Canada Part II
Updated: Apr 6, 2020
I've already told you about the beginning of our trip to Canada here. This post is about exploring Marble Canyon in British Columbia and dog sledding at Spray Lakes.
One morning at breakfast (of maple syrup smothered waffles, obviously) we were trying to decide what to do with the afternoon which we had free. After a bit of Googling we found that if we drove just over the border into British Columbia/Kootenay National Park we'd find a place called Marble Canyon. This hadn't come up in any of our pre-trip research, as I think we (like most other people) had just been searching in and immediately around Banff.
This worked to our advantage though as whilst we were there we saw only one other party of people. It was much quieter than Johnston Canyon, which is a bit of a tourist winter hotspot. A word of advice, winter/snow tyres are a legal requirement in British Columbia (which they aren't in Alberta), so if you're in a rental car check you've got the tyres you need. We already had ice cleats from visiting Johnston Canyon and they definitely helped grip in all the snow, but I think you could manage to explore round here with just a good pair of snow/walking boots.
Once out of the car we realised just how snowy it was. One of the bridges which would usually be above waist height only just reached my knees as there was so much snow built up.
The water was just the most amazing aqua blue, set off by all the white of the surrounding snow. Without a clearly defined path to see where previous people had walked before us and compacted the snow, every now and again one of us would disappear up to our knees in a snowdrift of soft powder. Luckily it's so cold and dry that the snow just brushes right off!
I found myself a good vantage point to sit and take it all in, although I had to dig my way into my seat! With the sun just pushing its way through the clouds and the stunning Rocky Mountains in the background, it really was a breathtaking view.
The following day was our last full day and the snow really came down, but we didn't let that stop us getting out and about. We had an early start to get to Canmore where we'd be picked up for our sledding tour. We chose Snowy Owl Tours due to their really good reputation, and they teach you how to mush too!
I'm not sure if I've ever had so much fun and been so cold simultaneously. And I mean cold. Our tour was only an hour of sledding and I'm not sure I could have managed much more, despite having approximately a hundred layers on including ski jacket and pants. After a drive up the mountain we had a quick lesson on how to command the dogs and drive the sleds. George was raring to go so I sat in the sled first whilst he drove. The dogs are incredible and listen so carefully for instruction. They need loads of praise and love as a thank you (which I was happy to provide!)
I think my favourite part was racing over a frozen lake where you could really pick up some speed, but I was ready for hot apple cider and brownies to warm up when we finished!
On our final evening we headed in Calgary for the Flames vs Rangers ice hockey match. The roads were a bit treacherous due to the heavy snowfall and we saw numerous cars that had come off the highway. Kudos to George though he got us there and back in one piece! The hockey was great, American sport is so different to English. It's just as much about the entertainment as the actual match, which always proves to amaze/amuse me!
The day after we flew home after popping in to visit some of George's family who live in Calgary.