We finally made it to Banff National Park and it was certainly worth the wait. It is a five hour drive north of Waterton Lakes National Park, deep in the Canadian Rockies, with amazing sites. We started our first afternoon in town by riding the gondola to the top of Sulpher Mountain.
They have a sunset festival every night during the summer and it was a fun evening. They have an observation deck on the top floor with a bar and live music. Everything you need to stay awhile and watch the sun go down.
Oh yea they also had fire pits and deck chairs–perfect. The red chairs are part of a marketing campaign the Canadian government is promoting. They have placed the chairs all over Canada and are asking people to take a picture and send it out over social media.
We saw them in many places but didn’t realize we should have been taking pictures until it was too late. Oh well maybe next time.
The next day we got up at 4:30 AM to drive over an hour and make it to Moraine Lake for a sunrise picture. AND we were late! We almost didn’t get a parking place and Mike had to jostle his way in to get a good shot. But the picture is worth it-it is our title shot. The views everywhere you look are simply spectacular. We spent the rest of the afternoon driving home on the scenic highway stopping at every turnout because the mountains and lakes demand your attention. The lakes are all fed from glaciers so the color is an amazing turquoise. When you couple this with the massive mountains, my words just cannot due them justice. Also on this drive we stopped for a grizzly bear as he ran across the road.
The wildlife is everywhere. We began to joke about the big horn sheep calling them the buffalo of Banff.
In Yellowstone last year the buffalo where constantly stopping traffic and causing a jam by walking on the road. In Banff it has been the big horn sheep that like to travel the roads, stop traffic, and look at you as if to say, “What are you going to do about it?!”
So far so good–and day three got even cooler (pardon the pun) as we got to walk on a glacier! It was over a 2 1/2 hour drive north of Banff but the drive alone is worth the trip. Reread paragraph two because it is more of the same beauty and this time we saw bears cross the road at three different places. When you arrive at the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre, they put you on a bus for a quick trip partially up the mountain. Next you pile into an Ice Explorer–basically a bus with six huge tires designed to take us out on to the glacier.
The Athabasca Glacier is 600-800 feet thick at the location we were at and we were speechless.
What a sight!
Next we spent a day tooling around Banff which is a beautiful resort town and we drove around the area a bit more sightseeing. So many opportunities for swimming in hot springs or lakes, hiking, paddle-boarding, kayaking, you name it-the list goes on and on. It is huge-there were over 1000 rv spots just on Tunnel Mountain which was the area we were staying. The key for a Banff trip is to get up early, many parking lots are full by 7:00 AM. But you can always take a nap in the afternoon!
Last stop–Vancouver. We only got to spend a day here, but what a city. We spent most of the day on Granville Island. They have an amazing public market with vendors overflowing with fresh produce, meat, flowers, bakery items, and more.
A feast for the eyes. We also walked around and into the shops of local artisans and craftsmen. I bought a hand painted silk scarf but passed on the many other items I could have bought!! There was pottery, photography, paintings, and even an artist that worked with iron.
So much to see. We also spent a lot of time sitting on benches facing the water of False Creek. Lots of action with all the water taxis, ferries, and boats traveling around.
Just a short stop in Vancouver, but probably on our list to visit again. Much more to see. But for now we are headed to Washington for a week with family and friends: can’t wait.