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Old 05-29-2012, 09:19 PM   #1
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Montana & Alberta, Canada: Roaming the Rockies Meets Thread

Please post here if you would like to talk with anyone else who has signed up to travel to Montana & Alberta, Canada with ABD.

You can also share information/ask questions about the Montana & Alberta Canada Roaming the Rockies (formerly Rockie Trails & Mountie Tales) ABD.

Please try and keep this thread on topic to discussion and questions about the Montana & Alberta, Canada ABD. Off topic posts will be deleted or moved.

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  • Sep 1 - 7, 2013 - WDWMaggie & sister

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Old 07-15-2013, 12:55 PM   #2
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I haven't been on this trip and don't plant to sign up, but I did just complete my own 10-day version that combined both the ABD and Tauck itineraries. We did most of the same activities(or some variation) and a few more that I came up with on my own. We used the Tauck hotels, but both ABD and Tauck stay at the Fairmont at Banff and Lake Louise (we added the Fairmont at Jasper, as well). I just wanted to say to anybody who is taking this trip that you are in for a treat! The area has some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen (and I've seen some beautiful scenery before). Even the airport in Kallispell is the coolest little airport I've been to. I hope you all enjoy visiting GNP & the Canadian Rockies as much as we did!
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Old 07-15-2013, 03:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bobo912 View Post
I haven't been on this trip and don't plant to sign up, but I did just complete my own 10-day version that combined both the ABD and Tauck itineraries. We did most of the same activities(or some variation) and a few more that I came up with on my own. We used the Tauck hotels, but both ABD and Tauck stay at the Fairmont at Banff and Lake Louise (we added the Fairmont at Jasper, as well). I just wanted to say to anybody who is taking this trip that you are in for a treat! The area has some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen (and I've seen some beautiful scenery before). Even the airport in Kallispell is the coolest little airport I've been to. I hope you all enjoy visiting GNP & the Canadian Rockies as much as we did!
That's funny, because just this morning I was thinking about taking another look at this itinerary. I'm just not really in the mood to fly to Europe again this year, so I was looking to do something more domestic... How was the weather? The Adults Only for next year is early August, not a time of year I normally travel... What additional stuff did you do?

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Old 07-15-2013, 03:25 PM   #4
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I did this trip with ABD in 2011 and I will answer any questions (as best I can) if you need. As beautiful as the Southwest was this northern trip is as beautiful IMO.
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Old 07-15-2013, 03:31 PM   #5
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I did this trip with ABD in 2011 and I will answer any questions (as best I can) if you need. As beautiful as the Southwest was this northern trip is as beautiful IMO.
Oh, cool! I literally *just* this morning decided to start looking at it, so i don't have many questions yet, but I'm sure I'll have some in a little while!

What month did you go? How was the weather? How was the Glacier Park Lodge? I heard it was pretty primitive, and no A/C. At least they now use a nice hotel in Banff...

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Old 07-15-2013, 03:54 PM   #6
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Oh, cool! I literally *just* this morning decided to start looking at it, so i don't have many questions yet, but I'm sure I'll have some in a little while!

What month did you go? How was the weather? How was the Glacier Park Lodge? I heard it was pretty primitive, and no A/C. At least they now use a nice hotel in Banff...

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We went at the end of June/ beginning of July. Yes the G.P. Lodge is "primitive" but is spectacular in its' building. The rooms are comfortable but more on the hostile style BUT you are right there and the view is unbelievable out the back deck. We enjoyed our stay. The food when we were there was O.K. but there are no other choices. The staff were very friendly. The weather was funny on our visit for they could not get the "Road to the Sun" open for there was still 14 ft. of snow in the pass that year. Also a hike turned into a snowshoe trek.It should be gone by August. Yes the hotel in Banff has been changed to the Canadian Pacific hotel which looked spectacular for we have stayed in a number of their hotels in Canada and they are all historic and 1st rate. The down side is that it is a shuttle ride to the downtown but if it would be 10 minutes that would be a lot. The spa/ hot springs visit is a highlight IMO.
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Old 07-15-2013, 04:00 PM   #7
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We went at the end of June/ beginning of July. Yes the G.P. Lodge is "primitive" but is spectacular in its' building. The rooms are comfortable but more on the hostile style BUT you are right there and the view is unbelievable out the back deck. We enjoyed our stay. The food when we were there was O.K. but there are no other choices. The staff were very friendly. The weather was funny on our visit for they could not get the "Road to the Sun" open for there was still 14 ft. of snow in the pass that year. Also a hike turned into a snowshoe trek.It should be gone by August. Yes the hotel in Banff has been changed to the Canadian Pacific hotel which looked spectacular for we have stayed in a number of their hotels in Canada and they are all historic and 1st rate. The down side is that it is a shuttle ride to the downtown but if it would be 10 minutes that would be a lot. The spa/ hot springs visit is a highlight IMO.
Thanks! That's good to know about the GF Lodge. And it is only 2 nights. (I assume you mean hostel style, not hostile! )

