don't touch the devil's club - armed with prickly spines
Don’t touch the devil’s club – armed with prickly spines – bears eat the berries

Marion Lake

Take the time to visit Marion Lake. It’s a scenic place for a refueling break, especially at the far end of the lake.

According to Parks Canada, the lake – which is more pond like, was named for the daughter of Reverend William Spotwood Green who climbed Mount Bonney back in 1888. Although we didn’t bother, there is a viewpoint you can visit high above the Trans-Canada Highway where you can watch the trains coming and going into the Connaught tunnel. The tunnel was built to protect the rail cars from Roger Pass avalanches.

From Marion Lake, it’s a short distance to reach a trail intersection. Go right for the short route up Abbott Ridge and left for the long route. We ended up doing a loop hike – going up via the shortest trail and back via the longer trail. (It adds 2 km to the day.) Just know that in the third week of July there was still one significant snowfield that would be dangerous to cross without an ice axe. We ended up crossing at the top of the snowpack – between the snowfield and the rock.

It's 2.2 km up to Marion Lake
It’s 2.2 km up to Marion Lake
There's a short route and a long route to Abbott Ridge
There’s a short route and a long route to Abbott Ridge

The Abbott Ridge trail above tree line

Once you break through the trees, the hiking gets very interesting. The trail heads for the ridge on an obvious trail through boulders and grass. When you reach the pond, you start up switchbacks, eventually going right around the end of the ridge. The views literally get better with every step.

On the day we did the hike, it was quite smoky but the higher we hiked the windier it got – so visibility improved immensely. It’s a very gradual climb on a good trail around the end of the ridge. Once on the ridge you follow it to reach a sign that says – end of trail – except it’s not and the good stuff lies ahead. Just keep following the well-worn trail until you reach the final blocks at the end. They require some scrambling – and our guide Alison said you should really be roped up to do it – so we turned back. 

We retraced our steps to the intersection where the short and long loop meet. This time we went right onto the longer route and enjoyed a different landscape than the one we’d hiked up on. The views of Mount Sir Donald were particularly compelling. 

The long route adds a few kilometres to the day but it’s more gradual and a good choice for anyone with knee issues. In July you do have to be prepared for a large snowpack blocking part of the trail. We went over the top and solved the problem. From there it was mellow hiking the rest of the way down.

Abbott Ridge stares you fully in the face once you break through the trees
Abbott Ridge stares you fully in the face once you break through the trees
Reflection in a pond beneath Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park
Reflection in a pond beneath Abbott Ridge; it’s also a good place to refill water bottles
Climbing towards the ridge before going around it on the right
Climbing towards the ridge on gentle switchbacks before going around it on the right
Looking down on the trail to Abbott Ridge
Looking down on the trail with Mount Sir Donald on the right in the distance
Looking down at the small pond and weather station in the distance
Looking down at the small pond and weather station – there is also a hut that is off limits to hikers
Gaining some height as we round the ridge
Gaining some height as we round the ridge under great conditions but be careful if its windy or snowy
Our guide Alison Dakin looking down at the Trans-Canada Highway
Our guide Alison Dakin looking down at the Trans-Canada Highway
Lovely climbing past wildflowers on Abbott Ridge
Lovely climbing past wildflowers on Abbott Ridge
Walking out in Abbott Ridge
Walking out on Abbott Ridge
What a view with glaciers all around
What a view with the Illecillewaet Glacier behind me
John enjoying the view
John enjoying the view
Our turn around point just before this block at the end of Abbott Ridge
Our turn around point just before this block at the end of Abbott Ridge
Descending the ridge
Descending the ridge
Heading for the snowfield on the longer route down
Heading for the snowfield on the longer route down
John pointing out the hole I need to avoid to get around the snowpack
John pointing out the hole I need to avoid to get around the snowpack
Getting around the snowfield by going over the top end of the snow
Getting around the snowfield by going over the top end of the snow; there were holes in the snowpack almost the size of a human I wasn’t interested in ending up in!
The longer loop is more gradual so you can focus on the views of Mt Sir Donald
The longer loop is more gradual so you can focus on the views of Mt Sir Donald
The last of the good views of Mt Sir Donald before we head into the trees
The last of the good views of Mt Sir Donald before we head into the trees

Map of the trail

Note Abbott Ridge near Marion Lake in the top left quadrant of the map.

