Rockies Reunion


Last week Rom and I joined Link in the Canadian Rockies for a family reunion. Due to distance and cost, we hadn’t seen everyone in five long years. Twenty-four of us, from age 20 to 80, converged at Radium Hot Springs, BC, in Kootenay National Park.

Photo from

Rollkuchen (photo from

Rom had never been to the Rockies and hadn’t met Link’s extended family before. This is Link’s dad’s family and very much my family too. Everyone was delighted to see us and to meet Rom. It was a fun, chatty weekend. The family includes 5 engineers, 3 farmers, 2 teachers and 4 students, among other roles! We ended up discussing tech, LEGO and board games, MTG, animé and manga and other common interests like Pokémon Go 🙂 Another feature of the weekend was traditional Mennonite foods such as rollkuchen (fried dough drizzled with golden syrup, always served with watermelon) and farmer’s sausage.

This is the first time we’ve taken vacation time and travelled in the summer in many years, and the first “non-city” vacation in ages, too! It was also a short trip: 2 travel days and 4 activity days. We flew to Calgary (5.5 hours – which is longer than going to London UK) and then rented a car and drove through Banff to Radium Village (3.5 hours drive).

We stayed overnight in Banff and saw the sights (click any image to launch slide show):

To get to Radium, we drove through a steep, narrow mountain pass. As we arrived, we were barraged by hail. Fortunately it was only-crumb sized and didn’t damage the car! The main attraction in Radium is a natural hot springs which has been commercially developed. Although it is possible to drive up, I hiked up with some of my intrepid relatives, a 275 metre (900 foot) climb. The water in the hot soaking pool was 38C and in the swimming pool it was 28C!

After many shared meals and celebrations, we headed back to Calgary, this time stopping at Lake Louise. It was well worth the mid-summer tourist traffic:

A very memorable vacation!

As an aside, or two:

  • Shopping-wise, the Rockies are full of souvenir shops, rock and gem shops, retro candy shops, and rugged outdoor equipment shops. I decided I would buy either things I was looking for and planned to buy anyway (certain clothing items) or consumables. I was partially successful: I bought candy (obviously), lip balm, soap, tea, a pair of plain moccasins (made in Canada) and an inexpensive ring with a cloudy pink chalcedony stone.
  • Canadian airlines have only been charging for checked baggage on domestic flights for a year or so, and we’re still not accustomed to it. Since it was a short trip, Rom and I shared a suitcase. Wonders never cease! The casual outdoorsy wardrobe was a big help. I might fly carry-on only one of these days.

I hope you’re having a good July!


  1. The Victoria Glacier / Lake Louise photo is gorgeous.

  2. Fiona

    They sound like the best kind of in-laws ever – tech, Lego, board games, anime, Pokémon…!! It sounds like there is that kind of bond between where it doesn’t matter whether you saw them 5 hours ago or 5 years – you can just take up again where you left off. That is a wonderful thing to have with the ‘other’ side of the family.

    I am so jealous of your mountain hike! And the photos of the Lake and Glacier! If I ever had any doubts about visiting the Rockies (bucket list item here) I don’t now. It looks absolutely stunning. Totally my kind of holiday!

    I’m glad you got to take time off work in the summer. Do you prefer travelling in cooler months, or is it just harder to take time away from work at this time of year?

    • Yeah, it really did seem like no time had passed. I hope you get to the Rockies! Since I don’t have school-age kids at home and my travel plans can take place any time, I don’t book time off in the summer so the other staff can have it. Also our summer is so short that I hate to go away and miss it. Coincidentally the weather at home was much better than it was in the mountains (it was unseasonably cool and wet there). We were lucky to get some sunny breaks and dry hours for outdoor stuff.

  3. Fiona

    Oh – I forgot to say….Chipmunk!!!!!

  4. Jamie

    Is Mennonite food a family tradition, or is the area known for it?

  5. You can travel using a maximum legal carry on. It is a little like living with a 30 item wardrobe capsule – you just have to be willing to do laundry. I’ve learned that it is easier for me to travel with less – and to just make sure that everything is interchangeable.
    The Rockies look beautiful.

  6. Thanks for sharing all these great photos. Yet another destination added to my travel wish list!

  7. I’ve never been to the Canadian Rockies but I used to live on the Canadian border, Canada is gorgeous! Tammy

  8. Freckles

    My neck of the woods :). Too bad about the weather while you were here, it’s been absolutely gorgeous the last few days. Ah, timing.

  9. jbistheinitial

    I’ve never been to the Rockies but it’s high on my list of places to visit. After our trip to Canada last summer (just Ontario and Quebec) we immediately started planning another visit, this time to include some time on the West Coast as well as in the Rockies. These pictures have just made me more keen to go!

    • If you have the time, I would highly recommend the route from Jasper to Banff to Waterton-Glacier parks. It’s great for short hikes (or long ones and cycling if you prefer) but there are also lots of manageable walks (you can take a short walk to a waterfall or a glacier), as well as good food, shopping and wild animal / wildflower spotting!

  10. Beautiful scenery. I was just saying I want to do a cross country drive across Canada one of these days. Your pictures just make me want to do it sooner.

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