Sunday, August 17, 2008

Canadian Rockies – Banff, AB

As we traveled south from Lake Louise on Friday, the heat began to rise. By the time we reached Banff it was 90 degrees and for the 3rd time this summer we turned n the air conditioning. We were grateful to have an electric site.

We are camped at Tunnel Mountain Campground. The campsites are spacious but there is very little shade. The flipside is excellent views of the surrounding mountains, and limited satellite TV reception, for the first time in two months. Kathy is in sports heaven, watching the Olympics every day on a (relatively) big screen TV.

Our Campsite in Banff Trailer Village

Banff is a compact village, where everything is just 10 minutes away. The glacial-green Bow River flows through the mountain-ringed valley that is the setting for Banff. The alpine grandeur and mineral hot springs pools enhance Banff’s attractiveness.

Bow River Valley

The town of Banff, granted autonomy from federal jurisdiction in 1990, is wholly within the boundaries of Banff National Park. Development within the town is strictly controlled; residents do not own their land but lease it from the park.

Downtown Banff

After lunch on Friday we took a ride around the town. It was too hot to do much walking but we did make a couple of stops.

Our first stop was the Banff Information Center. It was much smaller than the center in Lake Louise, with no interpretive displays. They do show a video, the same as we saw in Lake Louise.

Our second stop of the afternoon was Bow Falls. Bow Falls are located on the Bow River near the front of the Banff Springs Hotel. While not as impressive as Niagara, the falls are quite pretty and the area surrounding them was cooler. Unlike Niagara, people can wade and swim in the river below Bow Falls.

Bow Falls

On Saturday we got an early start and headed for Banff Avenue, where all the retail stores are located. Our first stop was the Rexall Drug Store located in the Cascade Mall where Keith purchased a cane. His back has been acting up and at times it is quite painful for him to walk. The cane has helped and is giving him some additional support.

Keith then ensconced himself on a bench on Banff Avenue and proceeded to people watch while Kathy explored the shops.

A Banner On Banff Avenue

Banff Avenue Traffic Light
Note Camera Above Light

We had a very pleasant lunch at the food court in the Cascade Mall. Kathy purchased two slices of pizza from Mrs. Valeri’s (2 COWS) while Keith had Sri Lankan chicken and rice noodles (2-3/4 COWS).

On Sunday morning we went on a photo safari and took pictures of Canada Place and the Banff Springs Hotel. On our way into town, we spotted a helicopter carrying something over the town; we don’t know what it was. We also spotted an unusual license plate, from the Northwest Territories. We think it’s kinda cute.

Could This be Some Sort of New Thrill Ride?

Polar Bear License Plate from the Northwest Territories

Flower Gardens at the Canada Center

Post Card View of the Banff Springs Hotel

Tomorrow, Monday, 8/18 we leave the Canadian Rockies and start the long drive east, through Calgary and across the great Canadian Prairie toward North Dakota. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.

No comments: