For the past couple of weeks I've been exploring West Canada & The Rockies with The Travel Project. I was tasked with discovering how the great outdoors and the county’s famed national parks are an integral part of Canada's culture.
In truth, it didn't take me long to see how the incredible nature here is an essential, and completely integrated part of Canadian life.
Flying into Vancouver, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from Canada. I’d always seen amazing photos of the National Parks (mainly through Instagram) and heard that the people were overwhelmingly friendly (true). But what I didn’t expect was just how diverse the scenery would be…
Our first stop was Whistler, just a 90-minute scenic bus journey from Vancouver. Before we could even check-in to our hotel, we were whisked off on a buggy ready to begin the first activity – zipling through the mountains!
More than just being incredibly fun, it also gave a great perspective of how dramatically the nature can change here. All through winter this place is covered in snow and is regarded as one of the best ski & snowboard resorts in the world. But come summer time, it’s a haven for hikers, rock climbers, mountain bikers and thrill-seekers alike!
Talk about making the most of your own backyard; Canadian’s know what they have in this beautiful place, and spend every minute possible outside and enjoying it to the max. And with views like this, who can blame them…
After two days of ziplining, mountain climbing, hiking & canoeing it was time to leave Whistler behind and head on to our next major stop – Jasper, Alberta!
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The whole drive felt like we were passing through a huge national park, with constantly changing landscapes rolling past. The first thing that struck me was how clean and untouched the scenery seemed to be, which brings me to my next point…
Did you know that this year is Canada's 150th Anniversary? To see how well kept and respected the national parks are is a testament to how the country's been run over those 150 years.
Next up was Banff, often regarded as one of the most beautiful parks in Canada and actually the main reason I wanted to come to Canada. If you’ve ever seen a photo of a turquoise lake with the reflection of a Canadian mountain in, the chances are that it’s from Banff.
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Arriving in Banff was however a little bit of an anticlimax. The sky was covered in smoke from nearby forest fires so sadly we didn’t get the crystal clear view of Lake Louise that you might have seen in photographs. Determined not to let it hinder our experience, we set about exploring nevertheless and were treated to views like these:
The next day however, the sky cleared up and we were treated to Banff in all her glory…
The main thing I took away after seeing all these incredible, contrasting places was how well protected they are.
It's clear that the people here take pride in the conservation of their national parks and do everything they can to connect with the great outdoors.
Whether it’s skiing in the winter or hiking in the summer, everyone I spoke to insisted they try to get out into nature as much as possible.
It’s no surprise that Canada is listed as one of the most beautiful countries in the world and I think that’s largely down to how well connected the people are to their surroundings.
The natural landscapes here seem to be used responsibly rather than taken advantage of, and perhaps that connection to the land is the reason why everyone seems so happy.
After 11 intense days of exploring, I still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what this country can offer… Until next time Canada, I’ll be back for sure!
Jordan Simons travelled on Contiki’s Canada & the Rockies trip after submitting an article to our community contributor program, which caught our eye. If you are travel vlogger/Instagrammer like Jordan, who would like to have you work featured on six-two and maybe even do a Travel Project mission of your own, visit our community page.