Days 9 & 10 - Towns, Canyons, Waterfalls & Lakes : the Whole Tourist Enchilada
Cramming it in for the last few days. Started on Saturday with another trip to Banff. Lovely place - very pretty, very touristy and not a little infuriating. Our itinerary for Banff was the Cave and Basin (original hot spring), souvenir shopping in town and possibly another attempt at Sulphur Mountain. Well the last of these was, of course, a non starter and the nearest we got to Sulphur Mountain was the sulphury reek at the Cave and Basin.
Parking it seems is not our forte. That said, the great wheel of driving karma did turn in our direction later in the day.
So, back to Banff, via quick views of the Banff Springs Hotel and Bow Falls. Time for souvenir shopping. I find it difficult to distinguish one shop selling tat from another selling the same, but Ethan needs to visit them all. I take to standing outside trying to get some photos. Pretty sure every shot anyone takes contains an image of some taking a shot of something else. Would make an interest network diagram thinks I. Such a geek.
Moving on from Banff, the plan had been to head back towards Kicking Horse and do a few walks there, but we are diverted by Johnstone Canyon. On a previous visit, this had been flagged as closed until the 15th June, but is now miraculously accessible - how can we resist? It is becoming apparent that the random closure of sites is common in Canada - whether due to conservation, avalanche risk or bear activity. You just have to roll with it.
Johnstone Canyon was well worth the visit, but very busy and I could feel Ethan's anger level rising as he was jostled out of the way of decent views by parties of Chinese tourists. This is becoming a bit of a theme on the trip. I guess all that new found wealth has generated a travelling class.
Moving on from Johnstone, we are heading back towards Lake Louise. Getting late in the day, why not chance it? As I said, the parking gods have finally taken pity on us and we found our spot to go and view the famous Lake Louise.
Meh. All very scenic and turqoisey, but not overly inspiring. Maybe it was the lighting or the swarms of other tourists but, as we were shortly to discover, a few more miles up into the mountains lies Moraine Lake, which is far more spectacular, albeit a tad chilly...
Critters: a few spotted today although no more bears. We have discovered that the only we to summon critter into view, is to not have the camera handy and then to either make a sudden dive for it or grab a phone. This magnificent beast was just wanderng along the side of the road. It's no moose, but good enough!
This less magnificent beast lead Ethan a merry chase, stopping frequently to pose and the move on on just at the wrong moment. How we laughed... at least until one of the locals suggested that you needed to keep an eye out as they like to run up your trouser leg. I think he was joking, but I have seen a lot of workmen with with their trousers taped shut...
Phew, long day ... and of course left us with the trips wo Wapta Falls and Hoodoo Creek to get in the next day.
This we duly did. Wapta falls was quite spectacular and you could get pretty close. Note to self, get fully waterproofed before approaching. Ah well, the shorts will try out soon enough. Not so sure about the camera!
From here onto Hoodoo Creek. A nice short walk we are led to believe. Short yes, easy no! It's only a couple of miles, but all quite steeply uphill, the trail rising by about 1000 feet. I was fine of course, but had to keep waiting for Ethan to catch his breath :-)
On the way back down, it seemed like a good idea to soak our feet in the creek. Very bracing but has definitely given me pause for thought about going rafting. Having felt how cold that was on my feet, I'm not sure i want to be dipping anything else in glacial waters.