In June I went on the Mountie trip to Canada with Trek America. It was awesome. Brilliant. So good. But also, a little challenging.
I mean, camping for 8 nights? Who volunteers for that? Seeing the same people 24/7, really? No Wi-Fi, seriously?
TURNS OUT, they were three of the best parts of the whole Trek America Mountie trip.
New lifelong friends, who had to talk to me cos there wasn’t any Wi-Fi, and getting down to basics with a sleeping bag and a self inflating mattress, all became enjoyable once I bought a fleece and a duvet to add to our nomadic home.
It was a different holiday from the kinda luxury I didn’t really realised I’d become so used to. It was back to nature, to enjoying my surroundings, and trying new things in the glorious outdoors.
So if you’re looking for a different kind of trip to go on, here’s why I reckon the Trek America Mountie trip is an awesome one…
1. The helicopter ride
Riding in a helicopter over the Rockies is a total bucket list dream, can’t believe I got to do it. It was incredible. Seeing the Rockies below us as the helicopter weaved around the glaciers and mountains turned two of our group to tears. Our guide, Ralph, had piloted the helicopter for various films in the Rockies, including The Revenant.
What a guy.
I knew we were going to land for a hike, but wasn’t actually too sure of the details.
We landed in what felt like the middle of nowhere with huge mountains looming either side. Some (fools) hiked through the freezing cold glacial water, I dipped my finger tips and along with a few others immediately backed away and found a way round. No way was I spending the day with iced feet.
We ended up scrambling up to the top of the waterfall, looking up and down stream in pure disbelief at the beauty.
And then Ralph whipped out the Champers.
And we toasted to life, and the many, many decisions that brought us to be in that beautiful situation.
And then, after a few pics, we got back in our choppers and flew back, past the colourful Abraham Lake.
How could that NOT be my best moment of the Trek America Mountie trip?
Watch my Trek America Mountie trip on YouTube
* Yeah, they might be different best bits to this post, but genuinely 95% of the trip was AMAZING, so I have lots of best moments.
2. Sitting up the front with Heather
Heather was our leader for Trek America, and after five years of leading trips across Canada, she knows her stuff.
Day three and I sat up the front with her all day. The night before she’d told us how the Icefields Parkway was one of the most beautiful drives in the world, thanks to the surrounding rocky mountain peaks, icefields and vast valleys. Right, I thought, that front seat is mine. Got there early, bagged it. And then someone else decided they wanted it. Stood my ground though and got it back.
Yeah I was proud of myself.
So, Heather and I drove the Icefields Parkway together (with the rest of the group in the back, obvs). She told me stories from her lief in Canada. We talked about life on the road; our different but equally non conventional and crazy jobs. She was just so interesting, and so lovely to talk to. Heather genuinely wanted to share her beautiful country, and her passion for it, with anyone who wanted to hear.
Also, when I was up the front I managed to spot a bear, which we stopped for. Too exciting.
3. Lake Louise and Emerald Lake
I’ve seen so many pictures of these lakes on social media, it was emotional to actually see them with my own eyes, and to be on them. They’re the lakes often used for screensavers, they’re that beautiful.
We canoed across the Emerald Lake, and walked round Lake Louise. Honestly, no photo could ever do either lake justice from their real life beauty, but check these out for a try.
4. The first warm sleep
The first night of my Trek America Mountie trip I reckon I slept about an hour. One hour. It was freezing. I had my cheapo Mountain Warehouse sleeping bag, a self-inflating mattress… and every item of clothing I could possibly add on. At 4am I went to the showers to see if they were hot enough, and thanks to the heating in there, just stayed, sat on the sink cabinet.
Without a doubt, the coldest night’s sleep I’ve ever had.
So the next day I hit up a charity shop for a duvet and fleecey blanket – the best $10 I’ve ever, EVER spent. It still took another two or three nights, and a hefty sock purchase, for me to be warm. But gawd, the first night where I slept all night and didn’t get up for the toilet, was an absolute dream, literally.
I have a lot more to say on the camping part of the trip, but we’ll keep that for the next post shall we?