Now this year's itinerary says the Fairmont Banff Springs. I wonder... it was a pretty generic hotel when I originally signed up for this trip in 2009. How many hotels have they been through?

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Old 07-15-2013, 04:23 PM   #8
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Thanks! That's good to know about the GF Lodge. And it is only 2 nights. (I assume you mean hostel style, not hostile! )

Now this year's itinerary says the Fairmont Banff Springs. I wonder... it was a pretty generic hotel when I originally signed up for this trip in 2009. How many hotels have they been through?

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Yes you are correct....they were not "hostile" at all in the hotel that seemed like a hostel..... We stayed at the Banff Park Lodge which was a block off the main drag in Banff, not that Banff is huge, and it was adequate for our needs. Plenty of AC and comfortable. I would imagine that the Fairmont Banff Springs is an upgrade. It is a real nice upgrade. Just Googled that hotel and that is one of the railroad hotels that are wonderful and historic yet up to date. Classy place from the old days of railroad travel. The GF Lodge was also built by the railroad to bring passengers on vacation. We stayed in its sister hotel in Quebec City, Ottowa, Toronto, Montreal etc. and make it a point to stay as to stay in all of those hotels in Canada. We were a little disappointed not to stay there on our trip.

Last edited by carpenta; 07-15-2013 at 04:29 PM. Reason: add.
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Old 07-15-2013, 07:20 PM   #9
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That's funny, because just this morning I was thinking about taking another look at this itinerary. I'm just not really in the mood to fly to Europe again this year, so I was looking to do something more domestic... How was the weather? The Adults Only for next year is early August, not a time of year I normally travel... What additional stuff did you do?

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In addition to activities on the ABD itinerary - Red Bus, rafting, gondola, Columbia Icefields etc. - we did a cruise on Lake McDonald, evening wildlife safari in Banff, visited Athabasca falls, and added a couple of days in Jasper. In GNP we visited Apgar Village, attended some ranger presentations and drove to the south end of the park to see the goats at the Goat Lick Overlook. We didn't get to hike as much as I wanted because DS had an ear infection and didn't feel well (thank goodness I brought some ear drops!), but he felt better by the time we reached Banff. There are about a million beautiful mountain vistas and lakes on the Icefield Parkway and since we were driving we stopped at a lot of them to take photos (DS got tired of that pretty quickly, since I wanted him to be in the photos). There are a lot of trails around the Fairmont in Banff and you can walk up to Bow Falls or take the short walk into town. Banff is a fun little town to explore. The Cascade Gardens are adjacent to the hotel and the Whyte Museum is a art/history museum in Banff. Both are probably worth visiting, but we didn't make it to either one, unfortunately. Maybe next time. The hotel in Banff is like a castle and it is a tourist attraction itself. I also added one extra night in Whitefish, MT because I wanted to be near the airport for our flight home (and it was DS's birthday and I didn't want him to spend it on a plane or at the airport). Whitefish is a really cute town with some nice restaurants and shops. There was a heat wave for the first few days of our trip. It was in the mid-90's for the 3 days we were at GNP and the first day in Banff, then it cooled down and the highs were in the upper 60's, low 70's for the rest of the trip. Since it was warm, there was no problem with the Going to the Sun Road and there were many beautiful waterfalls there and in Canada. We stayed at all 3 Fairmont hotels in the area - Banff Springs, Chateau Lake Louise, and Jasper Park Lodge and none of them had air conditioning, but mostly we didn't need it. The Jasper Park Lodge was the least impressive building, but it was my favorite of the three. The rooms are okay in all three hotels, but don't live up to the outside or the common areas.

Here is a photo from Logan's Pass. A lot less snow than when carpenta was there. A friend of mine who was in GNP in July 2012 was telling me just yesterday that when she and her husband were there the snow was still too deep to open the GTTS road, so I guess we were lucky. They found a workaround by driving around the south end of the park and approaching Logans Pass from the other direction, so it worked out for them anyway. There were still some drifts around 3 feet high, but there were patches where the snow was melted and these were covered with wildflowers, which you can't see very well in this photo. DS still managed to find a snow covered hill to slide down using his jacket as a sled.



