Picture of the Week #8

Picture of the Week #8

Hello friends,

If you didn’t know I had a facebook page where I share pictures and links to my blog anytime I a new post goes up! You can click the link to like and follow the page if you want!Β πŸ™‚Β https://www.facebook.com/phoenixraayphotography/Β 

You can also follow this blog by going to the home page and clicking the 3 dots in the top corner and hitting follow!


Here is my picture of the week!

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We have recently gotten our first little snow fall in Ottawa, ON, but I did not get any pictures of it so I thought I would bring back an old picture with a bit of snow! I love the first snow fall, it gets me all excited for winter! And with winter comes Christmas! haha I know its early, but its the best time of the year!

Have you gotten your first snowfall yet where you live?

Recent Posts:

Spooky Halloween Tag 2018

Picture of the Week #7

Exploring Haunted Houses at Saunders Farm!

Until next time,

xoxo

Random Road with a View | Banff, AB

Random Road with a View | Banff, AB

Hello friends,

Today’s post is brought to you by a random adventure! As most are on my blog πŸ™‚

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Now this morning, my dad and I had planned to go snowboarding at Sunshine Village, which is a ski and snowboard resort in Banff, Alberta Canada. I highly recommend stopping by there and going for a day if you have never been and are in the area!

Even if you have never done skiing or snowboarding in your life you should still try it out! The mountains are one of the best places for beginners to learn. Lots of space, very wide runs (which mean they are not as crowded), and usually some nice powder … the snow you want! πŸ˜‰ You can get one on one lessons, which is what my boyfriend did his first day boarding this trip, and in a few hours you will be comfortable enough to try it out by yourself. I will warn you that you will fall A LOT while learning, but it is all part of the process! Just DON’T put your hands behind you when you fall … or you will end up hurting yourself like my boyfriend did a few years ago his first time out!

…when will men listen … never is the answer haha

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Anyways, back to the post at hand! My dad and I ended up going back to our cabin and picking my mom up to go out exploring. We went up this road at the beginning of our journey to find the road was closed. However, we parked and I hopped out for some pictures in the minus a million degree weather. This cute cabin was behind us so I snapped a few of it. While I was doing that, all I could think of was wow, I bet they are warm!

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Next I trudged through the fairly deep snow to get some pictures of this massive valley we found! It was a decently nice day out besides how cold it was, so I was able to finally get clearer pictures. Unlike that first day if you remember from my other posts haha oh was the snow ever coming down that day!

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No matter how many times I come to Banff, I am always able to find new little look off points or little back roads to explore. The possibilities of adventures in the Rockies are endless πŸ™‚

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By this point in the picture taking my dad and mom have made it out into the deep snowy field where I was. My mom was so cute all bundled up in her winter gear and her hat ties done up around her chin to keep it on haha I was a frozen little nugget and so as soon as she made it to me I turned around and headed for the truck!

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Back in the truck now as I thawed out, I went through the pictures on my camera to see if any are decent. I always find it hard to actually see the quality of the pictures on that tiny camera screen, I like to blow mine up on the computer!

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I thought the little pit stop down this random road was a success. Now we went off to eat a late lunch back in the town of Banff!

Do you guys ever venture down random roads looking for one thing, yet finding another? Let me know down below!

Until next time,

xoxo

A Herd of Elk in Banff | AB, Canada 2017

A Herd of Elk in Banff | AB, Canada 2017

Hello friends,

I am sitting here today in a coffee shop staring at my screensaver on my laptop. It is of the herd of elk my boyfriend and I spotted in Banff! This was on our very first morning there and it was incredible.

All throughout growing up I have seen so much wildlife. I was very fortunate to grow up on the greenbelt in Fort McMurray, AB (back when the city was still quite small) where we got to see a variety of wildlife through our kitchen window. It came to a point where my dad would say “Girls! Come down here there are deer in the backyard!” and we were like ya ya we know haha Its the same thing for the Northern Lights; I never realized that most people don’t ever see them in their life. We would get out of the old purple safari van coming home from gymnastics late at night and see the Northern Lights before we went inside the house! So casual and common for us!

