Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Banff Alberta Canada

Once again we were up early and out of the condo by 8:00 a.m. You would think now that we are on vacation we could sleep in, but not us. We headed to downtown Banff to get our National Park parking pass and to gather brochures, etc. Then we went to the Banff Fairmount Springs Hotel to see the inside of the “castle”. We walked all over the castle and found our way out on the back piazza where we took many pictures of Mt Rundle. We then walked down the hill to the Bow River Falls and Bow River. This falls is pretty small, but quite wide. The walk was very pleasant as it was lined with log fences and many beautiful trees.

We had heard that there was something in the park called “hoodoos”, so we asked at the information center and the ranger told us how to get to the hoodoos. Up the mountain road we climbed until we reached the pinnacle of Tunnel Road. There was a loop trail that we took to see the hoodoos. Hoodoos are large strange termite house looking structures that have been eroded through the years and resemble huge termite houses. They were very fascinating to see.

Then we headed to the Banff Upper Springs and the Banff Gondola. At first I was disappointed in the springs. People were in their bathing suites in a pool. That is all it looked like. Then a little down the road we saw some hot springs coming out of the rock. That was interesting. We felt the water and it was warm and steaming. I thought it might be hot, but it was only lukewarm. We did not go on the gondola because we had spent money in Whistler for a gondola ride and didn’t feel that we needed to spend the money again on the same kind of experience. Here Dad is trying to reach the hot springs... He doesn't particularly like this shot! I wonder why?

Off we went to the Vermillion Lakes where we saw deer and a couple of bald eagles. We weren’t sure if one of the birds was a falcon or an eagle, but both birds were incredible. The vermillion lakes were absolutely beautiful. We decided that if the weather was any better we would come back tonight to see if we could get any better pictures of the mountains reflection in the mirrored waters.

Mt Norquay was near the vermillion lakes, so we took the ski mountain road to the ski lodge. We were so thrilled to see more big horned sheep. As Jayna got out to take a picture of the sheep, the smaller sheep of the group started charging the lady beside her, so Jayna quickly got back in the car. At the pinnacle of the mountain was a beautiful overlook of the city of Banff and the lovely Bow river. Just a little further was the ski lodge, which of course was closed. However, the slopes were lovely and we greatly enjoyed this road. Aren't these sheep incredible?

On to the Minnewanka Lake, via the Cascade Mountain Waterfall and the Cascade ponds. The waterfall was kind of scraggly, but the ponds were glorious. We took many pictures of the ponds that were connected by charming wooden bridges. We decided that if we ever want to have a picnic again in this area we need to come back here. As we were enjoying these ponds, thunder began rolling and then the rain came, accompanied by hail and ice pellets, we hid our car under a tree until the front passed by. Lake Minnewanka was barely seeable as the fog had set in so we came back later.

We went back to the Cascade Ponds later when the sun was shining. Here are some pictures of the same place while the sun is shining!

This evening we did go back to the Vermillion Lakes to see if we could see any wildlife or get mirrored pictures of the mountains. What a fabulous eveing. We got to see another bald eagle, some deer and as we were getting ready to leave, we went back to Lake #2 and there was a whole herd of Elk. There were at least 15 that we saw. Then, out from the thicket came the grand daddy of all! He was the biggest elk we had ever seen. He strutted out of the thicket like he was the king of the pack. While Stephen and Dad were googling over the elk, Jayna began snapping pictures of the sunset on the mountains in the mirrored glass waters of the lakes. I don’t think there was a bad picture in the lot. Every picture was a masterpiece. Stephen’s chatter and obvious love of elk permeated the conversation for the rest of the way back to the condo. Immediately upon our arrival to the condo, Steve was downloading pictures to see if we got any pictures of the elk. The elk were across the lake, so we weren’t sure that the pictures would turn out, but we did get a few pictures. However, upon seeing the pictures of the sunset, he was very disappointed that he missed it!

1 comment:

sarajworley said...

Oh, that last picture is my favorite! That's incredible!