The Urban Wanderer

Crossing Borders ~ Bridging Cultures ~ Traveling Responsibly

Rock’n the Rockies!

This post is originally from July 23, 2016


This morning we had to get up bright and early so that we could meet up with the Canadian Rockies Adventure Centre White Water Rafting Company in Kananaskis. The drive from Calgary into the mountains is not far at all. It sure would be amazing to live in a city so close to the mountains. As you drive into them there honestly isn’t anything else like it. The Rockies are so massive and the lakes are so blue. It truly is stunning.

When we met up with the rafting crew it made us laugh. The guides all had man-buns and long beards. It looked like they all had partied a little too hard the night before and were just coming off their hang over. This is the life for so many people in their ‘Gap years’. Travel across the world, and spend the summer in the resort mountain towns working in the service industry. Even through their post drunken stupor, the rafting staff was full of life and ready to take us onto the frigid waters. We had to get in our rafting gear which included a full body wet suit, booties, a helmet and a life jacket. I have to say that we were definitely the picture of pure sexiness. I felt like penguins being herded down to the river. I thought to myself, humans sure do the weirdest things. Here we pay good money to dress like imbeciles, walk on sharp stone in soft booties, get into a flimsy raft and surge through rapid glacial waters. Bloody fools the human race is!

This is the definition of HOT!
This was before we got soaked!

Our Aussie rafting guide (with man bun and all) didn’t seem too confident in the first set of rapids. He told us that just the other day the guide in front of us lost all 9 people. Lost doesn’t mean they died, just the entire boat capsized. This isn’t a Class 4 Rapids for nothing. Our guide had to make sure we understood that if we didn’t paddle with all our might, we too would become statistics. So as we headed into the rapids his warning was not for nothing. The front of our boat was literally up in the air and there was a lot of bodies flying about. About 5 massive drops later and being drenched by freezing glacial fed water, we got through. We could breathe. It was hilarious. Now this is white water rafting!

I could be possibly under water in this shot!

We then were told that we had to steer to the edge of the river. It was time for cliff jumping. I don’t know if you are like me but my idea of cliff jumping does not involve being in a wet suit in Canadian freezing temperatures. It’s one of the extreme things that I have never actually done before. To be honest, it scares the piss out of me a little. Don’t get me wrong, I might do it one day, but that would definitely involve warm ocean waters! So we all had to get out and stand around for about 30-45 minutes while everyone jumped. Eventually we got back into our rafts again and carried on down the river. None of the rapids were nearly as big as the first. I think that this run is only classified as Class 4 because of the first rapids. Other than getting splashed a few times it was fun and wasn’t scary at all. Finally by the time we got to the end of the run we all smelt like wet dogs and had about a litre of water in our booties! This being said, the big yellow school bus that took us back to our cars was full of the most tantalizing aroma! Mmmm …I should bottle and sell the odor!


What was interesting was that the land that we were rafting on is on a native reserve which means that the natives are allowed to hunt freely. We asked if the guides ever see animals in this area, and because of the hunting they are quite the rarity. What we did see was a whole bunch of wild horses running around, which was super cool.

Here is the link to the


Once we got into regular clothes Karey, Renee and I headed into the cute town of Canmore. It truly is such a great town. Neat shops, rustic looking store fronts and great places to eat…all surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. It is completely picturesque. We met up with my friend Patti for lunch and ate a cute Mexican restaurant. OLE! Patti knows her hiking trails and has done a lot of back country stuff, so she was the perfect friend to have as our guide. After lunch she took us to the Grotto Canyon.


Her idea of a hike and mine is very different. I am lazy and out of shape, so I had to stress this over and over for her to know my skill level. Grotto was perfect. There was just a slight incline over rocky streams that led to a beautiful waterfall. With the sun shining down, the amazing scenery and being with some of my closest friends, I truly was in my happy place. At one point in the canyon it opened up and right before us were literally hundreds of inuksuks.


It was so cool to walk among them. Eventually we decided to turn back down the mountain and make our way back to the city. I wish I could spend more time out there, but having a free accommodation in Calgary was the reason for driving back so soon.

Looking to the sky in Canmore.
Looking to the sky in downtown Calgary.

By staying in downtown Calgary I got to see how vibrant the city really is. There are many pedestrian streets with interesting graffiti art and unique sculptures at every turn. We happened to be walking through one area that was hosting something called Petapalooza. This is a festival where everyone brought their furry friends. The main stage had something called The Running of the Bulls. This was a face-off between the British and the French Bulldogs. What a hilarious sight!

I had to stop by the ‘Kissing Booth’ with this French Bulldog

And the restaurants…one of the nights we went to the most amazing Italian restaurant on 17th called Buon Giorno. With its red and white checkered table cloths and old school décor, I am sure that the restaurant itself hasn’t changed in decades. But the food was utterly to die for. Everything is made in house and ingredients have been flown in from Italy. Not to mention the staff are more than happy to add and customize any dish to your liking. The arancini and the gnocci are to die for. The sauces are delicious and my meat eating friends told me the veal and seafood were also ridiculously good. Reservations are a must because this little mom and pop restaurant is the place to be.


This quick weekend holiday was definitely full of so much fun and laughter. Southern Alberta is so full of beauty. It sure makes me proud to live in this amazing country and for all you who are thinking about coming to Canada, make sure to hit up the Rocky Mountains!

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