Monday, September 10, 2007

More Banff Weekend

I'm still pretty proud of myself for hiking the Sulphur Mt. trail. The view was amazing. We rode down on the gondola with an elderly couple from Long Island. There seem to be lots of older couples from the NY area on tour buses, and there were lots of tour buses. After the gondola ride, we headed to the Banff Springs Hotel. I had seen photos of it and wanted to see it up close and personal. It is just pretty amazing. Toby and I walked around the inside, but while we were in a bar area, some guy said he was setting up for a wedding - in other words we needed to leave. I am not sure what gave it away that we were not part of a wedding party - it could have been our sweat-shirts or maybe my tennis shoes. So we headed outside and took photos outside the hotel. We also found a little art gallery/gift shop and bought a few things. We met another older couple - this time from Buffalo, NY.

Eventually we made it to the village of Banff for more site-seeing and shopping. We sat down at a Second Cup for some coffee and a rest. We were having a great time, but our park pass had expired. We needed to leave the National Park or buy another pass or something. We found the visitors center and bought another pass so that we did not have to drive out of the park. We also found a B&B to bed down at for the night. The B&B was a huge old home supposedly built in the 40's by rich folks coming to the area to party and entertain. A young couple had recently bought the home and turned it into the B&B. It was very nice. After settling in at the B&B, we walked back into town across the Bow River Bridge (old and funky) to have dinner. We met some motorcycle riders - two young men. Toby had to talk to them because one of the young men was at least 6'8" if not taller. Toby asked him what kind of motorcycle he rode and could he really "fold himself up to ride it". I enjoyed the young men because they were handsome hunks with sincere smiles. By the time we walked back to the B&B, I was pretty tired, but a little excited by the events of the day. It took me a while to fall asleep, but I did.

After a nice breakfast of bear food - fruits and berries with a little roughage (we did have several cups of coffee), we headed off on our second day of adventure. Toby loves to just be free without any itinerary. I worry that I am going to miss something if I don't read all the brochures. I want to do it all. As we left Banff, we had intentions of going to Lake Louise, but we made a swing up the mountain to Norquay ski area. We drove into a cloud and could not see the ski area, but we did see two elk silhouetted by the morning sun in the midst of the cloud - beautiful.

We went on to Lake Louise. What amazing color! We walked to the end of the lake and on up to a small waterfall. It was probably a couple of miles, but I did not want to try to make the full 5k to the glacier. I was not sure if I could make the return trip. My legs were getting tired although it was a pleasant walk around the lake. The hotel there is also very nice, but we did not try to see the inside this time. On the far side of the lake, we stood below rock faces that went straight up. I noticed the little metal hooks for rock climbers - pretty amazing to think of climbers on such rocks.

From Lake Louise, we drove back down the Trans-Canadian Hwy to Lake Minnewanka. It did not have nearly the crowds that Lake Louise had, but it was just as beautiful. We saw scuba divers along the lake dam. Jesse would have loved it. Later we learned that when the dam was built to enlarge the lake, the lake covered a village. It is a very popular spot for scuba divers. We met a young couple with a large Great Dane and had a nice conversation. I miss my dogs. There is so much to see and do, and as we do things, we think of our family wishing they were here to enjoy this beauty with us. We think of our church family and friends missing them too. I wish we could have everyone here with us.
In this second pic, you can see the dam on the far right passed the boat dock. Cars were parked along the dam with the scuba divers and all their gear.


Jo Castillo said...


Beautiful photos of a beautiful place. Heck, you should have crashed the wedding. :)

We sure had a nice time, there, too.


Catherine said...

Thank you for taking us on this magnificent trip with you! Am enjoying the pics, the stories, and the adventures. Wishing you continued safe travels, good Canadian beer, and easy-on-the-eyes bikers....

You might get a kick out of this:

** From Alberta's Banff/Lake Louise tourist bureau:

"That's such a lovely flag," said a tourist admiring the Canadian flag. 'Does it come in many colors?"
Visitor: How far is it to Lake Louise?
Staff member: 40 miles
Visitor: How long is the trail?
Staff member: Five kilometers.
Visitor: What's that in English?
At which elevation do the elk change to moose?
Can you book us baseball tickets at the SkyDome tonight? We're driving to Toronto this afternoon.

Bag Blog said...

The lady at the gift shop/art gallery said that there is a certain week that is suppose to be good luck in the Oriental culture. She said they had 35 weddings in one day. That would be the day to be wedding crashers.

Having lived in a resort town, I am familiar with silly things tourist say. Now I am one of them.

Buck Pennington said...

I'm running out of ways to say "great pictures!" Same about the narrative, too.

Sean from DocintheBox said...

Looks like you're having a great time! Beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing them with us.

the friendly neighborhood piper said...

I barely remember Lake Louise, and Banff, the pics helped jog the memory. I do remember thinking the same thing...
"if there's a more beautiful place on earth..."
Here's a little side note for ya...
When The Queen and i were first getting to know one another, i asked her what her middle name was...she hesitated and then almost painfully...


interestingly my mind went directly to that lake. I told her about it and even sent her a picture of it. I also told her i'd take her there someday. It fits...that area and The Queen, but know.

Bag Blog said...

Nothing wrong with the name Louise - two of my great-grandmothers were named Louise. Here is something I read about Banff:
The name "Banff" is derived from Banffshire, Scotland, the birthplace of two of the original directors of the Canadian Pacific Railway