Map of the trail
Map of the trail

Do you need a guide?

John and I were guests of nearby Heather Mountain Lodge for a couple of nights. They were kind enough to organize a hiking guide so I would understand the services they could offer other guests. John and I don’t usually need a guide to get around BUT we loved having Alison with us and learning about the area. Alison Dakin is Golden, BC-based and has been guiding most of her adult life. In the winter she is a heli-ski guide at the lodge and in summer she offers her own guiding experiences through her company Gamut Ventures Inc. She can be reached at al@uniserve.com. 

For people unfamiliar with the Rockies, or those who are nervous hiking in bear country, a guide is a terrific asset. They come fully prepared with a massive first aid kit along with a means of getting in touch with a park ranger if anything goes badly wrong. Allison also had maps, hiking poles, bug spray, bear spray, water filters…literally everything you would need. Occasional hikers who don’t necessarily have all the gear would also benefit from her easy manner and expertise.

It was a treat to spend the day with Golden BC based hiking guide Alison Dakin
It was a treat to spend the day with Golden BC based hiking guide Alison Dakin

Finding the trailhead

The trailhead is at the end of the road near the Illecillewaet campground, about a kilometre in from the Trans-Canada Highway. The Illecillewaet campground is well-signed in either direction on the Trans-Canada but it can be a bit tricky to access when you’re driving west, especially the first time you do it.

The Illecillewaet campground and trailhead is located 3 km west of the summit of Rogers Pass. If you’re driving east, you’ll simply turn right onto the road that takes you to the campground.

But if you’re driving west, you actually drive past the campground about a kilometre to reach a U-turn-Lane. Be sure that you’re in the far-left lane in advance and there is warning sign that a U-turn-Lane is coming up. Turn left into the U-turn lane and then drive east on the Trans-Canada, getting off when you see the signs to the campground. 

Important things to note

  • This is major grizzly bear country. Be bear aware, carry bear spray and know how to use it. It should be readily accessible.
  • On a summer day, you’ll go through a lot of water. We refilled water bottles at the pond below the ridge but you’ll need either a water filter or purification tablets.
  • Don’t forget a wide-brimmed sun hat in summer. 
  • Take the 10 hiking essentials.
  • Glacier National Park is on Pacific time, one hour behind Mountain time. Our car changed the time at the Alberta – BC border – way before it should have.
  • It’s hard to find a recent paper map of Abbott Ridge. Check out the Gaia GPS app.
Details of the Abbott Trail hike from the Gaia GPS app
Details of the Abbott Trail hike from the Gaia GPS app

Where to stay nearby

You can stay at the Illecillewaet Campground located 3 km west of the summit of Rogers Pass. It’s the only campground in Glacier National Park that is open right now and is available on a first come-first served basis. Check back with Glacier National Park for what campgrounds will be open in 2022.

The campground is also the trailhead for a number of hikes into the park.

A typical campsite in the Illecillewaet Campground
A typical campsite in the Illecillewaet Campground

Another excellent choice for a basecamp hiking experience is nearby Heather Mountain Lodge. It’s just a 22-minute drive to the east and is immediately off the Trans-Canada Highway. The dining experience is also tops!

We stayed in one of the two super cute cabins
We stayed in one of the two super cute cabins at Heather Mountain Lodge

Further reading about things to do in the general area

  • A Hike to Eva Lake, Mount Revelstoke National Park, BC
  • 11 Things to do in Revelstoke in Summer
  • The Most Unforgettable Walk You’ll Do in Golden, BC

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

The outstanding Abbott Ridge hike in Glacier National Park, BC

The post Abbott Ridge Trail in Glacier National Park BC appeared first on Hike Bike Travel.



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