Our friends from California, Gregory & Anna Woodman, joined us on the trip and after flying into Calgary we headed out in our Treeline Outdoor tent equipped vehicles for our first overnight stay in Bow Valley campground. We ended up arriving to our campsite late in the evening but luckily the tents were super easy to navigate and we set them up in the dark no problem! Leading up to this trip the cooler weather forecast had me a little worried about freezing in a tent, particularly as our 3 year daughter Sydney was with us, but these tents were so cozy!! Being elevated prevented the ground temperatures from cooling the tent as quickly. The tent also comes equipped with a high density foam mattress which made for a comfortable sleep and with the thick duvet we brought we were warm all evening.
The next morning we headed out on our first adventure, a tour of the Canadian Rockies in the Kananaskis area with Rockies Heli Canada. The experience was completely incredible and so fun to watch Sydney experience her very first helicopter ride! The Canadian Rockies are spectacular from any angle and to see them from a birds eye view was a special experience. Our pilot landed the helicopter on top of a mountain and we had the chance to explore for around an hour and take photos. One of our hosts from Rockies Heli Canada explained that many couples on their wedding day will take a trip up in the helicopter for photos. They also plan other kinds of unique outings including yoga in the mountains. The impressive backdrop from this mountain top made for the most perfect photo, our family photo will be coming soon to a Christmas card near you!!
After our Rockies Heli Tour we headed out on the open road for our next photo op, Lundbreck Falls, in the Crows Nest Pass area. From there we headed to our next camp site in Waterton. After enjoying dinner at a local eatery, we found ourselves setting up our tents in the dark again! Seriously thankful they are so easy to navigate. You can also pack them up with your bedding inside so night 2 was that much easier with our bedding already waiting for us in the tent.
The founders of Treeline Outdoors were inspired to launch their company after one scary evening camping with a Grizzly Bear wandering around outside the tent. When we were setting up our tent that evening I heard an animal in the trees and Gregory saw animal for a few seconds pass by in the brush. While we were tucked in bed that night on two occasions I heard an animal below us and I’m CERTAIN it was a bear. Needless to say I was soooo happy we were cozy in a tent high off the ground, it made me feel so much safer. When in bear country like Waterton, I would have been pretty nervous in a tent on the ground, especially since the tenting area at our campground post labour day weekend was very quiet and ghost town like!
The following morning we enjoyed breakfast at our campsite before heading out to drive through the Buffalo paddock, where we saw some beautiful, huge Buffalos. We then adventured on to Red Rock Canyon followed by a hike up Bear Hump which overlooks the village of Waterton. This was the first hike Sydney had done and I was so impressed watching her practically run up the entire hike, she just killed it! The view from Bears Hump makes for the perfect photo backdrop with Waterton Lake stretching in the distance towards the border of Montana.
One of my favourite spots in Waterton Village was Larkspur Coffee, where over the course of three days we enjoyed tea, hot chocolate, coffee, muffins and bagels. Chatting with the owner, Cathy, I was so surprised to learn that following Canadian thanksgiving in early October, the village of Waterton shuts down for winter, with only around 40 locals living year round. Even the RCMP head out of town, with another local shop owner telling me they are the first to go ha!! I was so surprised to learn this as I had no idea the village all but shuts down until things kick off again each year on May long weekend. With cross country skiing, snow-shoeing and other winter sports to enjoy, I think Waterton makes for an awesome all year round destination. Luckily Waterton lakes Lodge does stay open year round and offers these type of activities which is a great winter option for those interested.
Waterton is not only home to gorgeous scenery but it’s also home to many animals and over the course of our time there we saw three black bears! During our last bear sighting, Scott had been ready to quickly hop out of the vehicle and run down to the beach for a photo op of the Prince of Wales hotel when I spotted a bear right at the water’s edge happily enjoying berries off a large bush. Thank goodness for that nano-second moment of considering whether this was the location we wanted for that photo or Scott would have run straight into our friend, big black bear!!! Morale of the story being, keep your head up and eyes open for bears. They are incredible to spot but so much better to enjoy for a safe distance or the comfort of your vehicle rather than surprise encounter! Ha!
We loved our time and Waterton and really had fun camping with Treeline Outdoors! Thank you to Travel Alberta for the memories we made on this trip.
An entrepreneur, creator, father & husband from Calgary, Scott Bakken is inspiring a generation of creatives to live their best life.