Anyways, back to the elk! Like you would have read in one of my latest posts (linked here if you haven’t read it), we got up early to drive to Canmore so I could take pictures of the sunrise, but sadly it was snowing out and the sky was pure white all day. So we went driving around. On our way driving to Two Jack Lake we saw a car pulled over and we were trying to see if they were looking at wildlife, however we couldn’t see any so we just kept going. Now on the way back though, that same vehicle was parked there! They were probably parked there for 20 mins or so. And now I understood why! haha There was a herd of elk back in the trees all lying down and sleeping! It was so adorable and surreal to see!

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So of course I was like “pull over pull over pull over!!” and the boyfriend obliged and did so πŸ™‚

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And voila! I got these pictures that you see! I am oh so happy I had my new lens with me or else these would not have turned out as good. Because if you know anything about wildlife, you need to give them their space. Now as a photographer, sometimes that is very difficult to do because you are so fascinated with everything and want all the pictures at every different angle possible. However,Β  I was respectful to them and left lots of room.

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Now I will tell you about this carload of people though… they were not too smart. So first of all, they had iphones as their cameras, which is all fine and dandy but the zoom is quite .. well shitty to say the least πŸ™‚ So this lady got out with her little iphone and was walking towards this massive herd of elk, like so close I was actually scared for her! The herd was in the bush right, so we can only see however many they want us to see. There was probably so many more further back in the bush too.

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One of my favourite pictures

Now in Banff, if you ever go, you will be one of these touristy people and maybe not from Canada too. Banff has so many tourists from all over the world who have no clue how to act with these very large animals. Which is more so sad for the animals then the idiot people. But I will just give you some advice if you are ever in this situation, go ahead and take pictures if you want but give them their space. Never go sticking an iphone in their face because you don’t know how they are going to react!

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Anyways, I got back into the car and my hands were frozen so I had to sit on them and let them warm up before I checked if I got any decent pictures haha and I did so I was like okay babe we can go now. And he was like “no, I want to see how this plays out” haha talking about the iphone tourist!

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But we did not end up staying, I made him leave eventually. After this adventure we went into town and got small gloves I could wear while taking pictures in -25 degrees because holy cow do your hands ever freeze! And I can’t wear my big knitted mitts when I take pictures or else I will hit every button on the camera.

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This was the main little part of the herd that was showing themselves in the more open coverage.

I felt so lucky to have been able to see these beautiful animals in their natural state. If you ever do go to Banff and you go for a drive I guarantee you will see some animals so have your camera ready.

Have you guys ever been to Banff or seen elk where you live? I would love to know in the comments!

Until next time,

xoxo

The Grizzly House Review| Banff, AB 2017

The Grizzly House Review| Banff, AB 2017

Hello friends,

Today’s post will be a review of The Grizzly House in Banff, Alberta Canada! The Grizzly House is a famous fondue restaurant in Banff. Ever since I was young I knew what it was but never went there! There is a rustic/casual atmosphere welcoming to both families or couples.

My boyfriend and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary while we were in Banff for New Years and he made us reservations at The Grizzly House! Now our reservation was for 8 o’clock or something so very late after a long day of snowboarding out in the cold! However, it was definitely a cool experience and I recommend it to all who visit Banff!

I will say however it is a more expensive dinner. If you want the fondue meal (which we did obviously..duh) there are a few options that you can pick from. It is a four course meal where you have options for every course! For the fondue dinner option, at least 2 or more people have to be ordering it.

