Most of our trips with dad had a manic, crazy element to them. However, both trips to Alberta, Canada, the first in ’99 and the second in 2003, were close to perfect.

Both times, we flew through Denver to Calgary and rented cars, driving to gorgeous, surreal Lake Louise. In ’99, we stayed several nights at the Fairmont Chateau, and somehow happened to be eating breakfast at the perfect time with a picturesque, full view of the lake when the ice covering it dropped with a loud reverberating bang, revealing the intense turquoise water for the first time of the year. Apparently this happens every June and we were lucky enough to witness it! It was truly a memorable, once in a lifetime event.

We took the 2 1/2 mile hike up to the tea room above Lake Louise and had yummy soups and breads before descending the mountain. As we traveled the beautiful path, 7 year old Dillon said, “This is the best day of my life!” That same trip was when we visited Moraine Lake and Keenan who was 5 at the time decided to go on a hike by himself (see post Wise Old Hunter). He managed to terrify all of us for 10 minutes, when he came sauntering back from a trail claiming he wasn’t lost and he always knew right where he was. Keenan and Papa Jon celebrated their 5th and 63rd birthdays together at the Chateau (This was also the vacation when the hike featured in the G’day Mate post occurred).

In 2003, our youngest son, Tristan, was 2 1/2 and joined us at all of the same incredible sites. He fell while we were touring the historic Banff hotel, wailing like he’d broken his arm so Papa Jon sat down on the floor with him to make it all better. We also went horseback riding in Glacier National Park which was another experience of a lifetime. On both trips, the wildlife we encountered was fascinating. We saw moose, both black and grizzly bears, elk, and chipmunks were everywhere!

In 2003 on the flight back to Denver, I sat with Tristan while Mike and the rest of the family sat about ten rows ahead of us. Tristan was worn out from the trip and pretty much screamed and threw a fit the entire 2 hours. Yes, I apologize, we were that family. The stewardess kept telling me he needed to be belted in and I assured her I understood but was having trouble forcing his rigid body into the seat. Mike and the rest of the family pretended they didn’t know us and kept turning around saying, “Ma’am can you please quiet your child?” In true comedic fashion, Tristan fell asleep, knees on the floor, head in the seat, just as we landed!

The Canada family trips were probably the most seamless ones we ever took…no real mayhem! I’d have to say they were as close to perfect as is possible.

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