Category - Banff

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Day 7:Banff Area
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Day 6 in Canada

Day 7:Banff Area

We were not able to hike Johnston Canyon yesterday, so that was our first stop of the day. To get there we took the scenic Bow Valley Parkway.  I am really enjoying all the signs that are in English and French, and Makayla is having fun practicing her French as she took it as an elective last year.  I love this road, as it meanders back and forth it occasionally splits in two, so your side of traffic is all alone.  It is like having your own one lane normal speed raceway through a gorgeous forest.  We get to the canyon, park and proceed to hike up. All I have to say is thank God my fear of heights and unstable things like gondolas and elevators is getting better as I age and not worse.  This trail might even be hard for some people with vertigo issues. No matter what if you are in the area you definitely need to do this hike.  Parts of the trail are attached to the side of the mountain and you are basically hanging over the water.  I kept praying that whoever designed the walkways had a good grasp of physics and planned for 2 tour buses to arrive at the same time, because there was a lot of weight on those things.  The first one had a few loose boards, so it was not confidence inspiring, but I managed.  At the end there is a cave you walk through to get blasted by the mist of the waterfall. Our next stop took us over Yoho Valley Road, which is listed as one of the most dangerous roads in the world.  I chuckled about this after we passed by the one set of hard switchbacks.  I guess some people get really freaked out by steep curvy roads, but it is by no means dangerous.  We eventually get to Takakkaw Falls, which is the second highest waterfall in Canada. The other fun thing was we found another set of those big red chairs!  We are getting good at this game! We  then needed to back track and start heading back south again to try to fit in things we had passed.  We stopped by the sprial train tunnels, hoping that a train would go by, but we were not that lucky. I also forgot to take a photo of the area, but basically it is a set of spirals of train track that go in and out of tunnels to help trains get over the steep Kicking Horse Pass (another great name). Check out the link for some cool history about the project. Our final destination of the day would be Lake Louise.  My pictures don’t do it justice, especially because of the time of day and it was a little grey.  But looking at the lake you get a sense of magic about the place I think because the color of the water is so different, I believe Willy Wonka would approve. There is[…]

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Day 6 in Canada

It was time to leave Radium Hot Springs, but I must admit I kept calling it Radiator Springs.  This little town is known for its naturally-heated, mineral-rich hot pool between the walls of Sinclair Canyon. It is this canyon that reminds me of the Disney movie Cars and Radiator Springs.  We hit the visitor center before we left town, where they had some great displays and a kids area with interactive animal sounds and info.  We were even greeted by some Big Horn sheep right outside.  Thanks to the girl working the desk, we headed to a most unexpected place. The Radium Woodcarver and his strange and whimsical tree house. He does his carvings with a chain saw, feeds goats, squirrels and skunks, and has trick water features that get you wet if you try to open certain doors. Next up was the Paint Pots Hike in Kootenay National Park.  This hike takes you to an unusual orange ochre bed which was important to many Aboriginal peoples who gathered the ochre for centuries for use in ceremony and trade. In the early 1900’s ochre was mined and shipped to Calgary, where it was used as a pigment in paint. Remnants of twentieth century mining are still visible along the trail. Our final hike was up Marble Canyon to a series of bridges across a deep gorge with rushing waters.  I am noticing a trend in this area of the world.  Lots of amazing canyons that have been carved out by rushing glacial waters, each one more stunning then the last. We also found another set of the big red chairs! We stopped for a very late lunch in Johnston Canyon, and planned to hike there as well, but the weather quickly took a turn for the worse. We aborted the hike and jumped on the bikes as the wind picked up and it started to rain.  We headed south as fast as we could and made it to Banff before any heavy rain could get us.  Another great day of exploring in the books.

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