Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Waterton National Park

From our delightful stay at Beaver Mines we backtracked to Crowsnest Pass to the " Frank Slide". This is the site of Canada's worst ever landslide that destroyed much of this small mining settlement.

This is near the site called "Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump" and the plains once were covered in Bison and Buffalo
We drove on and saw the Waterton Ranges raising above the plains. They are not surrounded with foothills!
                                                        Our first sight of Waterton
We had our first stop just inside the Park boundaries at Lower Waterton Lake where we had a picnic lunch.We then drove to the Cameron Lake for a long walk around the foreshores.
I did think of that rock slide while Gail was taking the photo! This was a magnificent view on the way to the lake.
Gail was still looking for bears! There were no signs in "Bear Grunt" language warning them of the dangerous and unpredictable behaviour of tourists!

Our accommodation at Waterton overlooks the main lake. Very comfortable.
                                                          A Selfie from our verandah

Later in the afternoon we went for a drive to see more wildlife.We saw Mule Deer and Elk
We think this is a Mule Deer but it could be a White Tailed Deer
We saw part of a herd of 900 Elk. They come out of the forest in the late afternoon. They were a fair distance from us but it was interesting to watch their behaviour at Rutting Season. We were" Deer voyeurs"
 We actually heard them long could see them!

From the Rockies to the Prairies

We left Banff and headed down towards Calgary on the scenic 1A rather than the main highway. We were soon rewarded with a sighting of Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep above us on a ridge.
We drove on and through Calgary admiring the modern city and its architecture and stopped at the small town of Nanton for lunch and a visit to the Nanton Air Museum.
                                                                    Robert in a Snowbird.
The Museum is near where the Canadian Bomber Command was stationed at High River during WWII
We drove on to our destination of Beaver Mines. So far we had not found anyone in Canada who had heard of the place.
The B&B was great,we relaxed with no wifi and we didn't turn on the old TV.
We did have a great meal that we prepared ourselves and a nice bottle of wine and some Calgary beer. We also relaxed in the hot tub. We were the only guests! The next morning the hosts prepared a gourmet breakfast for us.
We also went on a bear hunt! The owner had seen a bear along this path yesterday. Today, lucky for the bear...or us, there were no bears to be seen. We did see deer darting off into the bush.
We can highly recommend the Metropolis of Beaver Mines to International travellers.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Driving the Rockies 4 Banff

We are settled in a quaint little B&B in Banff called Heidi's. It is not the Fairmont but we are relaxed and well cared for.
Today we headed out early to drive to Lake Minnewanka. The lake is formed by a dam! All the others have been natural created by the glaciation process. Under the lake is an old town and we saw divers preparing to dive and investigate. They also do it in mid winter but first they get a chain saw to cut through the metre or so of ice. Today it was hovering above freezing when we were there....but the sun was out and stayed out all day.
We explored the pretty lakes of Minnewanka and Two Jack and walked around the latter.

                                                        The shores of Lake Minnewanka
                                                                   Two Jack Lake
We drove back to the Parkway leading up to Lake Louise but were only rewarded with one sighting of deer that quickly darted away. We were told it was too cold for wildlife!
                                         Relaxing in Adirondack chairs at Mule Shoe Lake.
After a picnic lunch at one of our many stops we returned to Banff and drove up to the Banff Gondola. The view from the top was wonderful and the sky was clear.
This is at the very top! After the gondola we walked up lots of steps to the old weather station that was converted to  a Cosmic Rays research centre.We were glad for the gondola trip back

                     Looking down on The Banff Fairmont.We couldn't make out our B&B

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Driving the Rockies 3 Lake Louise to Banff

We had a relaxed start to the day as the sun was out. After breakfast we went for a walk around sections of the lake. Even more stunning this morning.
The view when we got up this morning. The light cloud was reflected in the glacier blue of the lake. We soon joined the walkers.
                                              The Fairmont as we walked around the lake.

                                                 The lake was at its best this morning

We left it to midday to check out then drove over to Yoho National Park to visit the Takakkaw Falls.
The drive was breathtaking and we had lots of stops along the way.
The meeting of the waters. The Yoho and Kicking Horse Rivers converge and the two coloured waters flow next to each other.
                                Keep back from the edge Rob! It was a spectacular view down.
The roads had no safety rails for most of the trip except at the three way switchback.
Eventually we reached the Takakkaw Falls. This means It is magnificent in Cree language. The falls are the third highest in Canada and come from the Daly Glacier just 350 metres back from the falls. This is part of the Waputuk Icefield. It will not be long before they freeze for the winter.
Gail at the falls.We had wonderful views on every side and we could include lots of photos ! We returned back the way we had come and then started the drive down the Bow Valley Parkway
This is regarded as one of the best drives in The Rockies. We had lots of stops as it is only about 77 Km.
                                             This is one of our stops at Castle Cliffs
The view of Storm Mountain. We also had a few short walks at a few of the other stops but eventually reached Banff. We are looking forward to spending two nights in the same bed as the last eight nights have been just for one night!

