By: Katie Goldie
Picking your next travel destination is never an easy task when there's what seems to be an infinite number of places that are worth checking off your list. Sometimes, though, you can't resist going back somewhere to explore a little bit further than the first time. Having been to Alberta twice before this trip (once in the winter and once in the summer), I knew first hand that it was home to some of the most incredible landscapes I have ever seen. It's one of those places that sticks with you and never ceases to amaze no matter how many times you've been. These world-class mountains have just about everything a photographer or traveler could be looking for. Not only are some of the most beautiful attractions easily accessible, but it also offers some equally incredible lesser-known views that you have to work for. The first time around what drew me to the Rockies were the incredibly varied mountain peaks and ranges, glacier fed lakes with colors more brilliant than any I had ever seen, countless overflowing waterfalls, and picturesque views around every corner. Now, it's truly a place I feel at home since I've become so familiar with the landscape. Many places struggle to live up to the idyllic scenes captured by skilled photographers, but this place leaves me with my jaw on the floor time and time again.
It's definitely true that there's not a single bad view in Banff National Park but some of my favorite moments are when I'm able to get away from the crowds and soak in the majesty all by myself. That's the beauty of Banff National Park - there may be tons and tons of people trying to take in the same views but there's always a way to get away from the crowds. Whether that means hiking into the backcountry or just driving to a lesser known spot, it's always possible to find somewhere quieter. The Oru makes this easier than ever and allows for new perspectives on views that you might've seen a million times. One of the highlights while in Banff was enjoying a quiet morning kayaking on Moraine Lake. During sunrise, the water is so calm and serene and there's a feeling of total stillness out on the water. Getting out on the water allows you to appreciate how grand this lake really is as you get closer to the trademark peaks that tower high above.
I also made sure that I had time for a visit to Banff's counterpart, Jasper National Park. Not as many people make it up here as compared to Banff but it is not to be missed. It all starts with one of the most amazing drives in the world, the Icefields Parkway. Driving through this world class mountain range is an experience I'll never forget. Spending time in Jasper is so much fun because it's such a charming small town and it's surrounded by so much amazing nature to be soaked in. Watching sunset here at Edith Lake was incredible and there was not a soul to be seen in any direction. Things tend to move a little slower in Jasper and that was fine by me after a whirlwind week exploring every nook and cranny in Banff National Park. Just as the trip was wrapping up, I was already looking forward to when I would have the chance to come visit again.