The Hire Car

So what does $17 per day get you?

A newish Doge CaliberThe Dodge Rental






Capable of climbing steep Canadian mountiansRental Car in mountains 







that can also be used as a esky or as the locals say ‘icebox’
Our Car


Perfect for all road conditions, including a new one to us Australians… stupid crazy blizzard.

And I only tried to get in the passanger side twice and put the windscreen wipers on instead of the blinker about half a dozen times.  We had a great weekend away though, I hope you enjoyed reading about it.



Return to Peyto

Peyto panorama – winter
Originally uploaded by simmogem.

Long ago Gemma and I had decided that we wanted to return to Peyto lake and see it in the winter. We were so awestruck with Peyto lake the first time that we had to see the contrast of the change in seasons. I’ve even had a 12×24 inch print made from the last photos I took (has that arrived home yet dad?).

Now it is actually only Autumn at the moment but after hiking through snow 2 feet deep in places I don’t believe we could have seen it at all if we had waited any longer. Not only was the walk more difficult but it was also longer due to the top carpark being closed.

The trail to the lookout used last time was well and truly covered with snow. Another group had obviously tried to make it earlier in the day but turned around as we followed their footprints most of the way before making our own trail to the rocks that we had eaten lunch at a few months ago.

Without the blue sky and with much less visability due to the falling snow the photos aren’t quite as impressive as last time but I’m very glad we drove the extra distance and battled through the snow. I’m also very proud of Gemma who every 12 meters told me we should turn back as it was too dangerous and even threated me with ‘If my mum knew what we were doing’. She made it in the end though and I think is gratefull for me dragging her along.

Here is a link to the same photo taken a little over forr months ago for those that would like to compare.


Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake

Originally uploaded by simmogem.

After a hearty breakfast at Bruno’s bar and grill just off the main street of Banff, Gemma, myself and our trusty Dodge (you can picture the General Lee from Dukes of Hazard if it helps) headed back into the mountains.

We had a tip off that a place called Emerald lake was worth a visit and would provide a good destination for a short walk. So about an hour in the car and we were back in British Columbia (don’t tell Budget Rentals).

We walked about 2kms around the lake before turning back. The view from the parking lot is actually much more picturesque than from the other end of the lake but it was nice walking in the crisp pine scented mountain air.


Living it up in the Fairmont

Fairmont Banff

Originally uploaded by simmogem.

When visiting Banff the place to stay is the Fairmont Banff Springs so what can I say, I am a girl with expensive taste! Here is the view from our room, in fact this is the view when you sit up in bed and sip your hot morning coffee – not bad at all.

The highlight was the ultra heated outdoor pool. I never expected to be in an outdoor pool when the air temp was hovering around 2 degrees but I tell you it is very relaxing and refreshing all at the same time. Also it is quite a novelty when a caribou (deer) wandered about the pool edge munching at grass.

The hotel is like a huge castle and inside there are a number of rooms with plush lounges and arm chairs just begging for a good book and a long afternoon. The WIlliam Wallace room was particularly nice with its dim lighting and roaring fire. On our last night SImon and I treated our selves to a port and a coffee in the Rundle Lounge … ahh the good life.

Thanks Penny for the good deal, Mum and Kimberley for the little treats and to the Lawrence’s for what was a very memorable birthday experience!

Bow River, Canmore


Bow River Canmore
Originally uploaded by simmogem.

This weekend Simon and I hired (or as they say here ‘rented’) a car and headed back into the mountains for a weekend of touring. Our first stop was the hamlet of Canmore, set in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

We had set off early and were a bit peckish so the first stop was the Coffee Pot and Curry Spot, where, as the name suggest, one can only really get coffee and curry. With a pommy cooking curry in the kitchen and singing at a volume audible out the front you can imagine I felt right at home.

Refreshed we donned beanies and gloves and took a walk around the shore of the Bow River for a better look at the mountains. Simon spotted a wolf on our short walk but it darted into the bush before we had time to take a photo.

Before we left Canmore, in what can only be described as good navigating, I had us off the beaten track and heading up into the mountains. Suffice to say we put the hire car through its paces on the unsealed roads and Simon was able to take a good photo of Canmore from high above.


Back in Banff


Wendlin and Sandra
Originally uploaded by simmogem.

After our Moose Tour up to Jasper we returned to Banff for two nights. We did not do much in Banff, except a bit of shopping in town. Banff is a bit of a tourist town, lots of souvenier shops and places to eat all in the ‘Swiss Chalet’ style that is customary of ski towns.

On the second night we went out to a noodle house for dinner which was very good and then retired to the hostel for a quick dip in the hot tub with our Swiss buddies. Tomorrow Simon, Sandra and I wil jump on another Moose bus for Calgary and sadly Wendlin will head back to Vancouver and then Switzerland. We shall miss his slushies and funny sense of humour. Leealleee!

– Gemma

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Originally uploaded by simmogem.

**Before you continue. Make sure you have read the post below on Peyto Lake. You will understand why I seem a bit uninspired by Moraine lake then.**

Our last stop for the day and we were very much exhausted. I managed to drag myself up a mound of rocks that was left by a glacier to take this photo while gemma had a rest near the lake.

On any other day we would have been stunned by this lake but at the time it seemed fairly tame. I guess Peyto is a pretty hard task to follow.

Off to Banff now and a well deserved rest.


Peyto Lake


Bryan, Simon and Peyto
Originally uploaded by simmogem.

What can one say about Peyto Lake other than breathtaking.

Instructed by Bryan that while walking to our lunch destination no one was to look to the right until we reached the point seen in these photos or they would be cursed with bad sex for the rest of their life. Regardless whether you believe such a thing to be true or not, you do whatever a 6 foot 11 inch tall man says. We must have looked quite a site walking along the mountain trail sheilding our face to the right, but nobody else was there to see it… apparently this viewpoint is a ‘moose secret’.

I can’t remember what Bryan was pointing to in the photo, but he was most likely saying something along the lines of ‘someone died over there’ which has been the case at almost all of our stops.

Gemma and I agree that this would have to be our favourite place in the Rocky Mountains. We relaxed here for about half an hour following our lunch with very few words spoken, just absorbing the views of the intense blue lake and snow capped mountains.

Make sure you click the photo to see some of the others. There is even a shot of a chipmunk that managed to stay still long enough for me to capture him.


Parker Ridge – The long walk back to the Van

A good start to the morning – a forty minute hike upwards!

After hiking 2.4km we rose 247m – not bad for this old girl, and to prove I actually did it, there I am in the black jumper. I must admit it I didn’t find it easy, toward the end Laura (other girl in picture) and I were huffing and puffing. Simon graciously informs me that my shortness of breath was probably due to the elevation of 2270 metres and not that I am unfit – he is so kind.

Great views though and the wild flowers on top of the ridge are very pretty.

– Gemma

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my!


Originally uploaded by simmogem.

Well not quite lions and tigers but certainly a bear. On our way out of Jasper, after having rejoined our Moose Tour, we happened across a bit of Canadian wildlife.

The first was an Elk, I think one of the most elegant and beautiful animals I have seen. Truth be told we almost ran it over! It stalked out across the road quickly and Bryan hit the breaks just in time for it to continue on its way without any hesitation.

Next was our friend here the black bear. Wendelin, who was sitting in the front seat (as navigator) next to the only opening window took this photo.

We have also seen lots of squirrels and chipmunks.