A Tale of Two Wetsuits, Part One

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” — Ferris Bueller

I swear I blinked and somehow June and July happened. I’ve been on two international trips, enjoyed time on the mountain, soaked up some rays on the beach, and spent time in our nation’s capital. I had some once in a lifetime experiences this summer and learned a lot about myself in the process.

With so many amazing adventures this summer, I have lots of stories to share. Today, I’m inspired to write about my family vaca to Banff, Alberta, Canada, in July. Anyone who knows me well knows that I prefer tights, boots, and coats to shorts, tanks, and swimsuits any day of the year, so a trip to Canada in July was right up my alley.  

After a dreadful experience with cancelled flights, an unexpected overnight in Dallas, and 48-hours without luggage, we settled in for a week of fun in the picturesque Canadian Rockies. The beauty of this locale was that the hardcore hikers could do their thing while others could still experience the breathtaking scenery without strapping on a pack and wandering into the wilderness. 

Day one began with a gondola ride near Lake Louise. Halfway up we spotted several grizzly bear right off the bat. Banff is known as bear country so we were psyched to start out the trip with a bona fide bear sighting. 

We spent the afternoon canoeing Moraine Lake. Y’all, the water is really that blue. It’s ridiculous. The color results from the sediment that is continually deposited into the glacially-fed lake and the light that is refracted off of it. Despite the fact that John will tell you he paddled myself and Miles around the lake “Driving Miss Daisy” style, Miles and I did our fair share of paddling through the 38 degree water. 

So, let’s get to that wetsuit. The whole fam loaded up and we rafted the Kananaskis River with Chinook Rafting. The water was in the low 30s and had still been icy the week before. We were each issued a wetsuit, neoprene booties, a water resistant pullover, and helmet. A quick training session later, we embarked on our frigid whitewater adventure. 

Miles had the most important job, serving as wave blocker throughout our journey. John and I sat in the front of the boat, so we could be close to the wave blocker, and were told to synchronize our paddles so that the rest of the raft would stay in sync. Somehow we managed to do just that, while keeping ourselves and the wave blocker safely inside. Our fabulous guide, James, made every effort to ensure that we were completely soaked, whether we stayed in the boat or not. Wetsuit or no wetsuit, that water was cold! 

We were in Banff for July 4th, so we celebrated with a traditional American evening of bowling and pizza. It was so much fun and being that my family isn’t competitive at all, no smack was talked and everyone was a humble competitor. Right. Look closely and you will notice that the six-year old won. 

Y’all know my favorite way to explore a new place is through running. I enjoyed a great run through Tunnell Mountain, exploring some of the trails near our resort. While I packed for mild weather (I may have packed a pair of boots in each member of my family’s checked luggage), they were having a heat wave while we were in Banff. It was hot, but it felt great to get a run in. I even spotted some wildlife!


The culmination of our trip was a ride down the Icefields Parkway and a visit to Athabasca glacier. We rode the massive, all-terrain ice explorer bus to Athabasca and were able to disembark and walk around on the huge, 10,000 year old glacier. As part of the experience, we also explored the glass-bottomed Glacier Skywalk with amazing views of the Sunwapta Valley. 

On our final night in Banff, we visited the Fairmont Banff Springs after dinner. While driving past the golf course that borders the hotel’s property, we spotted a group of elk hindering some golfers on the front nine. As far as the eye could see, the elk were grazing and enjoying the nice weather and manicured greens. 

From water slides and all-you-can-eat buffets, to poutine and bear sightings, many a memory was made in Canada. Ferris wasn’t kidding when he said that life moves pretty fast. That alone makes special memories made in far off places that much sweeter. 

2017 Miles to Go: 446