Big Trip (Days 30-35)

This leg of the trip has truly shown us that we’re not cowboy enough for Montana and Wyoming. Chacos with socks and hiking pants obviously don’t jive with local fashion, so here’s to sticking out like a sore thumb.

Day 30:

We woke up and headed to Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort. However, being the unemployed vagabonds that we are, we were not willing to pay $60 for the Peak2Peak Gondola. So, we rolled out and started on our long trek to Banff National Park. I was getting very excited about seeing the picturesque Lake Louise (although Evan had something else in mind).

It sounds like a lazy day since we did nothing but drive. We did stop for ice cream at a farm in the middle of the Canadian boonies which was delicious. We pitched our tent in Revelstoke for the night at a nicer campground which meant showers for the first time in about five days.

Day 31:

We drove some more…blah blah blah. Exciting part: I probably broke Evan’s eardrum screaming with stoke about seeing big horned sheep and mountain goats on the side of the Canadian highway.

After Evan nearly slapped me, we showed up to a ski resort. Fancy, I thought, it’s called Lake Louise Ski Resort. So, I turn to Evan and I ask if we’re now going to Lake Louise. “We’re here,” he said.

We start going back and forth with him saying this is it and me yelling at him for not understanding that there’s a Lake Louise. Finally I yell, “the collection of water, Lake Louise! It’s a lake!”

Longer story short, I made him realize their was actually a pool of water abutting some mountains. We saw it and it was pretty. You’re welcome, Evan.

On our drive after viewing the collection of water, we ended up at a restaurant in Fort McLeod. The only other people in the restaurant were two separate couples. Who, as we found out, just happened to be raised in the same town in England as one another. One couple was telling us about their recent road trip to Illinois and Indiana. Evan and I were confused as to why someone would fly all the way over to the states to explore flat corn land. I purposefully didn’t go to the University of Illinois partially because I was bored out of my mind on the drive over. They claimed they wanted to see “normal America” which I don’t believe is a thing to be honest. It was cool they wanted to see the more dull parts of the states to really get a feel for every kind of area we have here. So, yay for exploration.

Bellies full of garlic bread, we couldn’t seem to find any non-sketchy campground. So, we decided to just continue over the border and snag a campsite in Glacier National Park. The U.S. border patrol guy wasn’t believing us that we didn’t have firewood, and made sure to quadrupole check my face against my passport. After all his questions, though, he was stoked to talk to us since it was late, no one was behind us and he used to live around Pittsburgh.

We made it to Glacier around midnight, and had a lovely time sleeping in our car again since we got to the campsite so late.

Day 32:

Apparently not planning well, we decided to hop back over the border into Canada’s park that feeds into Glacier, Waterton National Park. We saw another bear and some red rocks before heading back over the border where we saw another salty U.S. border patroller. She asked us if we had written permission from our parents to use the car they had given us (among other weird/unnecessary questions). I can’t imagine how hard they must be on people when they decide to turn up the scrutiny. However, the Canadian border patrollers were stereotypically Canadian (super nice).

Excited for a decent hike, we started in on our hike to Grinnell Glacier. It was a beautiful jaunt that was interrupted by a girlish shriek from Evan in front of me. He hopped in the air, and I couldn’t see what had startled him. I thought he’d seen a bear, but in reality he almost had his nuts nipped by some snake that jumped out of the bushes. We made it up alive, though. The view was breathtaking with the glacier and lake, chirping marmots and mountain goats on the distance rock faces.

We threw together some lunch and headed on our way to Missoula for a night with Evan’s geology friends (they geeked out about geology for a while, naturally). On our way there, though, Evan I stopped in a small town for dinner and the waitress’ first question was “so, where are you guys headed on your trip?” Obviously we’re not cowboy enough.
Day 33:

Another “lazy” day with an eight hour drive to Jackson, Wyoming. I drove up until we had a half an hour left in the drive because apparently my wall decided to smack me in the face. So, Evan made the last half hour drive with me laughing and crying in the passenger seat.

Meeting up with friends, we all headed to a chill dinner party. Bonus: I got to sleep in a real bed since they’re adults and have a guest bedroom. Living that cushy life.

Day 34:

The friend was wonderful and drove Evan and me around Yellowstone for the entire day. We saw Old Faithful explode while surrounded with about 1,000 of our closest friends. We did get to beat the crowds when some rain came through. It didn’t deter us because bison. I absolutely love bison, and I wasn’t about to miss those dudes for rain. (See Evan’s Snapchat about my bison face. Find someone who looks at you like I look at bison).

Day 35:

We had the chance to borrow a canoe and head toward String and Leigh Lakes at the base of the Teton Mountains in Grand Teton National Park. It was cabrewing at its finest for sure. The mountains were gorgeous and, since there were only two oars, I was sitting in the middle charged with protecting the cooler.

Some people camping along the lake looked at me and shouted to ask what I was doing. “Drinking a beer,” I told them. The response was simply met with a round of applause.

However, it wasn’t all just easy hanging out. We did have to portage from String to Leigh Lake. Pics or it didn’t happen you say? Sibling teamwork right before your eyes:

We didn’t stop the excitement there because the rodeo was calling our name. Mostly, Evan wasn’t about to miss the show because he gets stoked on the rodeo. It was a normal, fun rodeo until they called everyone 12 and under to go into the sand pit. They released sheep with towels on them and told the children to get them. Hoards of kids immediately stampeded. It was a madhouse. Pretty wild end of the day.

Next up: Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the Badlands and Theodore Roosevelt National Parks.

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