Glamping with Baby
We attended a wedding in Canmore at the end of June. The Rocky Mountains served as a backdrop for the outdoor ceremony, and the reception was just as beautiful and fun - they served S'mores and poutine!
We stayed the night in Canmore, and headed to Banff National Park the next day for a few days of camping... rather, glamping.
After an unsuccessful attempt to book our spot on the Parks Canada website, I called and snagged the last Otentik at Tunnel Mountain. An Otentik is a cross between a cabin and a tent. They are situated on raised wooden platforms with canvas sides and are equipped with electricity, heat, lighting, a table and four chairs, and a bench. There is even a cute little patio with two Adirondack chairs. They can sleep six, and there was lots of room with just the three of us. Each site has a fire pit, picnic bench, and bear box. All you have to bring is bedding, towels, and food. And, if you're smart, foamies for the prison-hard mattresses. We were not smart.
When we checked in, we were told that wolves had recently been spotted at the site. That made middle of the night walks to the bathroom a little more exciting. While I was happy to see Jon standing in his underwear on our little balcony to ensure my safe return, I'm not sure our neighbours felt the same! Jokes aside, the camp site was laid out well. You could see your neighbours, but there was still some semblance of privacy.
We are not avid campers and don't have a lot of gear. That being said, our vehicle was absolutely packed to the nuts with stuff. Initially, I thought we went a little overboard with baby stuff, but we used everything! We brought our Pack 'N Play, white noise machine, baby monitor, GoPod, lobster high chair, carrier, jogging stroller, mosquito net, a big blanket to spread out on the ground, and lots of sleepers and clothes. I didn't pack a small blanket for the stroller or a toque, which I regretted given the cold mountain air. We didn't have a baby bathtub, so we improvised and Baby B had a nice warm bath in the cooler!
The first night, we ate at the Grizzly House in Banff. It's a fondue place that serves local and exotic meats. We had the choice of hot oil fondue or a hot rock. Our server recommended the hot rock. It was fun and good, but a little stressful with a squirmy seven-month old, raw meat, a hot rock, and skewers on the table. I held little missy and Jon did the cooking.
Seeing as we did not bring dishes or anything to clean up, the rest of our meals were pretty much hotdogs, chips and more S'mores. We brought rice cereal for the baby, a few pouches of baby food, and some fresh fruit.
The second day, we made the trek to Lake Louise. We had to park in overflow parking and were supposed to take a shuttle to our destination. However, once we had parked and unloaded all of our stuff, we realized that we had forgotten the diaper bag. No diapers, no wipes, no extra outfit, no warm baby clothes. Uh-oh. We were ready to abandon ship, but remembered that we had outfitted each vehicle with an emergency kit of extra diapers and wipes so we decided to roll the dice and keep driving right to Lake Louise. We parked in the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel's underground parking and went in for a quick bite. They have a lot of dining options, and we ended up at Alpine Social. We shared some appetizers and Jon ordered a smoked old fashioned for the heck of it.
We borrowed a blanket from the restaurant to tuck in the stroller and walked around the lake. Later that afternoon, we hit up the farmer's market in Banff and hung out in the park listening to live music and people watching.
The next morning, on our way out of the park we asked for a recommendation for a close-by, short hike that would lead to a waterfall. Cascade Falls was suggested, but they told us to make sure we had bear spray so we thought better of it. With all the talk of wolves and bears, the only animals we ended up seeing were some scraggly mountain goats on the side of the road.
Between baths in the cooler and borrowing blankets, a big theme of the trip was just making do! We threw the schedule for naps out the window and Baby B slept on the road or in the stroller while we were out and about. Once she was down for the night, it was nice to sit around the fire and talk - and eat S'mores - incidentally, another big theme of the trip.