The final stop on our trip was in Banff where the smoke was still lingering. A bigger town than most of the others on our trip, we were able to wander along the main high street, dipping in and out of stores and looking at all the touristy tat that was on offer. We were staying in a beautiful resort just outside the centre of town, which would have offered incredible views of the surrounding forests and mountains, had we been able to see them!
Ashley had been dying to go mountain biking since he had set eyes on those that were geared up in Whistler taking on the dry slopes. Whilst that had looked ever so slightly too intense for the rest of us, we were happy to have a go on our last day in Banff. We hired some bikes and set off on a trail that started from the hotel. A gruelling uphill start implied that this was not going to be a walk in the park… We soon left the footpath and found ourselves bumping over fallen tree trunks and around sharp bends. Ash had zoomed off ahead, showing us exactly how it was done, while I was taking up the rear, slightly concerned about the strange noises coming from my brakes! The trail took us into the forest with some incredibly fun slopes and slightly unnerving turns near cliff edges. Apart from a tumble from Shell (which I must say she did with style!), we made it back in one piece, completely exhausted! Ash was on a high and said it had been his favourite part of the holiday, which made it well worth doing! We rewarded ourselves with an evening in the outdoor hot tub and pool, which looked out onto the smokey mountain views.
We had our final gondola ride on the Banff Gondola with some very chilly temperatures at the top resulting in a descent back down after not too long! A final wander through the town and then to the airport we headed. We had our final trip in our trusty red ride which had worked perfectly for the entire two weeks and had ensured we got everywhere safely. We handed over the keys and there we had it. Our fantastic family adventure came to an end as we sat in departures feeling a combination of relaxed, exhausted, and lucky. Lucky to have had the opportunity to explore a tiny part of a wonderful country. Lucky to have been able to do lots of things, to explore and make the most of this opportunity. And lucky to have spent two weeks of quality time with some of the most important people in my life.