Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Canmore's Creekside Country Inn & Lake Minnewanka: A Great Getaway Girls' Weekend

Canmore is the perfect getaway in the Canadian Rockies, and we definitely chose a fitting weekend for a last girls' trip before I depart and Janice jumps back into class for the final year of her Masters.  We had beautiful weather that reminded me of my last few trips to the mountains, with Julie in April , with Kristin and Sean in 2010  and with Sean, Bonnie and Janice in 2009.
Above: Lake Minnewanka

Lake Minnewanka & Spray River Loop

Stopping in Calgary to see Joanne before I left, we ate at Dairy Land, at Joanne's recommendation (you always recommend the best food places, Joanne!). Vegan tofu scramble with gluten free bread could not have tasted better than that -scrumptious! 

After arriving in Canmore Saturday afternoon and checking in to Creekside Country Inn, we marveled at our upgrade from the usual hostel lodgings. Air conditioning, a comfy queen bed, a mini fridge, free coffee and tea all day, and a simple, but great, continental breakfast. We chilled in our room, caught up on girl talk and enjoyed a bottle of Wolf Blass Shiraz Cabernet and our budget, Safeway snacks.

Sunday morning, we decided to hike Banff's Spray River Loop, not realizing that the map from the inn did not have the correct entrance to the trail on it. So, after an hour long walk on a different trail that finally lead to Spray River, we only hiked 2 more hours of this 11km, mosquito infested trail. Next time, I guess!

The owner of the hostel (who had the softest German accent I've ever heard), recommended that we stop and take pictures at Lake Minnewanka. He was definitely right ---voila! Our amateur photography skills. More photography courses needed, we know! Maybe somewhere between my masters program, MMA, German courses, trying horseback riding, and travelling England, I'll squish that in.

Though our total hike was likely only about 3.5 hours (not including the 35 minute UPHILL run we did in the morning before breakfast), we were quite exhausted by the end of the day. Like all smart budget travellers, we used the washrooms at the most expensive hotel (Fairmont) and enjoyed a latte in the lobby (spiked with Bailey's from Safeway :)

Nice and warm!!

Dinner @ Crazyweed Kitchen 

Despite our eagerness to get out of sweaty hiking clothes and boots, and into our skirts and sweaters for dinner, we were much too exhausted to do any more photo shoots at that point. You'll have to imagine a dressed up, girls' night with pizza  (at Crazyweed Kitchen, a modern, upscale restaurant in Canmore). The pizza was okay--perhaps my expectations were too high given the amount of times people have recommended this restaurant to me--but the After Dinner Mint specialty coffee, sans whip cream, was to die for. We attempted to end the night with a movie, but I have to say that Netflix (the Canadian version, anyway) is very disappointing--the movies are so old that if I really wanted to see them,  I would have done so, already!) Let's hope the new UK version of Netflix, released this past spring, is better!

Morning Walk in the Mountains & A Keeshound

Monday morning was very peaceful (thanks, Janice, for taking a Monday off work!) - since most people were probably working. We only found a short trail near the inn, so it was more of a walk than a hike.  

We did run into a beautiful dog, of a breed I didn't know existed (Keeshound -German Shepherd mix). The Keeshound, apparently from Holland, is a very beautiful dog reminiscent of a Husky or German Shepherd, but fluffier. Koda (funnily enough, what I had always planned to name my second dog), was so friendly and beautiful --she loved snuggling up with us!


Koda the Keeshound

Canmore's Best Coffee & Shops

Monday morning after our walk, we spent a couple hours wandering around town. Advertising "Canmore's Best Coffee",  Mountain Mercato was an interesting cafe /specialty market in which we enjoyed an Illy cappuccino and cake before our long drive home.


Our trip seemed to be a whirlwind couple of days, but wow am I glad that I made time to see the mountains again before leaving!

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