We stopped at the Takakkaw Falls on our way east. One gets to the falls via a narrow, switchback-filled road, and then a short walk through the woods.
It is really high!
The river rushing by me and Elaine:
Finally, we got to the big city of Banff. Thing number one: go up the gondola on Sulphur Mountain. You get a fun ride in an enclosed pod that whooshes up the mountainside, and a great view of the town and river valley. That little lump in the middle is called Tunnel Mountain (although it is more of a hill and there is no tunnel) and we hiked up it another day.
Millions of tourists, on the boardwalk. Major sites had these walkways all over, which protect the environment from being trampled, but sometimes they also made us feel like we were not entirely in control of things, but were being herded about. Ah well, we were being herded about, and if we want to see the same views as everyone else, at least something was being done about the impact of all of us in the same place!
The beautiful Mount Rundle, seen from the town.
Mount Rundle has to be one of the most photographed things in the universe. It is oriented almost north/south, so the light on it changes a lot during the day, and every moment the shadows are different. (I must note here that whoever is writing the Wikipedia pages about these mountains is mostly interested in scrambling up them, something which only vaguely occurs to me!)
A long view of the mountains to the west:
Do not feed the goats!
We didn't see any goats, nor bears, and the only elk we saw the whole darn time was nibbling flowers in a parking lot in town.
We thought we would just stroll up Tunnel Mountain one morning.
It had been cold in the night and some of the high mountains around had a dusting of snow!
We managed to get up to the top without weather doing much to stop us, though we learned that what climbers call "easy" and what we think of as easy are two quite different things!
We were, of course, rewarded with more spectacular views, and only got a tiny sprinkle of rain as the cloud cover passed over us. It was the only less-than-perfect weather we had the whole time!
Mount Rundle from Tunnel Mountain:
Another expedition (I'm all out of chronological order, I think, but that's not too important, since we're just talking about a few days) was to Moraine Lake and Lake Louise.
From the Rockpile at the end of the lake. The water really is the most amazing colour, and the whole site was pretty un-crowded, as these things go.
We rented a canoe! Elaine had had a week of boating camp and so paddled with gusto!
The glacier peeking around the, um, peaks!
And here I will throw in some pictures of lichen. I think that the top one is by Stephen, and taken at Two Jack Lake (which we'll get to shortly) and the second one is one I took at Moraine Lake while waiting for the kids to get back from the top of the Rockpile. They had gone up the side of it, instead of by the path, and, sorry, but Mommy was just not going to do that!
This required a bit of fiddling to make it presentable, and I think it's best appreciated as a colour study, rather than as a photo of anything!
We left Moraine Lake and went down the road to Lake Louise.
Certainly beautiful, and because it's been a tourist attraction for a hundred years, it's pretty darn accessible. As you can see here, the weather was turning a bit grey. I'm glad we had seen Moraine Lake in the sunshine!
On our last morning, we passed by Two Jack Lake for a little picnic and last photo-op before driving to Calgary to fly home. I think I camped here with my family in 1967. More digging in family archives might produce similar pictures! But not right now....