Jasper and Banff, Alberta, Canada

David had a long weekend off last weekend and since we had never been to Jasper National Park, we decided to make a road trip. It is about a good 8 hour drive from Saskatoon to Jasper. We got a late start and spent the first night in Edson, about 2 hours east of Jasper. We arrived in the Jasper Park around 9:30 the next morning. The scenery was gorgeous and we had to make several stops for “Kodak moments”. We both agreed that the best “Kodak moment” was the Bighorn Ram and his harem that we saw. We arrived in Jasper by late morning and started visiting some of the stores. We discovered that it was an odd time of year to visit the area. There was just enough snow on the ground that made the trails slippery, so hiking was not a good choice…don’t want to slip and hurt myself before the marathon! Many of the stores and the movie theater were closed as it was a downtime….a good time for owners to take a break before the ski and holiday season get into full swing.

Jasper has a real cute library. It was very cozy with the gas fireplace in the reading area. After visiting the stores, we passed the Bear Paw Bakery and decided to have a light snack. They had so many great items but I decided to “splurge” and have a raspberry and white chocolate scone with a cup of coffee. It was very good and as we were leaving the bakery, we noticed an article posted on the wall from Oprah’s magazine about the bakery and the raspberry scones! Since it was only 1:30 and not much more to do in Jasper, we decided to head to Banff, about 5 hours south.

Along the way, we did a short hike around Athabasca Falls. The rock formations, incredible blue water and sunny skies made it a pretty hike. After this quick hike, we continued to Banff. At the higher elevations, there was quite a bit of snow and we were glad that we had our snow tires on the car.

We arrived in Banff around 5:30 and were able to get a room in one of the downtown hotels for $75. This spring, when we were in Banff, our hotel was $150/night! Banff is much larger than Jasper and everything was open, even though it was off-season. We went out to dinner and talked about going to the movies, but ended up visiting the stores instead.

The next day, we visited the Banff Fairmont Spring Hotel to see if they were decorated for Christmas…unfortunately, they were not. We then decided to head back to Saskatoon. We stopped briefly in Calgary at the Olympic Park. Then we drove and we drove and we drove and we drove….on my gosh, it took forever to get back to Saskatoon! We arrived at midnight!

The rest of the weekend was very quiet. We visited the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and went to the new Christmas Carol 3D movie. It was a good movie, but I can’t imagine a small child watching it! At times, it was very, very scary! It was a nice trip and weekend.

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