Thursday, July 29, 2010

Canmore Calgary

We were supposed to go to Lake Louise today, but the weather was raining and foggy, so we altered plans and took off for Calgary, Canmore. As soon as we got out of Banff National Park heading to Calgary the fog lifted and the sun was shining. We stopped at the Calgary Olympic Park first. What a delight to see the 1988 Olympic park is still in use today. Canada did not win any gold medals in the 1988 Olympics, but as time has gone on, they are making a concerted effort to win more and more of the winter games. The Olympic park has added all kinds of buildings and altered the original ski jumps, etc… Everywhere we looked there were children being trained on how to ski jump, there were lessons on luge and ice skating, etc. Children were everywhere. It seems that in the summer month’s mountain biking takes the place of downhill skiing. There were bikers everywhere. AND, they were very young. This first picture is of a ski jump that was used in 1988: The second picture is a luge.

The Calgary fort was rather interesting to me. As the Calgary Stampede was just last week, the town was tearing down all of the entertainment areas. We were not able to get into the stampede area, but a “real cowboy” as Mom Beutler called him, greeted us and encouraged us to turn back. I think the “real cowboy” was enough for Mom as she thought he was quite handsome in his cowboy boots, chaps and hat! I understand that there were over 3 million people here last week! That seems very amazing as the Stampede park was right down town.

The old historic fort at Calgary evidently hosted a reenactment of the old Calgary Mounted Police Days when the Canadian Mounties called “F-Troup” were stationed at Calgary to make peace with the Indians. The fort was not that impressive, but it was fun to hear those who were at the reenactment talk about the “F-troup”. I thought the old television program was just a hoax but we soon learned that there was actually a F-troup. The Chief indian’s name was the same as the name used in the reenactment. “Ze Burglar from Banff” was actually a real person.

Canmore was a city that was put on the map as they participated in hosting the 1988 Olympic games. They are now a very tourist town. Actually the town looks a lot like the town of Banff. We visited the original Canadian Mounted Police station and took some pictures.

We then headed back to Banff out to Johnson lake. What a lovely lake. It was not in my book on places that you must see in Banff, but I am very glad that we went today. I do believe that it is one of my favorite lakes here. We saw a couple of female elk that were majestic. Stephen dunked his head in the mountain stream and we walked around the lake on a well defined trail head

As we left this park and headed down the Bow River Parkway we ran into a great big bull elk. He had 12 points on his rack. He was incredible. The people didn’t seem to bother him at all, he just kept on eating. Both Dad and Steve got out of the car snapping pictures. Then, just about ½ mile down the road we ran across a little black bear and had a great time getting pictures of him…then about 500 feet, we ran into another black bear. Only this one was much bigger.

The Bow River Parkway has to be about the most gorgeous parkway on the face of the earth. It is going to be very difficult to go back to the flat land of Indiana and the same old corn fields after seeing majestic mountains, gurgling rushing streams, bald eagles soaring, Elk bleating, bears, mountain goats, big horned sheep, sunsets reflecting on still waters…

We went downtown Banff to eat tonight at Eddies Hamburger Bar. They were huge hamburgers, made your way, served with sweet potato fries! Last evening Jayna was up all night with an upset stomach, throwing up, etc… and today Steve was not feeling well in his stomach. He didn’t get sick, but just didn’t feel well today. Now tonight Dad is not feeling well… BUT, the hamburger (which we split) was very tasty!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Check out our wildlife pictures

Steve got most excited when he saw animals! Tell Kinsen, Jaybin, Grant and Mason that every picture Grandpa shot, he said "Oh, I wish my grandkids were here to see this!

More pictures of Banff

Here are some random pictures around Banff - I think you will agree that they are incredible!

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!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

We have arrived in Bonners Ferry

We have not had internet or cell phone service while we were in Banff National Park. We are finally able to communicate with our family and friends. It is always a relief to know that everyone is okay and the grandchildren are doing well as well. Stephanie has been having some pre-labor as she has been moving from Marion Indiana to Kokomo these last couple of weeks. The doctor asked her to rest more and not lift as much. Try resting when you are moving! Now I feel badly for not being there to help her! Being a parent never ends does it?

This afternoon we arrived at Gene and Ernie Gibson's log home in Idaho! It is as beautiful as I remembered. You know how you remember something as incredible and when you see it again, it is not that impressive....well....that is NOT true of the Gibson's home and the scenery around it. You sit on the deck and see bald eagles soaring over the valley. The rushing river below glistens in the sun. There is this constant breeze that blows across your face...I tell you I could sit out on the deck or stretch out in the hammock every morning with a hot cup of coffee!

Internet is dial up in Idaho and so I don't have my computer to post our experience in Banff National Park. We will return home on Thursday and I will post pictures and updates when we get home.