Growth Through Travel

Shaun Guimond
Shaun Guimond
Posted underTravels

The last month has been very hectic. Caroline, my fiancé, was offered a job working as a dietitian in Vernon, BC a little over a month ago. Having lived exclusively in New-Brunswick, it was a big decision for us to move to any province, let alone, to the other coast. We had been hoping for this moment, applying for jobs in other provinces and talking about it for many months, but actually having the opportunity is scary. I believe that we both wanted to move even though it did scare us, because we wish to grow and experience more than what we would have by staying in New-Brunswick. For that reason, we ultimately decided that she should take the job and after only a couple of weeks of packing, we left on June 30th of 2018. We chose to drive from coast to coast, exploring our beautiful country in 11 days.

Leaving from Saint John, our first stop for the night was Montreal, where we enjoyed the warmest hospitality and tried to cool off as best as we could from the boiling weather.

View at Sainte-Anne-de-Belles-Vue

We then enjoyed Canada Day in Ottawa, ON, celebrating our pride for our country. It was a blazingly hot day, feeling like 47 degrees, but nothing was going to stop us. We walked about 20 kilometers in the city; enjoying the architecture, the view of the Rideau Canal, the events, and so much more. We ate a great meal at Pure Kitchen Ottawa before heading back to Parliament Hill where we sat on the grass and watched the concert. Listening to great Canadian musical artist such as Lights, The Dead South and Ruth B. Afterwards, the fireworks lit up the night sky behind Parliament Hill creating a beautiful backdrop that we will never forget.

Fireworks at Parliament Hill for Canada Day

From Ottawa, we travelled to Algonquin Provincial Park hiking for the day. We did a few small hikes to see as much as we could. One, named Lookout Trail was short, but fantastic.

The next morning in Algonquin, we left early, reaching Sudbury to enjoy a lunch at Tucos Taco Lounge and to see some of the neighboring area. After enjoying some great vegetarian food, we continued our trip to Pukaskwa National Park. The park is very secluded and offers the most beautiful beaches: white fine sand, very clear water, with hundreds of washed up trees give the beaches an atmosphere that we won’t soon forget. Personally, my favorite morning was hiking and finding those beaches the next day.

Beautiful beach at Pukaskwa National Park

After enjoying the hike, Sleeping Giant National Park, was our next stop. Driving along the northern coast of Lake Superior you can sometimes forget that it is not an ocean. The lake is so vast that it is mind-boggling and the height of the hills along the way allow for such wonderful sights that it reminds me very much of driving in Cape Breton. Arriving at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park we were greeted by a black bear (from a safe distance) and slept with the Giant.

Black Bear at Sleeping Giant National Park

The next morning, the Giant continued to slumber, and we pressed on towards Winnipeg. Thunder Bay was the first major city since Sudbury, so we decided to pass through it quickly. It was nice, but we were on a mission to reach Winnipeg, so we did not take much time to enjoy it. The closer we got to Winnipeg, the flatter the landscape became. It was both beautiful and eerie to be able to see in all directions with no hills in the way. The canola fields were in full bloom and made the entire area look vividly yellow. Once in Winnipeg, we enjoyed the downtown core; specifically, the Forks and the Johnston Terminal. We ate at Boon Burger for dinner which was very good and ended our night by visiting the Outlet Collection Mall which was very modern.

Large sign spelling Winnipeg

From Winnipeg, most of the trip to Regina the next day was much the same. Once we reached Regina, it was like Winnipeg in some ways, but not as populated. We went to a few malls, walked in the downtown core, visited the Science Center and went into two of their libraries. Out of all the activities we did, the libraries were the highlight of Regina for me. The libraries seemed to be very well organized and as I love reading, it was just relaxing to go through the selection.

Canola fields in bloom in the Canadian Prairies.

We woke up around 5:30 that morning in Regina as it must have been around 30 degrees already and we were boiling. We decided to head out since we could no longer sleep and the sooner we left the more time we would have in Calgary. After leaving Regina, the drive is very much the same as any other drive in the prairies. As soon, as we hit the Alberta provincial limits, we were hoping for a change of scenery, but that did not happen. The prairies continue up until Calgary, which made for a long drive. Arriving closer and closer to Calgary, we became aware of the city first, then of the shadows past Calgary. Those shadows were the Canadian Rocky’s and the city of Calgary had such a magnificent view of them. The city itself is beautiful and we just happened to arrive while the whole city was celebrating the Stampede. We decided that night that we would come back to Calgary and visit for more than only one day.

Bridge in Calgary

We left Calgary the next morning anxious to head into the mountains. Our next stop was Banff National Park and we wanted to make sure we had enough time to visit as much as we could. Just before the park, we visited Canmore as it had been a city that Caroline had been dreaming of visiting. After Canmore, we headed into the park, going to the Hoodoos, the city of Banff and Lake Louise. The whole area is unlike anything else in Canada. The beautiful crystal blue lakes, with the mountains in the background create a picturesque view from anywhere. We decided to only do a short hike up Little Beehive for a total of 9.6 km. It gave fantastic vantage points of the valley and of Lake Louise. Overall, we were captivated by the park and we were looking forward to exploring a bit more the next day.

View from the Hoodoos Lookout

We had decided to sleep at Castle Mountain camping and to place an alarm to wake up at 5:30 am as we wanted to visited Moraine Lake. It had been closed off the day before because of congestion, so we packed up and went on our way within fifteen minutes. We arrived around 6:15 and already the place was packed. We found one of the last parking spaces and explored around. It was beautiful! We walked around, taking pictures and just breathing it all in. A little later, we decided to head over to Yoho National Park as Caroline had heard of another lake named Emerald Lake. After exploring the three lakes, I would argue that Emerald Lake is the most beautiful of the three. It is a must see and we are looking forward to going again one day. During the same day, we also visited Takakkaw (magnificent in Cree) Falls and Wapta Falls. Both of the falls were inspiring and I recommend everyone to visit them.

People Canoeing in Emerald Lake

That night, we slept at Hoodoo Creek Campground and left the next morning towards Glacier National Park. We had planned to spend the day visiting Glacier National Park, but we changed our plans as it was raining, and we were a bit tired from our journey. We were only a few more hours from Vernon, BC, our new home, so we decided to head there directly. We were so curious to visit the city and to see our new apartment. Once we arrived, we were happily surprised by how nice the area is and of our new home. Everything is still new and exciting, but I have a feeling that even after that initial phase, we will still love it here.

View from our home in Vernon

So, ended our trip across the country. We had a blast and are already planning to visit Vancouver, Seattle (my dream city to visit) and Hawaii. We started this journey like any other, with some self-doubt and anxiety of the unknown. We persevered though, because we both wish to grow together. To learn, to experience, to become more than we are, because at the end of the day, what else is there?

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