Canada/West 2022:
Day 13 - Banff National Park [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

Canada 2022: [Day 1 - Holmen] [Day 2 - Trempealeau] [Day 3 - Coon Valley] [Day 4 - Viroqua] [Day 5 - Cloquet] [Day 6 - International Falls] [Day 7 - Winnipeg] [Day 8 - Winnipeg] [Day 9 - Regina] [Day 10 - Grasslands NP] [Day 11 - Taber] [Day 12 - Waterton Lakes NP] [Day 13 - Banff NP] [Day 14 - Edmonton] [Day 15 - Jasper NP] [Day 16 - Bay View] [Day 17 - Woodinville] [Day 18 - Woodinville] [Day 19 - Mt. Rainier NP] [Day 20 - Macks Creek Park] [Day 21 - Craters of the Moon] [Day 22 - Yellowstone NP] [Day 23 - Lewis and Clark SP] [Day 24 - Fargo] [Day 25 - Heading Home]

Monday, August 22, 2022: We woke early and were heading out of the hotel by 6:15 AM. There were a few people in the lobby, but mostly the hotel was sleepy and quiet.
The sun wasn't quite up yet either, but the day promised to be a good one with clearing skies and few clouds.
We took one last look to the south and bid our farewells to this special area.
There was a spooky haze over the land as we drove north out of the park.
In Pincher Creek, we stopped at Tim Hortons for breakfast. Debbie ordered the Maple Bacon Everything BELT (Bacon Egg Lettuce Tomato) sandwich, and Tom ordered the Steak biscuit breakfast sandwich. Two Diet Cokes and two chocolate croissants completed the order.
We will see you tomorrow, Tim Hortons. We may not stop, but we will definitely see you tomorrow.
Debbie's bagel looked and tasted delicious, ...
... but Tom's steak biscuit was not so good. He definitely won't be ordering that again.
We saw two deer running alongside the road. The mama deer showed her baby how simple it is to jump over fences.
Shortly after 9 AM, we arrived on the outskirts of Calgary.
We love decorated underpasses. This one had a silhouette of mountains.
There was a mall ahead, which happened to be our first stop: the LEGO Store at Chinook Centre.
We'll have to tell Debbie's uncle that there is a chain of stores in Canada named after him.
The only things Debbie likes better than iron sewer covers stamped with decorative scenes, ...
... are time capsules. This one is set into the floor inside the mall near the center hallway. It is set to be opened on New Year's Eve 2999.
We arrived about ten minutes before the store opened, ...
... and there was a line of people waiting to be let in. Since we were in no hurry, we didn't join the line and instead waited a little way off.
The store opened right on time, the waiting people headed immediately to the cashiers to get limited items, and Debbie took advantage of the unoccupied Pick & Build wall.
After filling her cup, she browsed the sets that were for sale, ...
... before deciding that she couldn't leave without the LEGO Brand Store set.
Tom walked around looking at sets that he might eventually want to get, including the lunar-themed LEGO City sets, ...
... the Dark Knight Tumbler, despite the fact that he isn't huge Batman fan, ...
... and the 7,500 piece Millenium Falcon. Someday, this will be ours but today was not that day.
Since Debbie spent more than 50 dollars, and since she is a LEGO VIP member, she received the Pirates and Treasure VIP Add On Pack. Woo hoo!
We admired the Calgary skyline as we made our way north, ...
... and got back on to the Trans-Canada Highway headed west.
Through no planning of our own, we drove right by one of the venues from the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.
We stopped for lunch at a convenient McDonald's, with Debbie getting a Bacon Deluxe McCrispy, ...
... which was a very delicious chicken sandwich. Tom got a ten-piece chicken McNuggets, and of course, we also got poutine.
We continued west ...
... toward the mountains that were getting closer and more majestic.
Look at the antlers on that elk! As always, we enthusiastically looked out for the wildlife that the sign warned us about.
The beautiful Lac des Arcs on the Bow River was like a mirror.
Just after noon, we approached the entry station for Banff National Park. The overhead signs directed park pass holders and through traffic to the right-hand lanes, ...
... and everyone needing to buy park passes to the left. As we drove past the very long line of stopped traffic, we were again pleased that we had purchased an annual parks pass before we arrived.
As we drove up away from the fee station, the road was lined on both sides with eight foot tall fencing. As we approached a break in the fencing to the right, we saw an elk running along the roadway, coming toward us in the grass on the right side of the road. It turned into the gap in the fencing and disappeared before we could get a closer picture than this one.
There had been a lack of rain in the area, so there was fire ban in effect throughout the park.
There were clouds in the distance, but the sky in the immediate vicinity was clear.
The scenery was stunningly beautiful as we drove through the mountain valley on the way to the town of Banff.
There was a waterfall in the mountain range ahead.
Let's take a closer look.
Our first stop in Banff was at Cascade Ponds, which is a beautiful picnic and swimming spot. We were here to see their red chairs, which are on a small island at the center of the ponds.
We walked around the shoreline for a while, ...
... and then headed past this camper with a beautiful silhouette wrap and back to our van.
Banff! We're here!
We headed up Tunnel Mountain Road toward our campground and stopped at the Hoodoos overlook. It's a short walk to the hoodoos with beautiful scenery along the way. Visible way off in the distance, ...
... was the majestic Fairmont Banff Springs.
The walk followed the Bow River, ...
... until we reached the hoodoo overlook.
A pair of red chairs were here. Debbie got more photos of the scenery, ...
... while Tom sat for a spell.
We drove to the campground, checked in, and made our way to our campsite. Tom started setting up the tent, ...
... and fifteen minutes later, we had all of our gear stowed in it and were driving away.
We had seen signs all over town saying that the parking at the Banff Gondola filled up very early, so we went back into town ...
... to park at the train station and take the free shuttle.
We were glad that we had decided to heed the warning, and there was plenty of parking at the train station.
As we stood at the shuttle stop, this scary-looking but completely harmless giant bug tried unsuccessfully to hitch a ride on Debbie's purse. Sorry bug, you must make your own way to your final destination.
