Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 9 to June 13 - Banff National Park (Canada)

We are currently in Jasper National Park in the Whistlers campground in the town of Jasper and still without much internet access.  We have turned our phones on for Canada so we are now reachable by phone, yeah!!  We will be in Jasper until Sunday and then we will head north again.

I thought I would update you on the past week and our adventures in Banff National Park.

June 9, 2010 – Banff, Alberta & Lake Louise, Alberta (Canada)

We woke to weather that matched the forecast for 70% chance of rain and chilly.  The temperatures hovered in the low 40’s to high 30’s depending on our elevation all day and it did rain all day long, good thing we brought our rain gear.  We decided to drive over to Lake Louise for the day.  We had both been there before but there were a couple of new things we wanted to see.  All along the highway, TransCanada 1, there are large fences and periodic overpasses for the animals to migrate across the large highway.  On our way to Lake Louise, we spotted a very large bear sitting patiently at one of the fences and just watching traffic go by.  He was quite cute from the distance sitting on his read end and just watching from behind the fence.  We arrived at Lake Louise and made the drive out to Morraine Lake.  The cloud ceiling was very low so we didn’t have too much of a view of the beautiful half frozen lake.  We then made the drive over to the Chateau Lake Louise.  We’ve been here several times before, but it is still a beautiful hotel complex in a very beautiful spot.  We decided to have lunch in the hotel lounge and enjoyed a great Canadian cheese platter.  A short walk around Lake Louise and then we were headed back to Banff via the Bow Valley Parkway.  We were hoping to spots lots of wildlife along the way home and did manage to spot some deer, elk and a really fast little black bear as he ran out in front of us across the highway.  We explored the town of Banff when we returned.  We always think that it reminds us of a cross between Breckinridge and Vail with its shopping and restaurants.  Since it was still very chilly and rainy, we decided that a soak in the Banff Hot Springs was in order.  What a great place on a chilly night to relax and unwind.

June 10, 2010 – Banff, Alberta (Canada)

We awoke to 45 degrees and NO visibility whatsoever.  We decided that today will be a down day and some catch up on laundry and grocery store runs.  The weather forecast is showing some improvement and sunny skies for Friday through Sunday so we will continue exploring then.  Our friends from Calgary will join us here at the campground on Friday night so we can explore with the “locals”.

June 11, 2010 – Banff, Alberta (Canada)

The weather was a bit better today so we ventured out to explore the Banff Springs Hotel first.  It felt like you stepped back into the 16th Century with its low ceilings, large beams, and open hall décor.  Overall, a very beautiful place.  We next drove over to view the Bow Falls on the river.  We also drove across the river to hike down to the falls and to take a few photos of the hotel from that vantage point.  After exploring town a bit more, we went back to the campground to wait for our friends, Kevin & Amanda.  After they arrived, we toured their airstream and they toured our home as well.  We both joked that it’s the first time we have “RV’d” with anyone else.  We had dinner and enjoyed visiting well into the night.

June 12, 2010 – Banff, Alberta (Canada)

We woke to brilliant blue skies and sunny weather!!!  We headed back over to Lake Louise for today’s adventures.  Kevin & Amanda recommended the Plains of Six hike that began at the Chateau and continued up to wonderful views of Victoria Glacier.  It is one of their favorite hikes and we are really glad they shared it with us.  Once we finished the hike, we drove back over to Morraine Lake.  We were so amazed at the view as when we were there a couple days ago, we could not see anything but the lake.  On the drive home, we saw a Grizzly bear walking through some construction on the main highway.  Kevin & Amanda planned and cooked a fantastic Greek dinner and we ate in the typical Greek fashion (a little on the later side) so it added to the authenticity.  Also, Pinkie was able to meet her cousins, Winky & Blinky (that is once the legal name change goes through – Again, Sorry!! Amanda).

June 13, 2010 – Banff, Alberta to Columbia Icefields in Jasper National Park(Canada)

Our last day in Banff and our last day to visit with Kevin & Amanda.  We walked into town from the campground and started off with a visit to the Whyte Museum.  We had a great lunch at the Coyote Grill and then I had to do some hiking boot shopping.  I finally found “the” pair and everyone was so patient to wait for me.  We said our goodbyes at the campground and then Kevin and Amanda headed back to Calgary and we headed up to the Icefields Parkway to our next campsite near the Columbia Icefield.  On our way to Wilcox Creek Campground, we stopped at the Crowfoot Glacier, Bow Lake, Peyto Lake and Mistaya Canyon.  As we arrived at the campsite about 10pm, we were met by a couple of fellow campers that said we would not fit into the campground.  Now if there was ever a challenge that Matt took, it was this one.  He proceeded to back us into a spot that literally left us with a foot to spare behind the trailer to the nearest tree and the back of the RV hanging over the back of the space (we could not use the back jacks as they would not reach).  But we fit and were able to get a very quiet night’s sleep.  Today was a great day for viewing bear as we saw 4 in total (2 black bears and 2 grizzly bears).

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