Wednesday, August 16, 2016
Today was primarily a travel day. I met Stina at LAX and we proceeded to get drunk for free in the Alaska Airlines lounge thanks to Stina’s credit card benefits. Nothing says “vacation” like champagne before 10 am. The cunty gate agent claimed our bags were too big and gate checked us, after which we proceeded to board the plane and see copious amounts of overhead space more than large enough to accommodate our carry-ons. Bitch. After a half hour delay, a three-hour flight and another half an hour waiting for the longest baggage claim ever we were finally united with our San Francisco compatriots in the Calgary airport. We grabbed our giant rental Yukon from Avis, which we have lovingly named “Bertha” and the Troop was on our way to Lake Louise! We put Suzanne behind the wheel for our maiden voyage. Apparently putting an Asian woman behind the wheel of a monstrous vehicle garners quite a bit of attention even in Canada because we were the most popular car on highway 1.
We stopped in Canmore for some grocery shopping on our way up to Lake Louise. After exiting the freeway we found ourselves at the corner of Cougar Creek and the Silver Tip Lodge. I can only assume this entire block is owned by the same horny old Canadian man with a dirty sense of humor. Needless to say, we exhausted the double entendres utilizing “silver tip” within about a day. For efficiency purposes, I sent two girls to the liquor store and three of us went to the grocery store. Canada is one of those places where you can’t buy booze in a normal grocery store. As if having to walk across the parking lot is going to deter people from their drinking plans. After some provisioning, we were back on the road and on our way to the Lake Louise Inn.
After a quick check-in to our adorable two-bedroom suite, we downed a few bottles of wine and headed to dinner. We had reservations at the Lake Louise Station Restaurant, which is in a restored railway station. Our waiter was “Jesse from tripadvisor” who introduced us to the Canada Rockies’ version of the super size – the “mountain size” – which magically transforms your drink from a single to a double. Mountain sizes for the table, good sir! I ordered a martini with blue curaçao and wound up drinking what looked like the Canadian version of an Adios Mother Fucker. Automatic ass hole of the table. After our little happy hour back at our inn and some mountain size drinks, we were feeling quite lively and succeeded in making Jesse from TripAdvisor extremely uncomfortable every time he came to our table (hint: the phrase “silver tip” was exhausted ad nauseam). We crashed immediately after dinner to prepare for our 5:30 am wake-up call. Yup, you heard me right. No one beats the giant Chinese tour buses to a glacier by sleeping in.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
We are starting Day 1 off with a bang by driving the Icefields Parkway up to the Columbia Icefields. For those of you who don’t know, this is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful drives in the world. Anyone who has been on vacation with me knows that I generally plan long, action packed days down to the hour. And due to my disdain for crowds of obnoxious tourists with no respect for personal space, I always start aggressively early. There is no better feeling than being the first person on a hike, on a tour, or generally in any other aspect of life. Our alarms went off at 5:30 am at which point we immediately went into prep mode. I assigned everyone tasks the night before – Stina and I on breakfast burritos and Linds and Suz on sandwiches for our picnic lunch. Marissa’s only job was to get herself to the car by 6 am in weather appropriate clothing. I should get the Basic Bitch Whisperer award for getting 5 grown women into a car with two meals packed by 6:15 am. So here’s the plan – the first snow coach tour on the Athabasca Glacier leaves at 9 am and we will be on it. A normal person would plan on getting up at a reasonable time and making that their first stop. I planned a hike to a glacial lake at 6:30 am. Because YOLO. We aren’t saying yolo anymore, are we?
Our first stop was Peyto Lake. We walked to the beautiful lookout point where we ate our homemade breakfast burritos and took selfies. You can take the Instagram sluts out of California, but you can’t take away their burritos. We then did a little hike to the Bow Valley ridge before getting back on the road. After another hour or so up the Parkway we made it to the Icefields center, which is the home of monstrous all-terrain buses that drive tourists onto the Athabasca Glacier. We made the first tour at 9am, just as planned, and boarded one of the giant snowcoaches driven by a nice Canadian boy named Patrick. It was Patrick’s last day on the job, and senioritis had definitely set in. Patrick had just quit to move back home to ass-fuck-no-where Canada and his mother thought his life was going downhill faster than the glacial winds. Apparently, Canadians really enjoy over-sharing. We learned at bit about Patrick and the skill it takes to drive a giant bus down a thirty-degree slope onto a glacier, but not a hell of a lot about the actual glacier. I’m about 90% certain the facts that he did give up were fake – which we get enough of at home, thank you very much. We later learned that all the young employees at this glacier operation live down the road in the “ice castle”, which is basically a co-ed frat house for Canadian university students working at the glacier for the summer. We therefore chalked Patrick’s lack of enthusiasm up to a hangover from his ice-castle goodbye party the night before. We’ve all been there. Give the kid a break.
