Hey, hey, look at me writing about something other than knitting and yarn, right? While I have a ton of planned yarnie blogs, I am excited to share something fun and exciting about my life with you. Last month, I packed up the car with Matt and Obi, and together, we drove all the way to beautiful Banff, Canada. This was the first time that I have ever been that far north, and I did not want to leave. Imagine all the knits that you would wear if you were that cold all the time… maybe that’s why several of my favorite designers, dyers, and Makers all live in Canada.
On the way up, we stopped overnight at the cutest campground that I think I’ve ever seen. There was a gorgeous lake that we tried to hike around. Unfortunately, we arrived too late and had to turn back, so we weren’t hiking in the dark. Obi had the chance to walk on a floating dock, which he has never done and was afraid to do. His fear has been the biggest challenge of bringing home a shelter dog, but every success like this one fills my heart so much more than it otherwise would.
The next morning, we were only 15 minutes from the border, so we woke up and rolled into Canada. I had never been to Calgary, so of course we had to drive through — if only so I could go to Stash Needle Lounge. This LYS was easily one of the most incredible yarn stores that I have ever been in. I always make a point of going to yarn stores any time I travel, especially when I’m in another country. I have had many blessings in that regard. When I asked about their local yarns, I swear the woman I chatted with showed me almost every skein in the store. She told me about yarns that were locally sourced, as well as local dyers. This distinction was probably the most impressive part of that store. I bought a skein of Peach Pit on Take a Hike Sock by Flock Fibre Studio and a leather shawl closure, which I have already been wearing despite it being too warm for shawl weather.
We only spent an afternoon in Calgary, buying yarn and eating poutine (totally recommend this place if you’re ever there), before heading to Banff National Park. FOLX. This was the most beautiful place I think I have ever been. If you’ve ever seen the Pacific Northwest, you know what I mean when I say that our forests have this vibe that draws you to them. Of course, you know that I love being by the mountains. I miss them every day out here in flat Hermiston. Banff is in the Rockies, which are impressive, of course. But I kid you not — there are gorgeous mountain views everywhere you look.
In order to get even better views of the surrounding area, we did a great deal of hiking, whether it was raining or not. I am an Oregon girl through and through. A little rain is not going to stop me from hiking, even if I end up looking like a drowned cat. However, my favorite hike that we completed was going up the gondola trail on Sulphur Mountain. The hike up was a struggle, not the most difficult, but I was huffing and puffing my way up. Once we got to the top, a huge group of mountain goats was crossing not 15 feet from us. I did not get a lot of photos, because I was holding on to Obi as these goats walked by. But it was a really impressive sight.
Those goats were not the only wildlife encounters that we had while we were there. I met a few mule deer who thought our campsite was chill enough to come graze next to. While we were driving to a hike that was further away, we saw a black bear cub who was so cute and fuzzy. We also saw birds, ground squirrels, bats, and the like.. We were warned that there was a mountain lion that was seen recently near the campsite, but we didn’t have any problems while tent camping. This may have been because we were very safe with food and other scented items while we were in bear country. We also kept bear spray in our packs when hiking and on the table while cooking. Always be safe when you are in the woods, especially bear country.
During our down time on this trip, I did not do much knitting. Instead, I took the time to play cards with the people I was with. After all, the whole purpose of being with the people you love is to actually spend time with them, right? I also took some time to read a book that I have been halfway through for almost a year. A week with little cell phone, no computer, and little knitting meant that my easily-strained wrists were feeling great! Here’s my friendly reminder to you: take care of your hands. They are the only ones you have.
We are back, and have been for a hot minute now. But when I sat down to look at my photos from the trip, I couldn’t help but share them with you. This place was so inspiring and reminded me that slowing down does not always have to mean knitting. In fact, it sometimes means taking a break from knitting, as much as I love it. After all, it’s healthy — both mentally and for your hands.