Check out the wrap on the Banff public buses.
The shuttle bus arrived right at 2:00 PM as scheduled, and we were delighted to find that the seats had USB outlets. Debbie took advantage of the power to top off her phone as we made our way through the town.
We crossed the narrow bridge over the Bow River, ...
... and approached the Banff National Park Administration Building in the Cascade of Time Garden.
We passed a horse crossing sign on the outskirts of Banff town, ...
... and began to climb up the mountain toward the gondola station.
Parking here was crazy, with cars lining the road before we even reached the parking lot. We were very happy that we had opted for the shuttle.
We had purchased tickets in advance, and we were at the station about 45 minutes before our timed departure. We stopped at a service desk and changed our tickets for the current departure time, ...
... made our way to the queue, ...
... and were delighted to not have to share our car with anyone else. Ten minutes after getting off of the shuttle, we were on our way to the top!
We were so happy to have such a gorgeous day to ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain.
We looked out toward the town with the ribbon of the Bow River gleaming bright blue in the sunlight. Let's zoom in on the lower right corner.
That's the Banff Upper Hot Springs barely visible in the trees just below the middle left of the picture, and the huge hotel building across the street is the Rimrock Resort.
There is a path for people to hike up to the top rather than taking the gondola. The path is 5.5 km and takes between two and three hours to traverse, but if you hike up, you can get a ticket to ride the gondola down for half-price.
We checked a few cars that were descending to see if they were full and were very happy to see that many cars just had two people in them.
As we neared the top, we could see hikers on the trail nearing the top. Good for you!
We arrived at the Upper Terminal eight minutes after we boarded the car.
We walked around the complex for a while, refilled our water bottle, and then headed to some chairs outside to enjoy the afternoon.
There was a walkway to the next peak over, where you could visit the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station National Historic Site, which is what remains from a science station built in 1957 to study cosmic rays and other particles entering Earth's atmosphere. The station operated until 1978.
To the west, Sundance Peak was lost in the haze, but Sundance Canyon was visible.
The viewing area had two more red chairs, ...
... and this shiny bear statue made from mirror segments. The sculpture is known as the Mirror Bear and has been here since at least 2018.
As we made our way back inside, we saw this ring of flowers off to the side. We wondered if it had something to do with the private event that was happening at the summit later in the evening.
The engineering work that is required for a gondola is astounding.
There was an information board with the names and information about each of the various mountain peaks that could be seen from the summit.
The bald mountain to the left of this image is Cascade Mountain, with Mount Aylmer behind it to the right. Tunnel Mountain is the squat rectangular mountain in the center of the image.
We took advantage of the reflective glass on the building to get a selfie.
When we had seen all that we need to see, we got into the queue to get a car back to the lower station.
Even with taking pictures of everyone as they boarded their car, the process was very efficient and 15 minutes later, we were in a car headed down the mountain.
That's the Mount Rundle range directly in front of us, ...
... and the valley between the Sulphur Mountain range and the Mount Rundle range.
Below us, there were people hiking the path down the mountain.
At the lower station, there was a display featuring two bighorn sheep and a second-generation gondola car that was in use from 1982 to 1998.
We made our way back to the shuttle stop, arriving just too late to get a seat on the completely full bus headed back to town. We waited thirty minutes for the next one, ...
... which arrived right on time. We got seat in the very front and enjoyed the drive through the town back toward the train station.
There were lots of people out and about in town and we again congratulated ourselves on taking the shuttle.
There were beautiful apartment buildings in town. They looked like they had just been built.
We were back at the campground by 5:00 PM, enjoying our personal fans and cocktails in our tent.
Tom used our butane camping stove to boil water, ...
... and we enjoyed Fettucini Alfredo with Chicken for dinner.
The weather was finally closing in, ...
... with thunder rumbling all around us. By 7:00 PM, it had started to rain heavily and our beloved tent started to leak. It was just a small leak, but it was right over Tom's bed. With a forecast of thunderstorms and rain throughout the night and into the next day, ...
... we decided to break camp and get a hotel room in Calgary rather try to make it through the rainy night. As the downpour continued, we rapidly loaded the van, packed the tent, and abandoned our campsite. 
We stopped at a Dairy Queen on the way out of Banff, eating our sad feelings and toasting our quick decision making.
We watched the sunset through the heavy rain clouds as we made our way out of the Banff mountain valleys.
By 9:15 PM, we were in our hotel room in Calgary and were very happy with our decision to leave. We enjoyed showers and did some replanning of the next day to avoid the heavy rain in the Banff area.

Day 14 >

Canada 2022: [Day 1 - Holmen] [Day 2 - Trempealeau] [Day 3 - Coon Valley] [Day 4 - Viroqua] [Day 5 - Cloquet] [Day 6 - International Falls] [Day 7 - Winnipeg] [Day 8 - Winnipeg] [Day 9 - Regina] [Day 10 - Grasslands NP] [Day 11 - Taber] [Day 12 - Waterton Lakes NP] [Day 13 - Banff NP] [Day 14 - Edmonton] [Day 15 - Jasper NP] [Day 16 - Bay View] [Day 17 - Woodinville] [Day 18 - Woodinville] [Day 19 - Mt. Rainier NP] [Day 20 - Macks Creek Park] [Day 21 - Craters of the Moon] [Day 22 - Yellowstone NP] [Day 23 - Lewis and Clark SP] [Day 24 - Fargo] [Day 25 - Heading Home] [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

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