They dropped us off on the glacier and gave us half an hour to walk around. Have you ever walked on a glacier without crampons? Neither have I. Because you can’t. It looked like my 10-year-old birthday party at the ice skating rink. But the people watching was fucking fantastic. The only thing better than 50 tourists fighting for the best selfie is 50 tourists who are walking like baby giraffes in a fucking wind storm on a glacier fighting for selfies. Our favorite was the Chinese woman in bedazzled jeans and a scrunchie with a fake hair extension built-in who used her husband as her personal photographer. We slyly had Suzanne pose for a picture next to her and called her Suz’s “mom” for the rest of the day. After about half an hour we piled back into our snowcoach and headed by for dry land. One of the tourists caught on to the fact that Patrick didn’t count how many people were on his bus before we left and asked if he has ever left someone on the behind. Patrick’s response: “Oh, every day. Soorry buddy, I don’t know your face”. Perhaps you had to hear it in the Canadian accent, but this has quickly become our quote of the trip. Apparently the other day a couple missed Patrick’s bus and couldn’t fit on another one for a solid two hours – stuck on a freezing ass cold glacier the entire time. Zero fucks in Canada! Patrick, you hungover bastard, you are really growing on me. Some Asian girls gave Patrick a big hug as they got off the bus, so naturally, Stina told Suz she’d buy her a drink if she gave Patrick an awkward hug. The first rule of Troop 638, never turn down a free drink. That rule actually still applies without the word “free” in it.
After the snowcoach we were shuttled onto another bus which took us to the “glacier skywalk”, which is a viewing platform over a canyon. It’s kinda stupid, but it came with our glacier adventure ticket and we saw some goats – first wildlife sighting of the trip – so we’ll call it a win. Our fourth and final driver back to the Icefields center was a mustached co-ed who was also fond of over-sharing. He informed us that the dorm is called the “ice-castle” because of all the ice princesses that live in it. Methinks someone hasn’t gotten laid at the Glacier Summer Camp for Misguided Adults. Something tells me Patrick didn’t have that problem – his glacier game was definitely on point.
Walking back into the Columbia Icefields center was like walking into a war zone refugee camp. Hoards of displaced tourists waiting in lines that seemed to go nowhere, running around trying to find the fastest way to get tickets. Who does buy tickets online before hand? Fucking amateurs, that’s who. THIS, my friends, is why you drag your ass out of bed before the sun comes up. To avoid shit like this. I mentally pat myself on the back for my superiors planning skills. We headed back down the parkway and stopped at the Parker Ridge Trail for an aggressive hike consisting of switchbacks up a mountain. The payoff at the top is supposedly amazing views overlooking another glacier, but due to the smoke in the air from the fires in nearby British Columbia, we couldn’t see shit. We renamed this “the hike to nowhere” and kept it moving. I also slightly rolled my ankle on the way down. It’s not an adventure unless Rory rolls her ankle. Not to worry, it’s fully walkable, and nothing is getting me down on this trip.
Next stop was Bow Lake, where we had a lovely picnic lunch and snapped a few pics. At this point, we had been up and fully active for over 9 hours, and it was only 3 pm. We went back to our hotel where we took some champagne and rose to the face while we sat in the hot tub. Did you think we were done for the day? Not even close. This was just the intermission. After a bit of down time (read: drinking and hot tub time), we were back out on the road for an evening visit to Lake Moraine. Here is the scoop on Lake Moraine – it’s a shit show. As one of the most famous lakes in the area (for good reason – see pics) you can really only visit before 9 am or after 6 pm because the crowds and parking are unbearable at any other time. We got there closer to 7 pm, found a parking spot, and poured ourselves some rose in plastic cups in the parking lot. Yes, we brought booze. I know you aren’t surprised. Moraine Lake was a stunning sight. The pictures look like I photoshopped myself into a Hollywood backdrop. But we all know I didn’t because that would require me to learn to use photoshop, and I can barely maneuver WordPress. It was, without a doubt, the happiest of all happy hours I have ever been a part of.
At this point, we were drunk and feeling fancy in our denim jackets so we headed down the road to the Fairmont Chateau at Lake Louise for dinner. Marissa sweet talked a very nice French man at one of the restaurants into a table outside with a view of the lake. As soon as we were seated, a crazed chipmunk jumped onto Suzanne’s leg. When she screamed he quickly ran away and jumped right on to a steak on the table of our fellow restaurant patron. Not sure if it was Alvin or one of his loser friends – probably whichever one is ballsy and hungry as fuck. Probably the fat one. One by one, everyone on the patio requested to be moved to a table inside because of the “wild animals”. I honestly don’t know if they were talking about the drunk Californian girls or the chipmunks. Whatever – later, losers.
We had another adorable young Canadian boy as our waiter. Trevor laughed at our jokes and seemed to enjoy our presence almost as much as we enjoy ourselves. He even laughed at all our Cougar Creek and Silver Tip jokes. Trust me, there were many. Stina made good on her awkward hug bet with Suzanne from earlier in the day and bought Suz and drink. Trevor was impressed that she kept her word, because he had recently won a bet with one of his friends who then bitched out on his punishment of jumping in the lake. We told Trevor to this friend, who also worked at the restaurant, out to see us. As he walked out we called him a pussy and screamed at him to jump in the lake until he ran away with a shart in his pants. If I were a better woman I’d guess we might the only people to scream the word “Pussy” on the grounds of the Chateau Lake Louise. One small step for man, one giant leap for obnoxious drunk bitches everywhere. After a fabulous meal overlooking one of the most famous lakes in the world, it was 10 pm and we headed to bed. I’m letting the girls sleep in tomorrow. Until 6 am. I’m nothing if not generous and accommodating.