I’m broken! My throat is hoarse and my stomach muscles ache from laughing so much because we’ve just had
one of the best extended weekends of our lives.
Ooft! Bold statement, Gemma! True but I say with confidence that if you sign up for a tour with West Trek Tours in Vancouver you’ll be saying the same thing. Craig and I have trekked, ceilidh danced, sang, eaten and partied with 52 other travellers from approximately twelve different countries through West Trek’s Summer Explorer Rockies Tour.
The next four articles are going to make you green with envy as we tell you about our time with the West Trek Wolf Pack in Valemount, Jasper, Banff, and of course, The Rockies’ famous lakes.
It quickly became apparent that this tour was more than just a bus full of international tourists hoping to spot a bear and take some snaps of Lake Louise. Within the first couple of hours our guide, Lee aka Papa Wolf, had us singing along to Bon Jovi, playing bus Olympics and Pass the Hug!
As we made our way through British Columbia, in the safe hands of our driver, Sexy Vincent, Papa Wolf shared funny stories and facts about the towns we were passing. Did you know that Abbotsford is the world’s highest producer of raspberries, is the town with the most churches (four) in Canada, has the greatest rates of teenage pregnancy and, wait for it, is the drive-by shooting capital of Canadaland (although it has now shed its title of murder capital of Canada)?! Lee’s eleven years of tour guiding has allowed him to build up an outstanding bank of anecdotes and stories. All of which are delivered with accents, energy and leave you sitting on the edge of your seat wanting to know how the story ends. There is also a word you are forbidden from saying and if you do, you have to commit to ten-star jumps…
Lee wasn’t alone. We had the privilege of meeting the new kid on the West Trek block, Francesca aka Mamacita Wolf! Ok, enough of the wolf chat, what’s that about? On a West Trek tour, there is no chance of being a passive group member, you are part of a wolf pack that howls together, get fat together and swims in lakes five degrees together.
Day one, Vancouver to Valemont, had two main focal points – to get to know each other and to get closer to Alberta. We made a couple of stops, one for coffee in Hope (see feature photo, this is where the first Rambo was filmed!) one for lunch and another to buy booze for the campfire that evening if you were that way inclined. No pressure if you don’t partake in the consumption of alcohol, there were plenty of baby wolves who had the same amount of fun as we did, without a hangover the following morning. Watch out for the Japanese Justin Bieber on day three.
The tour is set up to be extremely inclusive. As well as the wolf pack philosophy, Papa Wolf creates celebratory responses, the noises you make when you see something cool but with 53 of us doing it in unison! Most notably the ‘Japanese Girl’ -ahAHHHahhh (raising your voice in the middle then returning to normal pitch at the end,) ‘Korean Girl’ – ohhhhHHHohhh, and for us Two Scots ‘OH YA BEASTIE!’ This breaks the ice to help travellers move out of their comfort zone.
Fall-ing for the Rockies
We made one scenic (and sill photo) stop at Spahats Creek Falls where we started filming for our West Trek movie, which we watched together at the post-trip party.
Take heed (make a note) – book your onward travel a couple of days later so you don’t miss out. You will have Wolf Withdrawals and will need to fill the void by attending the party!
Our final destination for day one, Valemont, is where we checked into our hotels, dined on a pasta buffet and had a few drinks around the campfire. We chatted with a group of Mexicans (seriously beautiful people) and felt smug that we could understand some of the Spanish! Obviously, on the whole, they spoke English and we were the inept ones. We also tracked down the only Colombian on the trip, Sebastian, and told him repeatedly how much we adored his country. And in true Colombian character, he shared that admiration for his country too!
Not sure if sharing a bus is for you? Check out this guide to small group travel.
Is group travel for you?
Thanks to West Trek Tours for making this trip possible. Our honest views as always. We LOVED it!
Website: West Trek Tours
Tour: The Rocky Mountains (Summer Explorer)
Contact: (604) 408-WEST (9378)
Cost: $448 / £226 (adult) / $399 / £171 (student) + room upgrade options and additional activities