5. Big sushi night out in Whistler
Obviously nothing against the culinary skills of the group but eating off plastic plates, whatever can be done in one pot on the stove, or wraps, gets kinda boring. Day 8 and we went to a sushi restaurant in Whistler, which was some of the best sushi I’ve had outside of Asia.
Soooo good. And so much of it too.
Check out the video above for a pic.
We were on a set menu, an epic set menu which didn’t seem to end. Gawd it was delightful, along with as much Asahi beer as we could manage. I also had a cheeky little cocktail in the mix too.
And then we went to an Irish bar in Whistler, and onto The Keg. It was the end of the trip, everyone was getting on, up for a good time, and we’d gone nuts on the Asahi. Good vibes, drinking games and fun times.
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6. Climbing the Athabasca Glacier
Hiking a glacier – sounds epic, and it was. We hiked the Athabasca Glacier on the afternoon after the helicopter ride.
WHAT A DAY.
Once upon a time the glacier was huge, at least five times the size it is now. Thanks to global warming it’s shrunk considerably. We hiked for three hours to the top, learning about the Canadian glacier along the way. The particular highlight of this highlight was when we filled our bottles with water from the glacial stream (again see video above).
Tasted SO fresh and SO clean. Should bottle that stuff. I’d totally buy it.
7. Feeling the waterfalls in my face
Stupid TLC, telling us to not go chasing waterfalls – it’s SO much fun!
We saw many a waterfall on our Mountie trip with Trek America.
– Shannon Falls
– Takakkaw Falls
– Dawson Falls
– Moul Falls
My second favourite was Moul Falls, mainly because we had such a trek down there and could stand right by the falls. Some nutters went behind but I didn’t feel the need to get wet and then hike back up.
Not for me.
Instead, I just took pics stood in front of them.
First favourite: the one we sat at the top of after the helicopter ride, to drink Champagne. LUSH.
8. Drinking beers on the ‘day off’
So what are you gonna do with a rainy day off in Banff hey?
Go beer tasting and poutine and chicken wing scoffing at Banff Avenue Brewing Company, that’s what.
Emily and I needed some time to chill after 4 hectic days of travel, camping and sightseeing so while a few of the others passed the day on the WiFi at Tim Hortons (Canada’s number one coffee chain), others went up to the Sky Walk, we sampled the beers at the Brewing Company.
Lovely day. Lovely bar man. Tasty beers. Good company. Great poutine. Delicious chicken wings. Wall chargers. Good Wi-Fi. Great atmosphere. Warm and dry.
Just what I needed to increase the energy bar for the second half of the trip.
Also, if you’re in Banff. Make sure to pop into the Park Distillery on the main strip. We had the most amazing banquet feast in there, so… much… Canadian… food. YUM.
And if you happen to need anywhere for a great breakfast in Banff, check out this post.
9. Will and Heather
If you watched my YouTube video about the Mountie trip with Trek America, you’ll see that I decided our tour leaders Heather and Will were the cherry on top of all the activities and scenery. They were awesome.
Funny, encouraging, knowledgeable and entertaining, their enthusiasm made every adventure more fun and every road trip exciting.
It’s not normal for them to do a double tour leader trip, so we were really lucky, but I hope that if you do a Trek America trip in Canada, you get to go with one of these awesome leaders.
What do we think of Will and Heather?! THEY’RE AL-RIGHT. (In-joke, come back when you’ve done a tour and met them and we’ll talk again).
10. The group!
A camping trip like this definitely attracts a certain kind of person. Chilled, laid back, open hearted and open minded. Everyone on our trip was awesome, in their own little way.
With a Trek America trip like the Mountie, you need to really take part. You need to pair off in your tents, group together to make meals, and work as a team to get the camp set up and down every two days. This means you’ll get to know your fellow Trekkers more than if you were staying in hotels, as there’s no getting away from them.
With no Wi-Fi and no city distractions we were kinda forced together, and as far as I can tell, for the 9 days, everyone loved it.
Trek America Mountie Trip
I had an incredible time on my Trek America Mountie trip. I made friends for life, saw some of the world’s most beautiful sights, and got to helicopter, hike and canoe across them.
This was one of those trips I’ll never forget and I’d recommend it to anyone!
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