July 8: The parting day of the Hershberger reunion we were treated to breakfast made by John and Chris. It was quite good..of course. Before parting our separate ways we got in a picture of the great-grands with the Great-Grandparents. Christian was in his "cheeese" mode...really nice look for a natural smile, but at least he wasn't crying I guess.
We then spent the day with Phil and Diana. Sam had decided to join the Goertz's and the Penner's in going to the Calgary Stampede (An annual event in Calgary, about an hour away from where we were. To my understanding it involves shows, vendors, and the part that I would really have liked to see is the rodeo!). Don't get me wrong I would love to have gone to this, but I think it would've been a bit much for Christian to appreciate...maybe someday. I guess Prince William and Kate were there the day before for the pre-opening events. They had also been at Lake Louise area the day we were there...but had left by the time we arrived. So anyways, back to our day....we spent it with Phil and Diana! It was a rather gloomy, cool day...so we took it as it came.
We ate in Banff, at a place called Eddie's burger. It was really good. Ben got a jumbo sized burger with all the fixings and then some and I got chili cheese fries...which were not just your typical greesy sounding entree. They were really good..complete with cheese curds!
Next, we decided to head up to the Columbian Icefields..we weren't really sure how far they were away. But since it was cool, and rainy we weren't going to take in any hikes like we orginally planned around the Lake Louise area anyway, and Christian fell asleep...so we took the drive.
This is how crazy cold it got (34 degrees)...and it was SNOWING. Mind you, we did not prepare clothing wise for such weather. I had a paper thin long sleeved shirt and a vest. Ben had a long sleeve shirt. Christian was doing pretty well with lots of layers, and a sweatshirt, and a jacket, AND his blanket! I guess I should add, some of us WERE prepared..Diana was good to go in full on "sherpa" gear!
After about 3 to 3 1/2 hours of driving...we arrived. It was a beautiful drive, even if it was gloomy. There is just something about the massive mountains surrounding you that makes it feel so unreal. It was a totally different feel than any other mountain range I've seen or driven in..it felt so powerful! This was in the lobby of the center outside of the glacier. It was VERY cold when we got out, so we looked around a bit before deciding what our next move was. Christian enjoys this huge animal things..Mr Moose got a high five too.
Here's the glacier..this is just the "foot" of it that is spread out in between the mountains. Hard to explain. It didn't take long to realize just how dangerous it is if you try and "romp" around on the glacier. There were several displays of information and they all included how dangerous it is to walk on them. Several people have died by slipping in "cracks" that are next to impossible of getting out of, and then dying of hypothermia because the glacier immediately sucks the warmth out of your body. Pleasant huh. We didn't have any desire to test this out. And we didn't pay the $200 a person to ride the ice bus out on the glacier either...so we decided we could manage the short hike up to the foot of the glacier. We drove over closer to it, bundled Christian up, and headed out. He didn't mind a bit..he actually wanted to pull the blanket off of his face. IT WAS FREEZING! Oh my goodness. At one point in the beginning, Phil and Ben both said, are you sure you want to do this...my response, "yes, we drove all this way and we're this close to it..we are going to do this!"
"OH MY WORD....LET'S GO BACK NOW!!!!"
Once we got even near the top where the glacier began, it became SO very windy and the snow was biting down! I have to laugh just thinking about how ridiculously cold this was...artic tundra! None of us even went near to the glacier, we couldn't even open our eyes to see it...we went as fast as our frozen bodies could go back down. I was so shocked Christian didn't complain one time..he was entertained with the phrase "no way, Jose" and then by me turning around and asking if Diana was coming...he kept repeating her name very clearly "Diana?"
Ahhh...it was an experience. Can't say I need to go back...but it was definitely a memorable day! I still laugh, especially when I look at our faces in these pictures because it is exactly how it was...no dramatization necessary!
We finished our day with another great restaurant picked by Ben, "The Grizzly Paw" in Canmore ( I enjoyed their freshly "brewed" root beer!). We laid Christian down, I took a super long bath, and then we joined Phil and Diana in their room with the fireplace going! It just makes me smile to think that we were this cold in July and actually used the fireplace to feel cozy. Ahhh..it was a good day!