necessary adventure

The Great Lake

26092010


The whole of my life I wanted to travel to Lake Louise. I say travel but I really mean revisit. I had spent years holding onto a photograph of my sister and I, there with my parents, as babies and always felt compelled to go there myself. This little lake in the mountains is nothing short of spectacular as long as you keep your back to the rather unsightly Fairmount they built next to it. We spent a marvellous afternoon walking by the lake, wondering how different this place would look in summer time and thinking of a future where we would one day come back. This was worth driving 5000km for.

Hello Canada

24092010


We crossed the border at Coutts which was relatively unevental and were finally back in Canada but not even half way through the trip. We did go to Calgary but found it somewhat bleak and so after a sleepless night in a terrible hostel (it was way too cold to camp) we gave up on the city and headed for the Rockies. We made it to Banff by late afternoon and some very nifty hot-wiring got us a night and the infamous odd and strangely enchanting Banff Springs. We arrived to an engagement present of strawberries, a spectacular view and some of the best sushi I have ever eaten. We were pretty surprised to find a 5* sushi restaurant in the middle of the mountains but as I said, it was a pretty odd place but one that I am sure we will visit again for future anniversaries and giggles. 

*There was a token goat en route to the hotel and I felt I just had to include him!

Jurassic Park

12092010


Yellowstone is a little bit like Jurassic park. There are pots of bubbling sulphur everywhere and  a strong smell of apocalypse in the air. I have probably watched one too many disaster movies but it is no secret than when in the park you are walking across one giant volcano that is way overdue. That being said, the colours and smells make this park what it is and worth driving for. It is raw and ancient and full of adventure. From freezing for an hour waiting for old faithful, to standing on the edge of a giant frozen lake, I feel very lucky to have gone there off season and during the winter. I can only imagine how heaving it gets in the summer but our time in the park was blissfully isolated and incredibly peaceful. 

Tatanka

09092010


Yep, today I am dedicating a whole post to the Buffalos of Yellowstone. Wildlife in the park is a bit hit and miss but you will probably encounter the buffalos at some point and boy did we spot them. After nearly giving Will a heart attack when I spotted the first one, we then went on to spend a glorious afternoon befriending these amazing animals. We might not have spotted a bear but we did get to see these incredible creatures living peacefully in their natural habitat. They are incredibly unassuming and don’t seem to mind the tourists at all; especially if your patient when they block the road!

Ok I know that that is not a Buffalo but Mr Deer was looking rather lonely by the roadside and I had just enough time to whip out the camera and snap this rather cool picture of him!

Crazy Horse and other gentlemen

02092010


Despite wanting to make a beeline to Yellowstone, it seemed wrong to have driven all this way and not go and see Mt Rushmore. So we took a little bit of a detour and it made for a really lovely afternoon. We didn’t actually go into the sight ourselves. Its pretty expensive and you can see everything from the roadside anyway. And yep, it is a shockingly small as everyone says! However, if you keep driving through the mountains you will eventually come across a far more profound and elegant site. 

The Crazy Horse Memorial is located in the Black Hills. It was the brain child of Lakota elder Henry Standing Bear and created by polish sculptor Korczak Ziółkowski. It is the anti-Rushmore if you will, designed to represent one of the true heroes of the American mid-west. The whole thing has been created by blasting the mountain with controlled explosives and then carving by hand. Ziółkowski began the project in 1948 but sadly he died before it was even near completion. Will visited the memorial as a child and was always keen to return as an adult to see how much progress the family had made. There is still a long way to go and I am sure one day we will visit again with our children.
* I can’t believe how young Will looks here sans beard!
It was an incredibly inspiring afternoon in many ways. Firstly, being allowed to trade two cans of beans for the entry fee (as we were getting near broke at this point). Generosity like that doesn’t come round very often. Secondly, seeing the look on Will’s face as he revisited a place that had meant so much to him as a child and thirdly to learn about a family who really do embody a true sense of commitment to each other’s lifelong hopes and wishes.

After leaving the Black Hills we headed straight to Yellowstone, stopping in Cody overnight to drink $2 margaritas, eat the best waffles and check the weather forecast. Yellowstone had only reopened to the public that week and it was touch and go as to weather it would be too snowy to drive through. Thankfully we were giving the green light the following morning but it did make for some pretty hairy driving on approach!

Its probably now that I should explain the little bear which keeps popping up in our photographs from time to time. Bargain the bear has travelled all over the world with us. He is a lucky mascot if you will and if you are going to drive 10, 000km, a little bit of luck goes a very long way! 

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