Friday, September 7, 2018

Canada 2018 Report

I mentioned in my last Canada report that I wanted to go up to Canada during the summer and now it's finally a thing! I haven't been to Canada in over a year nor seen Cassia, so it was really great to spent over a week with a good friend and get some refreshing time away from home.

Day 1:

The trip to Alberta did not start out as great as I would have hoped--and actually turned out to be the roughest traveling trip I've ever had. I pulled an all-nighter since I had to leave home at 3:30am for the airport. I get to the airport and the check-in isn't even open till 5 a.m. so I could have just slept a little bit last night! So I just ended up playing PokemonGO until the check-in finally opened. I got this fella:

I have notoriously bad luck with security. I get stopped nearly every time I go through, so this time I was like, "I'm gonna do everything right. No change in pockets. Laptop out of case. Water bottle empty. I'm going to be golden!" 

Yeah, that so didn't work out.

First, they made me take out all of my protein bars. Then second ... I've taken my drawing tablet on many a plane ride and it's gone through with no problem. This time they sent my whole carry-on back because my drawing tablet was in there and they went through it ... Then sent it through ... Then scanned it with some little wand thing ... And it's like good grief can I just move on? It's just a freaking drawing tablet!

After that unnecessarily long security check, I got onto my flight and slept the whole way to Toronto. Then I had to go through security again because the Toronto airport was stupid and I forgot I filled my water bottle after I went through security in Atlanta (because I thought I was home free) and I had all of my liquids in a little plastic bag but it wasn't their plastic bag so they sent me all. the way. back to the beginning. And instead of going to a bathroom to dump my water bottle (Why I didn't think to just chug it I don't know, but the security lady seemed like the kind of person to not even let me do that.), I dumped it in the trash then put all of my stupid liquids in the stupid little bag. 

I finally make it through the line, I get on my flight, I sleep, knowing I'm almost to Alberta and I'm for realz done with security this trip then I go to the carousel to get my checked back and I find it like this ...


Thank God I had all of my stuff in that zipper part so I didn't lose anything, but it was still a bummer that my bag that I've only used twice got wrecked. Thankfully, WestJet replaced it. Thank you, West Jet.

Cassia picks me up and the rest of the evening is pleasantly uneventful. We ate salads at Chopped Leaf and I tried delicious chopped water. I need to do more water infusions at home. Then we did a taste test from snacks I'd purchased for Cassia to try from around the world like on GMM and we did Poppin' Cooking and made these beauties and ended the night with watching Summer Wars.

Day 2:

I slept in, so I was totally refreshed and Cassia and I got smoothies from Jugo Juice. So much yum! And we played some Pandemic which has now become my new favorite board game!

Also, this time of year is Canada's wildfire season so it was smoky everywhere and the sun looks straight out of the apocalypse. O_O

That night we went out to Edmonton's Fringe Festival where we saw fire juggling, I ate some blackcurrant gelato (delish!), we walked around the historical area, and did some shopping which included a chainmail bracelet from Cassia's relative's booth (Shout out to Get Twisted Designs!), an amazing awesome birds flying out of a cage tank top (Shout out to Whiteout Workshop!), a tiny glass mushroom (Shout out to Pixie Glassworks!), and a beautiful handmade ring!

Day 3:

Cassia's floof Ciro needed a haircut so we went to a groomer in the country so I got to see more of the beautiful Alberta countryside. Thankfully the rain cleared up the sky a bit!

Day 4:

Cassia had to work today so I mostly chilled at her work and finished my Patronus drawing! Though that night we played Just Dance in the rec room since no one was around. XD

Day 5:

Cassia worked this day as well, so I chilled and played around on my laptop, but that night we got sushi at Sumo Sumo! It's such awesome sushi and such an awesome atmosphere! I got a Sakura bubble tea slush, a Dragon Roll, gyoza, and tamago.

That night after church we went to 7/11 and I got some Clearly Canadian and a Crunchie bar! All the Commonwealth snacks lol. XD

Day 6:

We decided to go shopping and I got a big haul from Indigo, Roots, Miniso, and Rafters!

I love you, Asians, but y'all got some weird products.

Day 7:

We just relaxed on this day, played Pandemic and took a walk.

Day 8:

Today we headed west to Jasper, Canada for the big event of the trip: going on a tour to see Athabasca Glacier! Armed with Timmy's we drove four hours west and watched the prairies rise to foothills then mountains. 