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This was what I chose for my first course. It was their french onion soup. Now, before this meal I have never tried this kind of soup, but I always heard of it. And I will be honest I thought it was something completely different! haha I was expecting this creamy delicious onion soup … it was nothing of the sort. Well, kind of kidding. It was pretty good! The flavour was awesome, but those chunks on top were bread and I am not the biggest fan of soggy bread in my soup (same goes for soggy crackers .. ew!). Underneath there was more of a broth with caramelized onions in it, which i did enjoy!

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Here is a flat lay of the table when we got our soup. We had our wine, which was delicious! I ended up ordering the same one on New Years haha it was a sauvignon blanc from New Zealand. They gave us each a million forks, which lets be honest, who knows what fork is for what! Not me! So I just guessed haha still had one left over at the end so I probably did it wrong.

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Anyways now we are onto round 2!Β  I mean course 2 .. oops! When I get a four course meal it almost feels like I am doing different battle rounds with the food.. which one will defeat me?! We will not know until my stomach says “No More!”… spoiler: this time I made it to the end πŸ˜‰

So back on topic, we ordered the cheese fondue. Very good choice I must say. It was made with some type of red wine and came with nice fresh bread to dip in it! It also came with fully caramelized garlic cloves. The waiter said that if we like garlic we could add a few and smoosh them around… we added them all! haha SO good!

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Next came out the main course … all the meat! Sorry vegans hahah (aka my sista)

So for the meat course, there were 6Β  different ones you could choose from depending on what meat you wanted/how many oz you wanted in total. I ended up getting the Hunter Fondue Dinner which had buffalo, wild boar and venison (my favourite) and my boyfriend got the biggest, and most expensive, plate of course, which was the Exotic Fondue Dinner. It included buffalo, venison, shark, kangaroo, alligator, frog legs, and rattlesnake. It was suppose to come with ostrich, but they were out so he got kangaroo instead!Β  So much food, but very cool to try!

I didn’t get a picture with the hot rock (what we cooked the meat on) fully loaded because I was starving and it got the best of me…next time I will do better! haha To cook the meat you can choose either the hot rock or hot oil. The hot rock is what they recommend though and it was more appealing to me since I am not a huge fan of very oily food!

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With the meat came four different sauces: onion bacon, spicy tomato, horseradish dijon, honey garlic, and teriyaki abbe! The listing goes from right to left with the teriyaki abbe in the middle. My boyfriend was most excited for the horseradish one and the teriyaki abbe got me! My least favourite was the spicy tomato, but all still good! Definitely tried everyone as should you if you ever go πŸ™‚

 

 

Next we move onto desert. And yes yes I know the restaurant is for the cool meat and everything, but honestly the chocolate fondue at the end was so utterly amazing!! It was a melted toblerone bar!

 

 

To dip in this delicious melted goodness was strawberries, banana, melon, orange, apple, and wafer chunks. Personally the strawberry and wafers were my favourite to dip! I set one wafer piece aside till I was done with everything else to dip so I could finish with my favourite haha does anyone else do that? We tried to finish all of the chocolate because it was so good but we simply couldn’t.

By the time we finished up with this we were so full! I tried to pace myself throughout the meal, but its quite hard when everything is so good!

The tables that they had were pretty cool too because they were all made of old corks put in this coating to hold it all together. Very neat!

Rating: 8/10

Yes I know some of you may be shocked..”why only an 8?!” First of all, the restaurant was freezing cold, I ate with my coat on for most of the meal. Not sure if the heat wasn’t working, but damn when its -28 outside you need heat! So that made the meal less pleasant. There are also these phones placed all around the restaurant that ring and you can answer them and I guess talk to another table? So that is kind of cool, but also annoying to have phones ringing all throughout the meal. Lastly, I am not a huge fan of cooking my own food when I go out to eat. It was a kind of cool experience, but I wasn’t quite sure how to cook some of it so I ended up with a few raw pieces that I couldn’t eat. Once they see that you have no more meat on the hot rock they take it away, so I could not even throw it back on!

