Banff offers a walk in the clouds; Colin Covert; Minneapolis Star Tribune

Canada – Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks

How is it possible? How can they all be so jaw-droppingly, picture-perfect blue? The vast rivers and lakes beside the saw-toothed Canadian Rockies of central Alberta are an otherworldly, electric shade of turquoise. Staring at them makes you wonder if you walked out of reality and into a surreal Instagram.

While visiting backcountry Canada was never high on my life list, several adventurous, outdoorsy friends thought otherwise. I’m grateful I joined them in June on a weeklong visit to Banff, the home of Canada’s oldest national park, one of its best known and most popular. I’ve taken trips expecting “good.” This was one of the most delightful I have ever had, an experience akin to falling completely in love.

Some experiences were daunting. Hikes up the inexhaustible trails can be grueling. With significant wolf and bear populations, this is not a petting zoo.

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