Friday, July 27, 2012

Canada - Day Three - Banff and Athabasca Ice Fields

We left Lethbridge this morning and headed right for Banff National Park. We first came to the City of Banff and looked around the town. That’s when we found the Banff Springs Hotel.  It looks like something out of a Harry Potter movie. I mean, really, doesn’t this look like Hogswort on a sunny day? 

Actually Lorne and Dane wanted to change the name of it to Pigpimple instead. Loses something in the translation.

Dane talked the porter into letting us go up the 8th floor so we could take pictures.  We could see for miles and miles and everywhere was mountains, mountains, and more mountains. 

Qiviuk Yarn - my Canadian Souvenir
While at the Shops at Banff Springs, I found a shop that sells clothing and accessories made from Qiviuk. Qiviuk is a yarn that is made from the wool of the musk ox, which is only found in the Artic. It is supposed to be 8 times warmer than wool. That usually wouldn’t be a selling point for me because I am too warm just wearing cotton! But they also had little balls of the yarn, so I have to buy one as my Canadian souvenir. That’s about all I can afford for this trip.  It’s a beautiful dark plum color and I am envisioning a ruffled scarf.

Just below the Banff Springs is Bow Falls.  We explored the edges and sides while it rained on us off and on.  Being in front of the falls, it was hard to tell at times if it was the rain or the falls getting us wet. Since it kept things cool, it really didn’t matter.

We left the town of Banff to enter the National Park and what an impressive place! Being from Colorado, we are used to mountains, but these mountains are absolutely spectacular!  The ice age really tore up these mountains.  The tops are jagged and sharp and they are about as abrupt as the Tetons. This place is truly a treasure.

 One of the things I really like was the wildlife overpasses. These are exclusively for the herds of elk, deer and caribou, as well as the predator such as bears, cougars and wolves. We thought about waiting around to see who would use it, but alas time was not on our side. 

It was getting hot by the afternoon – it got all the way up to 74° -- so we cooled off by taking paddling canoes around Lake Louise. Ken and I took one canoe and Lorne and Dane took another. 

We played keep away but the boys then the boys took off on their own, just like they do all the time. (sigh!)  

This was our night for camping, so we travelled further north to the Athabasca ice fields.  (Trying saying that name with a lisp!) We set up camp in the cold northern Canadian Rockies (actually, it was still in the 60’s) and put up our tent. Although it was close to 9:30, it was still sunny and bright. Gotta love those midnight suns! 

So Dane pulled out his guitar and we serenaded our fellow campers – or at least ourselves. No one around us complained which is a good sign. Amazing what a little Credence Clearwater and Beatles can do to add an atmosphere to camp life. 

So Papa sang base and Mama sang tenor (okay, alto), while Lorne and Dane filled in the middle. Lorne also does a mean Jerry Lee Lewis. We added a little Stand by Me and the Lion Sings Tonight. Then we thought we shouldn't tempt fate by singing to a mountain lion who may not like our weem-a-whacks at 10:30 at night.

Obviously there is no internet up here at the top of the world, so I’ll have to post these all at once when we get to the reunion tomorrow.

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