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Exploring Banff: Canada’s Crown Jewel

— By: The Team at Nau

Take a trip to Canada’s oldest crown jewel with the raddest ladies around: Laura Visconti, Laura Arbo and Ruthanne Z. Story by Laura Arbo

Four years ago, I made a simple yet profound promise to myself to start saying ‘yes’ to opportunities that presented themselves but seemed scary. Anything that made me hesitate out of fear, I would push through and go for it regardless of what my anxious heart was telling me. This small decision to say ‘yes’ to the scary things has changed the course of my life. It’s how I met Matt (rock climbing!), the reason we eloped at a waterfall 12 months later and then moved across the country to Portland, OR after selling most of our possessions. Fast forward a few years and it’s also why I said ‘yes’ to a whirlwind trip to Banff, Canada with Nau Clothing and a couple of the raddest ladies you’ll ever meet.

I boarded a 7 am flight from Portland to meet up with Ruthanne and Laura, excited to spend the next 72 hours exploring and documenting what we saw. And let me tell you, I wasn’t ready for what I was about to experience. Banff is easily one of the most breathtaking places in the world! I still don’t know how one has the capacity to take in this much beauty. (WE WERE FREAKING OUT around every corner!) I landed in Canada, hopped in the car with Ruthanne, our amazing photographer, and we started exploring immediately. However, before heading to the mountains we needed fuel. And by fuel, I mean hamburgers (obviously). We stopped at Park Restaurant + Distillery and it quickly became our favorite hangout. I’m not ashamed to admit we ate there three different times in the course of 72 hours. Put it on your list because it is worth it!

Our destination that evening was Peyto Lake. We knew the sunset views were gorgeous and wanted to shoot some of our favorite Nau fall pieces with the lake as the backdrop. The water is the most amazing shade of ice blue! I’m going to let the photos do the talking because words cannot do it justice. I was giddy with happiness and my eyes were sore on the way home from trying to take so much in. We stayed until the sun went down then headed back into Banff to pick up the third member of our team!

 

The next morning, we woke up and ran around downtown Banff. It’s not very big but there’s charm around every single corner. It is a gorgeous town with the Rockies as a backdrop and it’s impossible not to be smitten by this place and the people. Our Nau gear was perfect to take us from the city to the mountains. I felt comfortable, stylish and ready for brunch or a mountain hike. After lunch, we packed up and drove to Lake Louise! Lake Louise was one of the most popular spots we visited so prepared for a lot of foot traffic here. It was packed! But also amazingly gorgeous.

After Lake Louise, our trip took an unexpected turn and we decided to drive to Jasper! Why not, right?! I think the drive up was one of my favorite parts of this trip. The sites along the highway are awe inspiring. Mountain range after mountain range with glaciers and wildlife and a tree line that doesn’t ever reach it’s end. We had to stop ourselves from constantly hopping out of the car to explore but we did allow a few quick detours. What’s a roadtrip without some unplanned adventuring?! Not any kind I want to be on.

We finally reached Maligne Lake about an hour before sunset. Our intention was to hike to Spirit Island, but we didn’t realize how long of a hike that would actually be and decided it would be impossible for us to make it. It’s hard to be upset about a change in plans with this much beauty around. We hiked the lake route for as long as the sunlight would allow and snapped more photos. Feast your eyes because this is about to get good.

As the darkness surrounded us, we hiked back to the car (VERY quickly because we saw bear poop on the trail!!) and started the four hour drive back to our Airbnb. Fueled by country music, Dr Pepper, convenient store ice cream and sleep deprived giggle fits, we headed back towards Banff. Our last night together was already here and it felt like I’d barely scratched the surface of all I needed to see. It was hard going to sleep that night knowing what we’d be waking up to explore the next day.

That next morning, we drove to Moraine Lake. (You may have heard of it.) The traffic was getting pretty heavy and the parking lot was already full, which meant we had to take a shuttle. At this point, I wasn’t sure if what we were about to see would live up to the hype. I’m happy to say I was wrong. Moraine is breathtaking!! We hiked to the top, laughing and making inside jokes, and were all stunned by how gorgeous it was. It’s other worldly. I feel a deep appreciation that I was able to visit. And not only visit, but take a canoe ride inside this glacier lake! What is this life?! My canoe skills are complete rubbish but I still couldn’t stop smiling.

From all day airline travel, to brunching in town, to long road trips, to hiking up mountains to canoeing in glacier lakes – my Nau gear was perfect! It’s all I wore the entire trip. And what I’ve worn every day since returning to Portland!

Here are a few of my favorite pieces from their fall collection:

– Long Sleeve Kanab Striped Crew 

– Ellipsis Recycled Down Shirt Jacket in Ponderosa 

– Randygoat Stretch Tights

– Long Sleeve Randygoat Lite Zip Neck Pullover

– Asym Lite Insulated Trench

Photos courtesy of Ruthanne Z and Laura Visconti. Read more from Laura Arbo at therarbos.com

Laura Arbo also curated our latest Playlist on Spotify.