Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Awe and Wonder

This whole area is just drop dead Gorgeous. We packed up the jeep with water and snacks and camera and started our drive through Yoho National Park. Yoho in Cree means awe and the views are definitely awesome. It is hard to describe how majestic the mountains are along with the forest area which never seems to end. We love the aqua color of some of the rivers and the emerald colors of others.

Big Horn Sheep checking out the view

Taken near Yoho Visitor Center

We continued on to Banff National Park, ooing and awing along the way.
We have been to Banff several times but only in winter. Inspite of it being a big ski area, their summer is really there biggest tourist season. We ran into the first traffic we have seen since entering Canada. We drove to Lake Moraine, which is 14km from Lake Louise. Lake Louise is a pretty town itself and has great skiing. We did most of our skiing there when we stayed in Banff. Lake Moraine is a blue green clear lake in what is called the Valley of Ten Peaks, which are the third highest peaks in the Rockies. The road was crowded with cars coming and going but was certainly worth it. The grandeur of the area is breath taking.

         We went on to check out Banff. Wow, the town itself  has really grown up. Of course, we haven't been there for 25 years when they are just one or two downtown streets.    It is still charming though and we look forward to spending some time here. There are a few restaurants that we went to in the past and that are still here. The campground which is very close to town is huge and has first come first serve sites and so we don't think we will have any problem getting a site. We are planning on staying where we are until Sunday, then head to Jasper and come back through Banff before making our way to Montana in a few
weeks. Another thing different is the amount of wildlife you see. When we were here before, we had to stop on the highway while a group of caribou crossed the road. We saw many deer, elk and moose as well, including some in the town of Banff itself. A number of years ago, they built fences all along the area into Banff. They also built bridges across the road, fenced in with trees and greenery on the bridge for the animals to cross over. Granted we were there in the afternoon and maybe we would have seen some wildlife earlier in the day, but we didn't see any wildlife other than that one Big Horn Sheep.




On our way back we stopped at the Spiral Tunnels in Yoho National Park.       The grade from Field, British Columbia  to Kicking Horse Pass on the Canadian Pacific Railway mainline was once the steepest and most hazardous in North America. It was called the "Big Hill". The CPR used it from 1885 until 1909 when the famous Spiral Tunnels were completed. An engineering wonder, there are so many switches that a train can end up crossing itself as it travels through the area.

I didn't get a picture but there was one point where you could see the train at three levels. Another interesting day in Canada.

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