whenever sister comes to visit, it’s now common knowledge that we’ll be adventuring in the rockies. when hearing of her upcoming trip, friends started asking, “where to this time?”

jasper!

in the (almost) seven years i have lived here, we’ve only been in jasper for one night. one month after i moved, sister came to visit for thanksgiving and we did a whirlwind “all the rockies in three days” road trip. calgary to jasper on day one, jasper to banff on day two, and banff home on day three. it was a little ambitious to say the least, and we didn’t really get to see much while we were there.

after exploring in banff, canmore, kananaskis, waterton, montana, field, vancouver, victoria, and seattle, we gathered it was time to go back up to jasper.

currently carless, Ford Canada was incredibly kind to let us borrow a 2018 Ford Escape Titanium – or as we called her, Ivy. it felt so nice to drive again, and more than a few times i questioned why i haven’t bought a new vehicle yet.

our four-day trip included hiking, afternoon tea, sightseeing, picnics, swimming and overnight stays. we needed to pack a lot of stuff! thankfully, the 2018 Ford Escape was designed to make life easier. we were able to fold down both rear seat backs for a flat load surface and 68 cubic feet of total cargo space.

the hands-free foot-activated liftgate was also incredibly helpful. with our hands full of bags and groceries, all we had to do was kick a foot under the bumper and the trunk opened automatically.

with the car fully packed, it was time to start the 400km+ journey. the icefields parkway is an absolutely stunning drive with many places to stop and stretch your legs – and take photos while you’re at it.

it is also known for spotting wildlife! we saw two black bears, one grizzly bear, deer, cow elk, horned sheep and mountain goats (they are so fluffy!).

it’s also the drive of the countless waterfalls. tangle creek, sunwapta, athabasca – stop at them all.

once you arrive, jasper has plenty of parking – be it hotel, street or lot – which is super helpful, because a car is very needed. there are bus shuttles to major attractions, but nothing is close enough to walk or bike to (unless you’re a bike-crazed person). the drive to maligne lake is 50km from the town centre.

on the day we left, it was rainy, but there is something so beautiful about low clouds and moody skies.

we filled the tank with gas, and i was delighted at the price. i expected to pay a lot more than i did. with standard Auto Start-Stop Technology, the 2018 Escape reduces fuel consumption and vehicle emissions during city driving, shutting down the engine when it senses the vehicle sitting idle. when you lift your foot from the brake pedal, the engine instantly restarts and you’re on your way.

it doesn’t mean it is low on power. the standard 2.0L Twin-Scroll EcoBoost® engine delivers 245 horsepower and 275lb.-ft of torque at 5500 rpm, the unique turbocharger design ensures you have quick, powerful torque delivery when you need it most.

no bridgman sister trip in the rockies is complete without a stop at bow lake. it may be the only spot we consistently say hi to.

after 1,000km and four days of exploring, we were finally home and i started planning how i could get a Ford Escape Titanium, or the smaller Ford EcoSpot SUV, in my life full-time.

have you gone to jasper? what’s your favourite part of the drive?

thank you Ford Canada for making our road trips possible.

the last day of vacation is always hard. i’m not the person who’s all “i’m looking forward to getting home.” as we sat on the patio of our Jasper hotel, drinking lattes and eating our yogurt and croissants by the fire, i couldn’t help but feel a bit sad to leave this relaxing and calm town.

it helps to plan an exciting adventure in the middle of your drive home to ease the pain.

about halfway between Jasper and Calgary lives the Columbia Icefield. the Icefield – the largest body of ice in the Canadian Rockies – is one of the reasons why the United Nations declared Canada’s four Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Sites.

Pursuit invited us on a once-in-a-lifetime experience to go on a Glacier Adventure and walk out onto the Athabasca Glacier – one of the glaciers that makes up the Columbia Icefield.

the adventure begins with a ride onto the Athabasca Glacier in an all-terrain Ice Explorer – a massive vehicle specifically designed for glacier travel. on the 15-20 minutes drive up to the glacier, an experienced driver-guide will share a wealth of fascinating information about glaciers and their impact on our environment.

here are some nifty facts: the Icefield covers 215 square kilometres with solid ice estimated up to 1,200 feet deep. meltwater from the Icefield flows to three oceans: the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic via Hudson Bay.

once you stop, you’ll step off the Ice Explorer and straight onto the glacier. no matter how warm a day it is, you’ll probably want to pack a sweater or jacket as the glacial winds are rather chilly. and leave your flip-flops or high heels in the car – you’ll want running shoes with good tread or your hiking boots for this adventure. you are walking on ice after all.

oh! and make sure to bring an empty water bottle, as you can fill it straight from the glacier. talk about cold and fresh!

as you walk around, you’ll instinctively start snapping photos of everything. it’s a sight like no other to be up on the glacier. do yourself a favour and put down the camera for a moment. just absorb the immensity of the Icefields up close. you’ll have 20 minutes to explore the small section of glacier, so there is still plenty of time to get the perfect instagram shot.

how cute is sister being all patriotic? there are a scattering of Canadian flags at the boundary limit of the glacier. great for photo-ops, and a good marker of knowing not to proceed any further.

after leaving the glacier, the guide takes you over to the Glacier Skywalk, which is located a few minutes north of the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre (where you park your car). the coach ride over is scenic and you’ll most likely catch a glimpse of a mountain goat or horned sheep. occasionally, they’ll even be in the middle of the road, licking salt from the pavement and obstructing traffic.

the Glacier Skywalk experience begins along the cliff-edge walkway called the Discovery Trail. extending along the Sunwapta Valley, this entire journey is presented in an interpretive story-telling format recording available in numerous languages. the one-kilometre walk has many learning checkpoints along the way and is capped by stunning mountain and glacial vistas.