Besides those few not amazing things, the rest was great! I would recommend to try it out if you are ever in the area and want a more expensive/unique dinning experience. Like both of the fondue’s were amazing, the cheese and chocolate, and they are a fondue restaurant so they nailed that!

Let me know if you have any questions about the restaurant and I will do my best to answer them! Also a question for all of you, have you ever been to The Grizzly House? If so, how was your experience? I would love to know! Also, if there are any other cool fondue restaurants you’ve been to!

P.S sorry for the iphone quality pictures, we were on a fancy date so I didn’t wanna bring out the big gun!

Until next time,

xoxo

Two Jack Lake | December 2017

Two Jack Lake | December 2017

Hello friends,

In todays post I will start to go through our trip that we just went on for New Years!

We hit the road on the early morning of the 28th of December, 2017. Heading out from Calgary Alberta, Canada to Banff, Alberta Canada for New Years! I told my boyfriend I wanted to be in Canmore, AB for breakfast and sunrise because I wanted nice sunrise mountain pictures. However, things did not go as planned. I saw on the weather network that it was suppose to snow all day, but I thought maybe it would start a bit later….well it didn’t. We got to Canmore for what would have been sunrise, but it was a cloudy snowy day! I was sad, obviously, but I still went out and took pictures haha

We ate that morning at The Summit Cafe in Canmore. It was a quaint little place that had pretty decent food! The only restaurant to ever ask me if I wanted 6 or 12 pieces of fruit when I ordered a fruit bowl on the side! Lots of options on the menu and you could add baileys to any drink! haha I would have but we didn’t see that sign until we already ordered! Once we were done with that meal, we headed out into the snow. The roads were in bad conditions because of all the ice and snow, so driving around on all these back roads we were super careful! We saw many cars in the ditches, not due to accidents, but because they were driving too fast for the road conditions.

The first place we decided to head to was Two Jack Lake. While the boy was finishing eating, I was googling best places for a great view in Canmore despite the fact that you couldn’t really see at all that day! I wish we would of had better weather because then we could have went to some really cool places for pictures!

So we headed up the road. Of course I was a nervous passenger because we were heading up this skinny, winding mountain road covered in snow…but the driver was alright you could say πŸ˜‰

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Finally we arrived at our destination. I hopped out so quick! Even though it was roughly -25 C without the wind chill….let’s just say the boyfriend stayed in the car while I froze my butt off!

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There was so many water spots (more like snow spots lol) on these pictures because of how much it was snowing! It took me so long to edit them! I would wipe my lens off before, during, and after every location, but it did nothing.

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Maybe one day in the future I will put a before and after post up of some pictures, because some of these look quite different after editing them! I was not even sure if I would be able to use them in a post. I tried to clear them up the best that I could!

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All of these pictures (except the road ones) I was standing in the same spot just turning a bit to give a different perspective.

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I would love to drive back up here on a clear day and see the amazing view! I am sure its stunning. I imagine mountains all in the background, because in some pictures you can kind of see them hiding in the snow fall!

Do you enjoy stopping at look offs when you are on road trips? I stop at ones I have already been to before just because views like these never seize to amaze me! Make sure to subscribe by going to the top right corner if you want to see/hear more about our trip!

Until next time,

xoxo

Christmas Blessings | 2017

Christmas Blessings | 2017

Hello friends,

Todays post will be about all the many things I feel blessed for. Christmas is absolutely my favourite time of the year, even though it is snowy and cold outside! I got the post idea from Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride, click here for her post!

I thought to myself as I was reading her post, wow this is such a great idea to write about around Christmas time. I feel like so many people say what they are thankful for around thanksgiving, but during Christmas everyone is so busy it is easy to forget what it is really about. Now I love Christmas lights and decorations so I can get distracted by those around this time of the year, but it really is not about any of that. And believe it or not, Christmas is not about gifts either. However, I understand that giving gifts is a way of showing love towards another person, but we cannot get caught up in them!

