We got back to the States in early September and enjoyed a week’s respite before hitting the road again. We took the opportunity to spend the week apart, staying with our respective families in Washington and Oregon.
We headed east from Seattle to Idaho, where we enjoyed a couple beautiful 80+ degree days in the Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint areas.
From Idaho, we drove north to B.C. and Alberta. I’ve wanted to visit Banff National Park since the early 1990s, when my family had a CD-ROM golf video game that included beautiful Banff Springs Golf Club. I suppose I’ve heard a few positive things in the decades since, too.
Summer went out with a bang even before the fall equinox. One day, we were enjoying t-shirt weather in northern Idaho. Just a few days later, we were waking up to our van covered in snow!
My parents, who retired recently, joined us for the first week of the trip. Somehow, we’ve managed to invite them along for the most extreme weather we’ve experienced in our travels: first, during a spring heat wave in Death Valley, and second, a mid-September snowstorm in Banff. Whoops!
In spite of the cold weather, we had a great time exploring Banff, Kootenay, Yoho, and Jasper National Parks. The scenery is awesome, and we’re eager to return sometime when we can do more hiking and backpacking.
My parents (and the two of us, frankly) were burning out camping in the cold weather, so we made an unplanned detour to Calgary for two nights. We’re still spending all the hotel points I collected during seven years of work travel, and they’ve been great for the occasional break from nights in the van.
We drove south from Calgary to beautiful Montana, where we spent two days in Glacier National Park. The park’s glaciers may be disappearing quickly (they’ll all be gone by 2030), but the area should have plenty to offer for many years to come. The mountains, lakes, and wildlife were pristine.
Though I failed to photograph much in Montana’s more populated areas, we also had a great time exploring the western side of the state, including Kalispell, Missoula, and Bozeman. Missoula’s laid-back vibe and brewery scene were particularly nice; I’m lobbying Daniel that we settle there whenever we’re done traveling. (It probably didn’t hurt that we were there on the first warm day in two weeks.)
Ms. Montana from Montana Money Adventures kindly met up with us while we were in the area, and we had a blast hanging out with her and meeting her family. Their story of saving aggressively to “work optional” status, taking a year off work, practicing moderate minimalism, and finding their tribe has been inspirational for us. If you’re not reading the blog yet, check it out!