Canada or Bust, eh?!

In Our Life by GaryLeave a Comment


We recently got back from a family trip to Canada during Courtney’s Spring Break. We traveled through British Columbia and a tiny bit of Alberta to play and explore in the mountains. We traveled from Seattle to Revelstoke, BC in one big push. We drove over some crazy mountains and passed right through some insane thunderstorms, but we made it safely to the Revelstoke area… which is kinda like Bend Oregon 15-20 years ago, it’s a rad place full of adventure and beauty but without many people around…

Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-02 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-05Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-01 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-06 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-17

We stayed in Revelstoke with our friends Kirk & Kerilyn. We met their family last year down in Oceanside after they traveled from BC in their truck & trailer and set up camp at an RV park to surf and hang out for several months. We shared many beach days, backyard bbqs and countless surf sessions together down in SoCal, so it was a treat to be up in their neck of the woods and explore the area with them :)


For a fun day trip we took a lake ferry (which is free by the way, b/c BC is awesome) to go find a natural hot spring to hike to and show the kids.

Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-08Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-09 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-11 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-12

About a half mile in, there were three pools just sitting in the middle of the forest up on a hillside. We liked the top one the most – it was the hottest, but the cleanest and more private (less naked hippies, haha). Natural hot tubs, love it.

Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-13 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-14 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-19

One day we had a quick opportunity to go check out some horses in Revelstoke and do a little riding with both of the families and all of the kiddos. Our girls were beyond pumped (especially Charlie – horses are her jam).


After a few days of checking out the Revelstoke area (hiking, hot springs, mountain biking, horses, garage hockey with the kids, BBQs, a pool day, etc) we headed deeper into the mountains with just our family to stay at a rustic off-grid ranch in the middle of nowhere (kinda half way between Revelstoke and Banff).

To be honest, it was kind of a gamble. They had just switched management, and the person I was talking to in Calgary didn’t know much about the ranch or if it would even be fully staffed and ready or not (b/c it was kinda early in the season, which wasn’t their fault)… they didn’t even know if there’d still be snow on the ground or anything :) … so we kept our expectations low and booked it anyways. We’re so glad we did, it was a dream come true! Below is the view from our little cabin. We spent the next three days living in this rustic mountain paradise.

Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-21 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-22

About 20 horses roam freely around the property and would come to the coral in the mornings and evenings (which was right in front of our cabin). The girls couldn’t ever get enough. We visited the horses countless times and the girls enjoyed helping feed them in the mornings and evenings… and of course they LOVED riding them.

Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-23Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-24 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-25 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-26

We did some canoeing and fishing on the property. We literally didn’t leave for three days. We just enjoyed the ranch and the area. It was insanely peaceful. We were basically the only ones around besides a few staff (b/c of it being off season).

Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-27 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-28 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-29

Saunas are a big deal up north, and there was an old school one on the property. So we fired it up, why not! It took about an hour after we built the fire and it was super toasty hot. Then we’d cool off in the creek behind the sauna cabin. The kids were not big fans of the sauna experience. They just couldn’t understand why you’d wanna be that hot.

Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-30 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-31

Campfires and powdered donuts. The good life.

Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-32 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-33

Above: Charlie took this photo with our big camera, love it. Below: Charlotte got attached to two twin horses who were just the sweetest.

Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-34 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-36CanadaEh-84Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-35

After we left the ranch we made a few stops on our way to Banff. First up was Emerald Lake. The color of the water is mind bending, we can’t even imagine what it’d be like in the summer on a sunny day.

Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-38 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-39 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-40 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-41 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-42Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-43Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-44Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-45

Above: Made a quick stop at the famous Lake Louise. So beautiful, but pretty chilly still. We stayed at a normal little condo close to downtown Banff and made a few day trips around the area. One hike to a waterfall in particular was very cool (below)…

Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-46 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-47

Above: if you look top right, you’ll see the girls in a cave, and the image below is what it looks likes THROUGH that cave/tunnel – it pops you out right next to the waterfall. Pretty awesome.

Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-48 Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-50Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-49Canada-Banff-Alberta-Revelstoke-BC-Gary-Courtney-53

After our time in Banff, we headed back to the motherland of British Columbia (Invermere area) to stay at a friends lake house and unwind, it was the perfect way to end our trip. We fished, standup paddled, and even found some hot springs nearby. We just loved our time in Canada! We’ll be back to explore BC at some point soon! Banff was cool to see, but we liked BC a bit more, we need to explore more of it while we live this close.


Leave a Comment