it all ends with a walk out onto a platform where glass is all that separates you from a 918-foot drop. look down to see the ragged cliffs below. you’ll feel as if you’ve been suspended in the middle of it all.

the last glass floor walk i did was at the calgary tower, where i felt my stomach jump into my throat on my first step out. i’m not usually afraid of heights, but there was something a bit scary about see cars drive past below my feet. thankfully the Glacier Skywalk didn’t cause the same fearful reaction. the wide walkway made for a comfortable and calming way to see everything the Sunwapta Valley had to offer from a very unique vantage point.

the Glacier Skywalk is a self-paced attraction, so you can spend as little or as much time there as you’d like. once you’ve had your fill of stunning views, head back the way you came and grab a bus back to the Discovery Centre.

if you’re short on time, you can do the Glacier Skywalk as a single-attraction excursion, instead of coupling it with the Glacier Adventure.

i was very happy to see that this incredibly unique perspective of nature at its finest is fully accessible to all abilities. i’d love for more companies to champion inclusion – everyone deserves to see our province’s beauty; the national park represents a place of peace and wilderness for everyone. also, one-quarter of Pursuit’s Ice Explorer fleet that tours the Athabasca Glacier are extra-long, with special wheelchair lifts and can comfortably carry up to two wheelchairs at a time in addition to the regular 56 passenger seats.

spread all the love.


have you walked on a glacier or glass floor before?

thank you Pursuit for taking us out on this glacier adventure and letting us experience Jasper at new heights. 

willow park village

sister and i got an email last weekend from dad:

may I reiterate there is absolutely NO NEED AT ALL to spend money on me, please. A phone call or an e-mail is 100% fine.

sure, pops, like that will happen.

if you’ve met Richard, you know that he is the most generous person. if anyone deserves to be spoiled, it’s him. and sometimes you need to show your appreciation in phone calls AND gifts.

knowing we’d want to give dad a gift, but also do dinner together, i headed to Willow Park Village because it has everything i was looking for.

located in calgary’s south, Willow Park Village is an outdoor shopping centre committed to supporting and fostering local business to curate an unparalleled mix of the finest in boutique fashion, home furnishings, cuisine, spa services, accessories and gifts – so that every need you have is met in just one stop.

make sure you’ve got comfortable shoes on, grab yourself a Starbucks, sample a few bites from Cobs Bread and get ready to shop until you drop.

urban butcher

urban butcher

did you know that mother’s day is the busiest restaurant day? everyone gives mom break. the same doesn’t hold true for father’s day. usually, you send dad out to do something he loves – ahem, golf – and then you have dinner together. we always tried to take dad out, but he’d just try to pay for everyone. instead of fighting him for the bill, we’ve settled on letting him barbecue for us. to make things feel a bit more special, we opt for steaks and an assortment of grilled veggies. if you want good meat, you have to go to the source – the butcher. urban butcher offers the finest quality cuts of ethically and naturally raised local meats, including Alberta beef. they believe the kitchen shouldn’t be an intimidating space and are happy to chat about what products they have on hand, their farmers, or what the best accompaniments are.

clarks england

clarks england

when anyone says “dad style”, i can only assume they have met my father. fashionable he is not, but it’s not that bad – just basic. he’s the jeans and a sweater or polo tucked into his jeans with a belt type of dad. he has a few pairs of dress shoes left over for when he worked an office job, and his trusty runners. if he’s lacking in a specific fashion department, i would definitely say it’s footwear! that’s why i ventured into clarks england. known for their iconic desert boot, they have a range of both men’s and women’s styles. dad is a bit trepidatious when it comes to “new”, but he’s also very willing to trust his daughters’ advice. i’m curious to know what sister has to say, but i think he could pull off a camel-coloured desert boot with his jeans. he’ll be a hip dad before we know it! probably not, Richard loves a good dad joke.

home treasures and more

home treasures and more

newly separated, dad is living alone for the first time. now in his 60s, i’m not sure he’s ever had to develop a personal style when it comes to home decor. if you show him things, he knows what he doesn’t like, but he’s still not too confident in what he does like. thankfully for him, sister is incredible at interior design and she has a way of making spaces match so perfectly with someone’s personality. she has been the biggest influence on dad’s new home, from picking out his new sectional to deciding where to hang prints. as he is slowly building a new collection of things to call his own, we’ve spent the last few holidays buying him gifts for his house. for christmas he got two new lamps and a side table for the living room. while he has the basics, it’s the little extras he is still missing. that’s where home treasures and more comes into play. they have all of those pieces to complement every room in your house. i’m a firm believer that artwork and the extra trinkets are what truly finish a space and express personal style.

skoah

skoah

when you think skincare, it’s usually not associated with men. the dudes need to care for their skin just as much as the ladies and skoah knows it. they have a specific line just for men, including their shave kream, which has been featured in men’s health. skoah also offers a “mancial” – a customized man facial. or as they call them a skin care workout. these workouts include deep cleansing, exfoliation, extractions, customized masks, and muscle-melting massage. talk about the most relaxing, blissful, and ‘sweat-free’ workout. the mancial also includes a soothing neck and beard treatment to reduce redness, irritation and ingrown hairs in problematic areas. and while that sinks in, they’ll exfoliate his feet with powerful alpha hydroxy acids. who doesn’t love a bit of pampering? sign dad up!

with everything checked off my list, i’m headed into father’s day armed with unique gifts and delicious food. and there is still time for you to head to Willow Park Village to do the same!


what are you getting your dad for father’s day?

this post is sponsored by Willow Park Village. thank you for making this post, and Richard’s father’s day, possible.