We saw some cool things like a totem pole (not a legit one but come on it's my first one) and some freaky things like this Wendy's sign from Hell.

Then we reached Jasper National Park! It literally felt like driving through Skyrim. The creators must have taken some inspiration from here. The rivers, the mountains, flora, and fauna were all so beautiful. 

There are several lookout areas to stop at along the road and the first one we stopped at was Jasper House, which was the location of a trading hub about two hundred years ago. The trail to it alone felt like I was in a fantasy world and the river was just breathtaking. I had to keep telling myself all of this is real.

We also stopped at another beautiful river and saw some elk!

Then after checking into our hostel (more on that later), we visited the Jasper town. To be honest, it wasn't as impressive as the Banff town, but it was still pretty cool.  It had a super cool totem pole, I purchased a little star marble and rough jade inukshuk statue from a shop that sells art from local First Nation artists (I'll show pics of him later) for a reasonable price, and then we ate pizza at Fimosa's

With full bellies, we returned to the hostel to hit the hay since we had to get up super early the next day. Now I'm an extremely private person, I like having my own space ... that nobody else can breach, so staying in a hostel was a bit daunting to me, but it was cheap and I was trying to be adventurous. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad. I mean it was like staying in a summer camp for adults. Communal sleeping quarters and living quarters. Noise wasn't a problem for me at night because I just put my earbuds in and slept to "Skyrim Atmospheres." So in summary, it wasn't a bad experience. It wasn't my favorite thing ever, but I'd do it again if I had to.

Day 9: 

Cassia and I got up at 6 a.m. to go to the bus station where our tour bus would pick us up. We got to see the Rocky Mountaineer, a famous Jasper train, leave the station which was pretty awesome. Then our bus picked us up. Our tour guide was great. He was from Banff, loved rock climbing, and just had a great sense of humor. 

Our first stop on the tour was Athabasca Falls! Which were super cool and also scary, cause swirling death water. And the water is white from glacial silt in case you're wondering. Another fun fact for the Tori encyclopedia. 

Since we were timely tourists, we got to stop at an extra stop to see Mount Fryatt! It seriously looks like the Misty Mountains! And we got to have tea and cookies. ^ ^ Yummies!

Then we got another extra stop in front of Stutfield Glacier which is the first glacier of the Colombia Icefield! 

The tour guide also slowed down the bus so we could see Tangle Falls as well!

Then we arrived at the Athabasca Glacier (where we saw that awesome red plant which is called flame willow which is so going in my books)! We got on a snowmobile at the glacial moraine (which is the bottom where there's lots of rock) then we headed up to the glacier. The snowmobile was super powerful. We were driving at almost completely vertical angles at points! We also got to see crevasses along the way. There are ones on the glacier big enough to swallow a bus!

Then we got out onto the glacier! Don't worry it was totally safe. It was so cold but so beautiful. It felt so surreal being on ice that's been around for thousands of years, a natural formation that supports the park's ecosystem, so much power inside it. It was exhilarating!

Then we headed back down the glacier and to the Skywalk! It's basically this transparent bridge where you can look down into a canyon 2,o00 feet below. It was very cool but also very freaky. XD I'm not afraid of heights. I just don't want to fall or drop something valuable. Still, it was really cool! You could see lots of waterfalls!

Then after a hot lunch at the Glacier Center and perusing the museum we took a shuttle bus back to the bus station, picked up our car, and started the drive home.

On the way home, we stopped at Lake Talbott, which was yet another gorgeous site to see!

And we also saw some Bighorn Sheep! I really wanted to see these since I've never seen any in real life so I was so happy we got to see this mama sheep and her baby!

Beautiful skies graced the way home and we pretty much promptly passed out upon hitting our beds. XD

Day 10:

This was my last day and honestly, I was pretty sad. I could have stayed a few more days. I loved the weather, being with my friend, and just feeling safe and loved. After sleeping in, Cassia and I took a walk to a different part of her neighborhood and I took lots of pics of my inukshuk in different spots. He may just have to become a new traveling buddy since inukshuks are a symbol of safe travels. 

We ended the day by playing Pandemic (and winning a challenge combination that took us four times to beat) and watching anime and I tried Donair Poutine which I really like!

Day 11:

The next day I went home and thankfully this flight went smoothly and I enjoyed some yummy pizza from Blaze in Houston. Then I ended the night watching GMM with Lessy.

Overall, it was a great trip. I'm very glad I went and I already want to go back.

Have you ever been to Canada? Have you ever seen the Canadian or the American Rockies?

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