2017 marks the 150th year anniversary for Canada. To celebrate, the Canadian government offers free admission to all its national parks for the year. I didn’t know how incredible this deal is until I saw what these parks offer.

Here are some highlights I saw on this trip.

My mom originally wanted to go to Canada with her friends. But they ended up not going. So, I go with her to keep her safe. I can make new friends but I cannot get a new mother if something happens.

I had no intention of going in the first place since Canada is not cheap enough for me to spend freely. I’d rather go to cheaper countries like Thailand and buy all the durian and Tom Yum. However, I think the price for this Canada trip is worth it.

Calgary

We flew to Calgary International Airport from Houston and rented a car. Having a car is essential for national parks if you want to explore thoroughly. Fortunately, the traffic system is very similar to the US with the exceptions of the signs. Calgary is a rather clean city. I saw a lot of empty space near the airport. The highway is full of green trees and grass.

In YYC, the luggage constantly gives me a static shock when I touch the metal stick below the red cart handle. Not sure if this is the Canadian way of saying hello to Americans.

Canadian Dollars

After we leave the airport, we bought some supplies from Walmart. In Canada, you need to insert a coin into a shopping cart in order to use it. I didn’t exchange any USD for CAD so I just went with a shopping basket instead. If you use credit card, especially those without foreign transaction fee, you do not have to exchange for CAD. Most places, even in the national parks, accept credit cards. I never use cash for purchases in this trip. Still, having some coins handy is good. Even if you don’t shop at Walmart, you can flip it when you can’t decide on something.

Canadian coins have pictures of various native wildlife on the tail side. Coincidentally, I saw most of these animals on this trip.

Lunch at Buffet Yangtze

We ate at a Chinese buffet, Buffet Yangtze, near Walmart. The foods there are made for Chinese, not Americans. They taste less sweet and salty than most Chinese buffets in the US. The buffet also serves unusual dishes such as chicken feet, cuttlefish, and beef tripe. They also play an interesting mix of music. One of the song I recognized was a Japanese pop song from 1991 named “Love Story wa Totsuzen ni” played in traditional Chinese instruments.

The price per person is 15 CAD (11 USD) which is not bad. I glanced at the kitchen and found Asian people cooking the foods. The taste is authentic as expected even the ingredients could be better. I only wished the menu has more proteins than carb.

Trans-Canada Highway

For most of the trip, we were on Trans-Canada Highway. At the start, we went west to a small town named Revelstoke in British Columbia. The highway is surprisingly beautiful right after we got away from Calgary. There are mountains, lakes, and trees everywhere. This alone makes it worth renting a car.

In early summer, wildflowers commonly grow along the highway. The yellow ones are dandelions. They are considered weeds to most gardeners, however.
Wildlife such as bears, moose, deer, and wolves are important to Canada. That’s why there are wildlife crossing bridges like this one made specifically to avoid road accidents for these creatures. I’d say it works since I didn’t see any dead animal along the highway.

Lakes, mountains, and trees are common features of this highway.

My mom drove for this trip while I navigated. When not navigating, I snapped photos along the way.

The weather was mostly rain and cloud for this trip. That’s favorable to me since light was always even on the ground surface. There is no extreme shadow or highlight to worry about. However, that also mean I cannot get stunning sunrise and sunset as well.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for the next post about Revelstoke and Mount Revelstoke National Park!

 

Categories: Travel

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