Monday, August 20, 2012

Friday thru Sunday in Banff Area

On Friday, we got up early for a change, had breakfast at our hotel and headed towards Lake Louise.  We decided to go to Lake Moraine to get some more pictures beating the crowds to the limited parking.  It is neat that we have not had to pay for parking anywhere on our trip, including in the cities and the parks.  We found the path to climb the hill overlooking Lake Moraine and took loads of pictures.  It is hard to stop taking pictures since this place is so beautiful!  We took a hike on the path along the lake and took some more pictures along the way.  

We then headed to Lake Louise.  We were lucky to find someone leaving a parking space.  We took a couple of pictures and had someone take a picture of us.  We did not stay long before heading towards Yoho National Park.  We stopped at the Spiral Tunnels that are visible from Highway 1, the Trans-Canada Highway.  We were lucky to arrive just as a train arrived.  I (Beth went to use the restroom - what timing) was able to watch the train enter a tunnel and a few minutes later see the front of the train come out the tunnel just above it.  The tunnel is like a circle all inside the mountain.  There are two of these spiral tunnels that every train goes thru to lengthen the tracks to maintain a 2% grade thru the Kicking Horse Pass.  They were built by hand over 100 years ago.  They used an idea from Switzerland.  Prior to these tunnels, many train wrecks and runaways occurred in this pass because of the 4% grade.

 We then went to see the Takakkaw Falls, one of the highest in Canada.  Takakkaw means magnificent in Cree.  They were right, and the path leads right to the base of the falls.  The mist felt good on another warm sunny day.  We then visited Emerald Lake, very pretty, but not as spectacular as Lake Moraine.  On the way home, we stopped to see the natural bridge that had been carved by the fast flowing stream.   We decided to follow the Bow Valley Parkway home for maybe a chance to see some wildlife.  This road is the original road between Banff and Lake Louise, only two lanes and a 50 KM limit.  We saw two black bears on this drive!  The first was right by the road but five or six other cars had already stopped so it was hard to get good pictures.  But then a few miles down the road I spotted a black bear walking in the woods near the road.  This time, we were the only car around.  We spent five to ten minutes watching and filming this bear as it loaded up on berries from the bushes not more than 10 feet from the road. 

 We went home satisfied that this had been a great day.

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