Friday, July 26, 2013

Oh Canada! Beautiful Banff

When you share with people that you are planning a trip to Alberta Canada, one of the first things they say is "you must go to Banff and Lake Louise!"  So, as with our habit, we happily added them to our "list" of places to see.  Once the Stampede was over and we spent some time with our friends, we learned that Banff wasn't all that far from Calgary and that it was actually more practical for us to leave our rig at their place and just take our small truck and do a two-day/over-night trip there and back. So that's what we did.

We decided to drive straight to Lake Louise first.  The drive itself goes through Banff National Park with the Canadian Rockies all around you.  They are breathtakingly beautiful.  Not as much snow on them though as I would have thought, so that was a bit of a surprise.  It was also interesting, I thought, how different their shapes were from each other and as you traveled through the Park and saw them from different angles.  I never tired of looking at them.  Another sight that I have enjoyed my whole time in Canada is all the Canola fields.  Acres and acres of sunshine yellow flowers!  They are so very pretty to look at.  It seems that the farmers are not particularly keen on growing them, but that they are a higher cash crop than the grain crops are, so that's what they have to grow, and boy do they!  Miles and miles all across the country.  Besides seeing the cultivated lands, all the wildflowers are in full bloom too.  So as we drove to our destination green and yellow fields, dotted with open grazing land full of wildflowers, interspersed with creeks trimmed with trees and all of this edged with those beautiful mountains, filled our scenery.  Jealous yet?  (had to tease!)

You would think all that would have prepared us for the lake we were about to see (that and every one's insistence on us going there), but I don't think anything's that spectacular.  I don't think I have ever seen a turquoise colored lake before.  Deep blue perhaps, even emerald green, but the shade of that lake is almost surreal, so when you see my pictures, don't think they were doctored up, it really is that color!  Put that in front of those Rocky Mountains with the Victoria Glacier and you have a perfect picture postcard!  It was mesmerizing, you just wanted to sit there and stare at it for a long long time.  We lucked out and the day was perfect as well, sun shining and just warm enough.  Only down side were the crowds, hunting for parking took almost as long as you stayed looking at the lake!  Oh well, guess one can't always have everything (not sure why not, but that's what they keep telling me anyway!).

After a bit of lunch, we headed to another sweet lake that our friends recommended that they said wasn't as "popular" as Louise, but that they really liked as well, Moraine Lake.  A little smaller, a little bluer, a little less crowded but very nice.  It had a large "rock pile" next to it that people were climbing to a high plateau to see further.  I walked around it and found some stairs to it and climbed them (150!) and the view was worth the effort, besides I figured it worked off my lunch!  A nice gentleman took my picture up there to prove I actually made it that high (Jack declined the climb).

After the two lakes, we traveled into the town of Banff and to the Banff Ave Bed & Breakfast spot we had made reservations at.  Connie was a wonderful hostess as well as the B&B was the perfect place to stay.

The next day we took the time to walk around Banff then headed out to see a couple of lakes & waterfalls nearby and to take a look at "the castle" as the The Fairmont Banff Springs National Historic Hotel is called locally, and we could see why.  Phew, what a place!   We even ran into some friendly wildlife...a small heard of Big Horn Sheep (Ewes), that wandered over to see who we were.

Time to head back to Calgary and start to get ourselves ready to head back to the US and our next adventure, Glacier National Park.

Canada, you've treated us well, and it's been a beautiful trip that we will long remember.

 Canadian Rocky Mountains
 Canola Fields
Lake Louise & Victoria Glacier
 Moraine Lake
City of Banff
Johnson Lake
The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Ewes saying Goodbye as we left Banff

...kicking back in Alberta Canada,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:   

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