Flying over the snowy Grand Canyon en route to Alberta
Feeding the birds, Old Chief in the background
On the morning of the 22nd, Jon told me to pack "a few things, just in case we hit bad weather" because he was taking me on a surprise (11th!!)anniversary excursion. When we drove past Calgary then turned west, I was pretty sure we were Banff-bound...
...but I had NO idea the plan all along was to spend the night, and at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise!!
Let's get a closer look at that view, shall we?
And since it's impossible to get an idea of the perspective from iPhone pictures/footage, here's a picture (not mine, obviously) taken from the mountain behind the hotel looking out across the lake:
Yeah, it's really that incredible. And these were two of the best days of my entire life, so indulge me a bit with approximately 20 more pictures of our stay.
Exploring the hotel. I'm including this picture just because it makes me laugh.
Grabbed a hot chocolate at the ice bar to try to warm up before our sleigh ride...
...decided we'd better wait inside until we absolutely HAD to go out.
Meeting Goliath. Aptly named.
All snuggled up and ready to go! It was almost a full moon that night so we could see the across the lake, the tops of the mountains, the (turquoise -- Lake Louise's water is renowned for its blueness) ice falls, and the snowcapped trees. When it was time to go back, the horses pulled the sleigh out onto the ice in order to get a proper turning radius. As we approached the turn-around spot, another sleigh was stopped out on the lake, black horses standing in silhouette against the snow in the moonlight, and it was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen in my life.
Thawing out my toes on the radiator post sleigh ride. This looks like a Captain Morgan commercial.
Fondue that night. We were instructed to wait for the first bubble before diving in, and I am nothing if not obedient.
Sunrise. See the rainbow on the ice rink??
Morning ice skating
The camera died shortly after this picture was taken. iPhones don't do well in 10 degrees.
Not a bad view at lunch
Then we had to leave :(
I thought these animal crossings (all over Banff) were delightful.
Checking out the Banff Springs Hotel on our way home.
Christmas morning selfie. I finally made Jon the Slytherin scarf he asked for over a year ago.
Jon and his sister combined funds to buy their dad some hunting gear for Christmas (I've circled him in this picture so that you can see him)
On Christmas Day we went snowshoeing in Waterton Lakes National Park.
A crapload of elk hanging out juuuuust inside of the safety of the park borders. (Let's dispel with this fiction that these elk don't know what they're doing. They know exactly what they're doing.)
Spot the chateau
Mostly frozen Cameron Falls
Taking a break on some Adirondack chairs
Wieners of Waterton. Always good for a laugh.
Unlike in years past, we didn't get to spend a lot of time with siblings and niephews this time. Kelsey+Family and Darcy+Family couldn't come at all, and Caylee+Family and Kenzie+Family only came for one night each (and didn't overlap with each other at all). Still, it was great to see who we saw, even for a small period of time.
During the short window she was there, Caylee took some portraits of Jon and me. This one's my favorite:
And it's a miracle we got any, considering that I only lasted about 90 seconds in the cold. (No exaggeration.) Thanks again a million times, Caylee!
It's over :(