Christmas is truly about being around your family and celebrating life and love and the joy that this season brings. So without any more delay, here are some of the things I feel very blessed to have in my life:

I feel very blessed to have my amazing family, boyfriend & friends in my life …

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My lovely older sister πŸ™‚

My man πŸ˜‰

My friends πŸ™‚

My parents of course!Β 

And you can’t forget about the fur babies too!

I feel very blessed to be in such good health

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And for the roof over my head at night and food in my belly.

I feel very blessed to be surrounded by the beauty of the rockies just an hour away

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And all of the wildlife I have been able to see my entire life.

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I feel so blessed that I have been able to travel even though I am so young and just starting out.

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I hope you enjoyed this little post and let me know in the comments below what you feel blessed for this Christmas year. Also, some of these pictures may not be the best quality, but that is not what this post is really about πŸ™‚

Until next time,

xoxo

Bourgeau Lake/Harvey Pass | Banff, AB Canada Pt. 2

Bourgeau Lake/Harvey Pass | Banff, AB Canada Pt. 2

Hello friends,

Todays post is a continuation of part one! If you haven’t read it yet, click here! πŸ™‚

So we are now done our beautiful lunch, which was fruit, muffins, and peanut butter & honey sandwiches (so good!), and we are starting up to Harvey Pass! At this point I was exhausted, but I wanted to do it because of the views and pictures I could get haha

From Bourgeau Lake, it is about a 2.2 km slightly harder hike to Harvey Pass. This path leads to magnificent views.

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Already the mountains are so beautiful. I have literally never been this high on a mountain before. We were so close to the top!

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So you see that greyish rocky “path” … yeah that is what we hiked up. Let me tell you there was no path, we literally scrambled up rocks! Very loose rocks to say the least. I am so happy we had hiking poles because they helped soo much! Especially on the way down. You think they would help more on the way up, however it was very easy to slide on the way down and if you put your poles in front of you it helps a lot!

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There is Bourgeau Lake where we ate lunch at! I actually could not believe how much farther up we hiked after the huge hike we did just to get to the lake!

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Oh my gosh, this was the coolest part of the entire day I would have to say! Can you spot what is on top of the mountain?! It’s big horn sheep! There was quite a few of them up there, we could not believe that we actually saw them!

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And this is the farthest we got on Harvey’s Pass. You can continue around the lake and up further, but we were exhausted and had a long hike back. We also wanted to get back to the car before dark and our hour drive home!

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It was also so unbelievably windy at this point in the hike! I could not imagine going up higher on this mountain. We would have gotten blown off! It was so windy that it was hard to hear each other talk.

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Literally soooo close to the top of the mountain! πŸ™‚

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My man trying to see the sheep. We could see them better in my camera then in his binoculars!

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Still could not put my camera down even on the way back! I was in awe this entire hike….besides the fact that my legs were actually dying.

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I looove glacial water. So beautiful.

This was a picture we took at the highest point we hiked, you can see how windy it was because of my hair and he is wearing his hat strap! haha Well I hope you enjoyed our hike! I would definitely recommend doing it even though it was a challenge, because I have been to the rockies a million times, but I have never seen sights like these before πŸ™‚

Hope you guys enjoy living vicariously through my pictures! Would you continue to Harvey Pass or just stop at Bourgeau Lake?

Until next time,

xoxo

Exploring & Heading Home | Waterton, AB

Exploring & Heading Home | Waterton, AB

Hello friends,

If you haven’t seen my previous Waterton posts click down below:

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Todays post will be about our time in Waterton, Alberta (Canada) after the hike we went on in my previous post and then heading home!

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Now, if you have never been to Waterton, like I have said before, you MUST go! It is so beautiful. Inside the town and all around it. We were absolutely amazed with the beauty of this place.

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After our tiring hike we decided to head back into town and explore. And of course we had to stop and get some ice cream because it was so hot that day and it sounded amazing! We both got massive cones and devoured it all haha the ice cream place was packed too, so we knew it was going to be good πŸ˜‰ If you ever want ice cream in Waterton I recommend Big Scoop Ice Cream Parlour!