I don't have any photos of the outside of the Fairmont Banff Springs that come close to the beautiful photos on their website, but here's a really cool room inside the hotel.



This was the view from our room at Lake Louise.



The hotel from the other end of the lake.



Besides the view, one of my favorite things about this hotel - the unique chandeliers.


Last edited by Bobo912; 07-15-2013 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 07-15-2013, 07:45 PM   #10
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Oh, wow, Bobo912! That is seriously cool! Beautiful pics. I'm going to seriously look at this, although I'm a wimp and can't sleep if it's hot...

Thanks for all the info.

But that's an amazing view of Lake Louise. Hmmmm.....

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Old 07-16-2013, 12:50 PM   #11
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We did a large part of what is on this ABD trip on our own some years back as our honeymoon (okay, many years back). We took the Empire Builder train which arrives just outside of Glacier Park Lodge at East Glacier – I recall it is quite close. The train is always late, and I think arrives too late for the opening ABD dinner….but if you were of a mind to travel by train and come a day early, they have some pretty neat things to do that first day; they have a car rental also available at the hotel. We were there mid-August. Nights were chilly. We were in the old part of the hotel with a balcony. It is a rustic hotel; so don’t expect 5 star accommodations, but the rustic splendor is part of the fun. Some of the rooms in the newer part of the hotel ARE air conditioned, if that is a concern. My wife's notes say that mid August the high for the days was 73 and low at night was 45.

Bobo’s pictures are right on the money. The scenery is breathtaking; the adventures amazing. The US/Canada parks are beautiful. I hear the glaciers are melting fast, so if you want to see them....
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:58 PM   #12
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We were told by a park ranger that all of the glaciers at GNP will be completely gone by 2030.
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Old 07-16-2013, 02:02 PM   #13
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Say Hello:

We did a large part of what is on this ABD trip on our own some years back as our honeymoon (okay, many years back). We took the Empire Builder train which arrives just outside of Glacier Park Lodge at East Glacier – I recall it is quite close. The train is always late, and I think arrives too late for the opening ABD dinner….but if you were of a mind to travel by train and come a day early, they have some pretty neat things to do that first day; they have a car rental also available at the hotel. We were there mid-August. Nights were chilly. We were in the old part of the hotel with a balcony. It is a rustic hotel; so don’t expect 5 star accommodations, but the rustic splendor is part of the fun. Some of the rooms in the newer part of the hotel ARE air conditioned, if that is a concern. My wife's notes say that mid August the high for the days was 73 and low at night was 45.

Bobo’s pictures are right on the money. The scenery is breathtaking; the adventures amazing. The US/Canada parks are beautiful. I hear the glaciers are melting fast, so if you want to see them....
I really kind of like the idea of taking the train. The only downside is the train does not come to Columbus, OH, so I'd have to travel a few hours to get to a train station. But I will look into that. I was also thinking about the trains on the Canadian end of the trip; Canada has some really cool train routes.

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We were told by a park ranger that all of the glaciers at GNP will be completely gone by 2030.
Seriously? Yeesh! I guess I'd better think more seriously about this trip. I can't really say "It will always be there"!

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Old 07-17-2013, 05:55 AM   #14
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I really kind of like the idea of taking the train. The only downside is the train does not come to Columbus, OH, so I'd have to travel a few hours to get to a train station. But I will look into that. I was also thinking about the trains on the Canadian end of the trip; Canada has some really cool train routes.

Seriously? Yeesh! I guess I'd better think more seriously about this trip. I can't really say "It will always be there"!

Sayhello
Not trying to discourage you from taking the ABD trip, but if you do happen to decide to create your own itinerary, I can say that this trip was extremely easy to do on our own. I don’t usually jump on the “you can do it yourself for half the cost” bandwagon, because it’s a different experience and if you want the tour experience, cost is not the only consideration. But we found so many great places to stop and hike a little or just look around and take beautiful photos. And there were times when somebody would tell us bear or moose had been spotted recently at a certain location up the road and we could just make an unplanned stop to check it out. And I really enjoyed the time we spent in Jasper, which isn’t included in the ABD trip. The vast majority of the wildlife we saw was on the drive between the Athabasca Glacier and Jasper and in Jasper itself.
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:26 PM   #15
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My sister and I are doing the September 1st adults only trip.

Anyone else on here on that trip?
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