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Canadian Rockies Summer Vacation

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Canadian Rockies Summer Vacation

Snow-capped mountains, turquoise lakes, glacier-fed waterfalls, pristine rivers, scenic mountain roads with views around every corner, glacier-packed ice fields, an abundance of wildlife, and much more can be found in the Canadian Rockies; the Banff/Jasper area specifically. No filter needed. If anything, pictures do no justice to the natural beauty of the area. For years, a Canadian mountain vacation was at the top of my bucket list. I finally had the opportunity to go: I fell in love. The landscapes are picturesque, the days wonderfully long (5:30am sunrise and 10pm sunset), the weather heavenly, and the people genuinely friendly. As an additional perk, as if it were needed, national parks have free admission for 2017 in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. My only regret is that 6 days was certainly not enough to experience all this wonderful area had to offer. Below are some of my favorite pictures from our time in Canada.

We flew in on a Tuesday and the first day was spent handling travel logistics and getting acquainted with the area. Then the fun started! We spent our first day driving to Glacier National Park – Canada, did some hiking, then headed to Radium Hot Springs. The mountains were beyond beautiful and we saw a mountain goat! I was so excited and loved it so much we didn’t return to the hotel until 1:30 AM! I prefer the more isolated areas versus the more touristy areas so this was right up my alley.

The next day we hung around Banff. We caught a gondola ride up to Sulphur Mountain. The mountain is home to a variety of wildlife and offers great views of Banff.

We then made a trip down to Lake Louise. I will confess that Lake Louise is very beautiful, just as it is appears in photographs, but it is a bit touristy. I preferred Bow Lake. It was another fantastic day and we were able to capture some great family photos with this natural, gorgeous backdrop.

Then the most memorable day arrived! My husband and I did the Mt. Norquay via ferrata Ridgewalker mountain climb. It is definitely one of the best adventures of my life; right up there with scuba diving in Cozumel, snorkeling in West Bay Beach, Roatan, Honduras and rafting the Royal Gorge in Canon City, Colorado. The views were spectacular and the experience of the climb was exciting. Reaching the top, and then walking the mountain ridge, was beyond words. I highly recommend this experience to all who plan on traveling to the area.

norquay via ferrata

Even the roads up the mountain were beautiful!

We also spent a portion of that day checking out Bow Falls, the Banff Springs hotel and walking around Banff.

Our last day was spent driving the Icefields Parkway to the Athabasca Glacier at the Columbia Icefield. If there is only one thing you can do in the Canadian Rockies, I would suggest this. It is something everyone can do and you will experience all the beauty the Canadian Rockies are known for along the parkway. Besides the beautiful lakes: Bow and Peyto, the glaciers, mountain ranges and waterfalls, expect to see wildlife. We saw two bears (no worries we weren’t that close to the bear as we respect their space)!

icefields parkway bear

And here’s a photo of Calgary (where we stayed):
It went by way too fast, but I was able to capture at least a bit of it in photographs to forever be treasured. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to visit such a beautiful place. God spent a little more time on Canada….and we share a birthday!!! Happy 150th Canada!! Thank you so much for an unbelievable week!

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Bayou Wildlife Zoo in Alvin, Texas

Bayou Wildlife Zoo in Alvin, Texas

Genesis 1:25 “God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.”

I will be blogging more about fun, interesting things to do in Texas. I am a huge animal lover and luckily for me, my family is too! I wanted to take my kids out to the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch near San Antonio, Texas but being that we live in the Houston area we decided to try out the Bayou Wildlife Zoo in Alvin. This is not only for little kids. My “kids” are 11 and 14 and they enjoyed it just as much as us adults. I have not been to Natural Bridge, so cannot compare this ranch to that, but I will say it is very enjoyable and an alternative for those who live in, or are visiting, the Houston area.

As you drive into the park you have the option to purchase a bucket of food for $2.50. The animals will approach your vehicle as you make your way to the parking lot. You can feed them from your vehicle or wait until you board the tram that will take you on a tour of the ranch.

Here are some antelopes that approached us as we were leaving the park:

03IMG_5023The ostriches were the most eager to be fed:

0IMG_4772bMale Ostrich02IMG_5028The camel was so friendly! I am not sure if we had the best seats on the tram (at the very front) or if animals sense fear or simply know which people love animals, because all the animals approached us. The camel was on the complete opposite side and walked all the way around the tram and up to us πŸ™‚

04IMG_4920b05IMG_4910Watusi Cattle:

09IMG_4878The Zebra was not hungry but still came up to us:

10IMG_4953How cute is that face:

07IMG_4802There are giraffes, water buffalo, rhinos, llamas, wildebeest, deer and crocodiles too! This is a definite must-see attraction if you love animals and want a more up-close experience than what you get in a typical zoo setting.

Luke 12:6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.” [God values all life]

ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE – BELIZE

ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE – BELIZE

For our Belize excursion we did the Maya ruins at Lamanai and the New River Safari. I think most people who enjoy history and wildlife would enjoy this excursion (the bus ride to the river can get exhausting and does not go through the most scenic/beautiful parts of Belize and this excursion will take all day). For those who aren’t into history or want more scenic options, there are beach and cave tubing excursions as well.

Below are some pictures of the wildlife we saw along the New River:

New River Belize_MG_0581 _MG_0592 _MG_0611The Jaguar Temple at Lamanai:

_MG_0663 _MG_0667What’s left of a Mayan calendar:

_MG_0699The Ball Court (interesting but kind of creepy at the same time):

_MG_0710The High Temple:High Temple Lamanai Belize _MG_0714 _MG_0739It doesn’t look like a workout but it is (you only have a few minutes to climb):

_MG_0742The Mask Temple (I declined a picture next to that creepy mask lol):

Mask Temple Lamanai Belize_MG_0750Some of the locals along the New River:

_MG_0757Did I enjoy this excursion? YES

Would I recommend it? YES (if you enjoy history and wildlife)

Would I visit more Maya ruins/temples? Absolutely!!!!

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