Driving the Rockies 2 Icefields to Lake Louise

We only had a short drive of about 80 km today but had a lot to see along the way. We had more postcard scenery and some fabulous stops.
Our first walk was to Mistaya Canyon. It Was light rain but still wonderful scenery as the water had carved a narrow path deep into the bedrock.
We also walked up to Peyto Lake up a steep path. There was snow on each side of the track and still drizzling rain.This is one of the most scenic views we have ever had.We are short of superlatives to do it justice! We can only imagine what it would be like in bright sunshine.

                                                   Looking down towards the canyon
On the way up the hill from the canyon we came across this little squirrel having a feed before winter

                                               Peyto Lake looked a lot better than this photo!
We visited glaciers, waterfalls lakes and creeks but finally arrived at Lake Louise. It lived up to its reputation but it was still raining.

                                           Braving the rain in front of The Fairmont Chateau
                            Covered in mist is a wonderful area of snow and mountain ridges
                                   A selfie from our room. We had the view without the rain
                                                      Yes we are having a good time

Friday, September 25, 2015

Driving the Rockies : Jasper to Icefields

We had a pleasant stay in Jasper and after picking up our car headed off in the opposite direction to our next overnight to visit some lakes.
In no time we were at Annette Lake and had our best wildlife encounter. We came across a Wapiti or Canadian Elk. It was as large as a moose and the bull was very interested in the sis or seven females. The R rated movie is available on request..well it is PG
                                                              A very large bull elk

                                                                  Gail and the Bull Elk
We drove on and had interesting walks in the Maligne Canyon and also sighted some White tailed deer
At Maligne Lake we went on a boat trip to Spirit Island. This section can only be accessed by water and provided great scenery.
                                    The view of Spirit Island in Maligne Lake was stunning
We had a brief stop at Medicine Lake on our return. This is very interesting as every August it disappears so we only saw the river that flows into the lake.
We were able to bypass Jasper and start down Highway 93. We stopped at every lookout, every waterfall and passed high mountains on every side. We had several interesting walks to view falls and canyons.
                                                            Gail at the Athabasca falls
The Athabasca, Sunwapta and Tangle Falls we excellent. We reached the Icefields at The Columbia Icefield . This is huge and actually drains into the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Impressive!
Overhead were huge mountains and glaciers
After a few more stops we reached our accommodation at about 6.30 and from there we could see the ranges surrounding us. This had been a spectacular day of mountain scenery

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Climbing into The Rockies

Back on board the Rocky Mountaineer we continued our trip towards Jasper and the Canadian Rockies. At first we saw more scenery like yesterday with frequent sightings of Bald Eagles by the rivers feeding on the spawning salmon. The arid area around Kamloops gave way to beautiful treed slopes and then more and more mountains
                   There were high waterfalls and the Pyramid Fall next to the tracks were the best

                                                The mountain scenery was spectacular

The rapids were spectacular as we followed the Upper Thompson and Fraser Rivers

The star event was the long run along the tracks near Mount Robson. This is the highest mountain in Canada.
There was only one sighting of a bear today and it was as we were walking up the stairs from our lunch in the dining area on the lower level. Missed it by 10 seconds!
                                                   We agreed to follow this Jasper edict!

                 Just for balance we support the Canadian beer industry along with the wineries

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Rocky Mountaineer Journey to the clouds

We are half way to the clouds. We set off this morning with great weather for the trip to Jasper and are overnighting at Kamloops at the half way point.

The views were great after we had travelled out of the Vancouver area and the train went along the Fraser River.We saw high mountains, falls and canyons but the scenery will be even more dramatic tomorrow

                                                        Fishermen along the river

We did see lots of Bald Eagles and Osprey and also Long Horn Sheep but failed to get any good photos
In Kamloops we have one of our best hotels to date and looking forward to continuing the trip tomorrow.

The locals start "Fall" tomorrow with the Equinox and now start preparations for Halloween