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We went on a walk by the water once we were done. It was beautiful but boy oh boy do these mountains ever funnel in the wind! I thought we were going to get blown away!

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Now this place was just as windy, but I wanted to stop because of the views. We must have stood up here freezing for a good ten minutes or so just taking it all in.

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There was a girl here trying to take a good selfie for at least 5 minutes and I was getting so frustrated at her because I was freezing but I wasn’t leaving without a good shot with no people in it! Its not even like she wouldn’t be noticeable in the pictures either, because she was wearing bright red!

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There is the little town where we just were!

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Eventually I got a couple shots that I liked πŸ™‚

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Hope you enjoyed this Waterton series! I had sooo many pictures from just one day. I had to try and show you guys all of the good ones without it being overwhelming! haha

Until next time,

xoxo

Lineham Falls Hike & A Surprise | Waterton, AB

Lineham Falls Hike & A Surprise | Waterton, AB

Hello friends,

Todays post will be about the Lineham Falls hike we did in Waterton this summer! Let me just tell you the back story first. We left really early in the morning, since its a 2.5 hour drive to get there, with the intention of doing the Lower Rowe Lake hike which then leads into Upper Rowe Lake. This was a very recommended hike with beautiful and different scenery all throughout it. It was a longer hike for us, about a half day or so, but we were so ready.

So we finally found the trail head, parked, got all ready, and then headed out. Little did we know we were going to run into an obstacle right away…

We were probably 5 minutes into the hike when we ran into these 2 guys sitting by the water. They told us there was a grizzly bear on the trail about a kilometer ahead and that many people were turning around. So we politely said thank you and kept walking a little bit. Not even 3 minutes later we ran into two groups of people coming down and they were all warning us about the grizzly bear. One group even said it followed them down a little bit. So at that point we knew we had to turn around. We were so sad! We were so excited about this hike!

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Anyways, so we had to find another hike because we drove all this way to do something not just drive back home! We ended up picking Lineham Falls. I was very flustered at this point because my boyfriend has dragged me out every Sunday the entire summer for hikes and I work 6 days a week so I was always exhausted and never rested. Then he says, “ok babe lets do the hike with the most elevation” …. and I was like nooooooo! So we settled on Lineham Falls. It was not the highest elevation hike but let me tell you something, you go up a pretty steady incline for the first half of the hike! Then it is more mild in elevation and there are more flat areas on the trail.

However, I will tell you one thing about this hike. The trail is very skinny during the intense elevation areas which do not make it any easier! It was also quite difficult to use our hiking poles because the path was so overgrown and skinny they would get all tangled in the vegetation!

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But the final result of the hike was totally worth it, because look at that beautiful waterfall! The Lineham Falls are 410 feet tall!

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I must say, the scenery along the hike is beautiful . When you look up the hike it says its a moderate difficulty…. maybe this would have been true if the path wasn’t so overgrown? We thought it was definitely harder then moderate! But to each their own.

Definitely the second half of the hike is way better though!

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I could not stop staring back at the falls. They were so beautiful up close, but when you initially saw them from far away they were breath taking.

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Where the trail ends there is a sign. We saw quite a few people ignore the sign and walk where there was not a path to get closer to the falls. I personally do not like when people do this. There are paths for a reason; these are National Parks we are in. They should be respected and not worn out. But that is just my personal opinion.

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And the next picture is the surprise! We saw a little grizzly, probably about 1 or 2 years old, such a little cutie. All the cars were slowing down to see him πŸ™‚

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He looked so happy to be frolicking in the wild flowers along the side of the road. Have you guys ever been this close to a baby grizzly?!

I believe I still have one more post on Waterton, so if you want to stay tuned for next time make sure to subscribe!

Until next time,

xoxo