"My Discoveries": Canadian Rockies & Glacier Nat'l Park

Aniita Hafner

"My Discoveries" Guest Post by Anita Hafner

As a Discoveries Director with Country Travel DISCOVERIES, I love the excitement of being part of a tour group visiting a destination for the first time. As we set off on a journey of discovery with travel experiences that are personalized, different and real, some of my favorite destinations on the whole planet are right here in my own backyard.

I love the Canadian Rocky Mountains –- and I have a big backyard!

The vastness of the region is enough to move us into realizing how small we really are in the grand scheme of things. Although the majority of the peaks are not as tall as some in Colorado, for example, the vast volume of peaks squeezed together so neatly here is just mind boggling. When driving along the Ice Fields Parkway, we are graced with peak after peak of sheer magnificence. Each peak reaches up, tall and proud, dancing with the clouds in the sky. The area as a whole stretches beyond comprehension to the north, south, east and west.

St Mary LakeEvery time I am privileged to be in the Canadian Rockies and Glacier National Park, I take a big breath and just sigh for the beauty all around me.

Vibrant aqua colored lakes that seem surreal.

Big horn sheep and mountain goats gripping for their lives on dizzying cliffs high above.

Grizzly bears nonchalantly nibbling away at berry bushes oblivious to our gawks and stares.

These are enough for anyone to be enamored and mesmerized.

The Canadian Rockies and Glacier National Park are truly a paradise that keeps the visitor spellbound and speechless. The quaint little towns like Banff and Jasper act as service meccas for those curious travelers in need of replenishing and rest. Bustling with visitors and full of life, these little towns are burst with enthusiasm and excitement; even the locals seem to be on a perpetual holiday. Sleepy towns like Waterton Lakes (one of the less visited places by other tour operators and one of my absolute favorites), take one back to a time where life was simple. Deer stroll in the streets and nibble on the grass right outside your bedroom window. Then there is the Many Glaciers Lodge – one of the most remotely located places in Glacier National Park. This building is trapped in a time warp from the steam train era and a remarkable architectural creation of the Great Northern Railway Co. -- truly inspiring.

Banff Spring Hotel - Travel AlbertaHuman history has made its mark on the landscape. Yet, for all of the interesting bits and pieces of human achievement throughout the area, like the adventures and “discoveries” of Lewis & Clark, the Great Northern Railway building its empire through Glacier National Park, or The Canadian Pacific Railway creating the infamous Banff Springs Hotel (pictured to the left), the castle in the mountains, or The Going-To-The-Sun highway that crosses the “Great Divide,” what creates the lasting memories are the surroundings. The gems that shine the brightest are the natural beauties that greet us every morning and bid us good night at the end of each day. Nature’s bounty surrounds us at every step and every glance.

It is truly heaven on earth, my backyard. One of the most beautiful places on earth, really. I feel blessed to be a Discoveries Director traveling with you, our valued traveler. After all, where else will I see a Grizzly bear paw print on the window of a motorcoach on a dewy September morning!

 Big Horn Sheep

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This article originally appeared in slightly different form in the Country Travel DISCOVERIES Newsletter, RAIL & SAIL 2012Request a free subscription to Country Travel DISCOVERIES Newsletter

 

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