Lakes And Waterfalls Around Banff

We found both of the tours we took while in Banff to be very worthwhile.  The tour guides were great.  We were able to see much more than would have had we just driven around with a guidebook and map.  It was easy to just get on the bus and ride while someone else did all the work.  Most important though, was that the parking lots at almost all the stops were full.  We saw people parking along the road and walking over a mile in some cases just to get to where we got off the bus!!

Wolf Creek Lower Falls
Johnston Canyon Lower Falls

We took a short hike up to this outstanding waterfall.

Here We Are Amid All Of This
Here We Are Amid All Of This Splendor

Our driver and guide took our picture. I think he did a great job.

Lake Louise
Lake Louise

Every bit as beautiful as all the postcards make it out to be!! We sat along this shore and ate a picnic lunch we had gotten at the Lake Louise Hotel deli.  Can you imagine a nicer place for lunch?

This raven kept a close on us.
Not The Least Obeisance Made He

I don’t know if he was more interested in us or our lunch, but in any case we weren’t sharing.  He sat so perfectly still for his portrait that he looks like a statue.

Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake

A short but very steep trail led us up to this outstanding view. It was much easier returning to the bus than going up.

Takakkaw Falls
Takakkaw Falls

I have left out some interesting stops on the tour only because I was unable to get telling photos. But this 836 foot falls made a fitting end. We were tired when we got back and had not done any of the work. It was all fun.

 

The Banff Gondola
The Banff Gondola
A View From The Top
A View From The Top

We drove ourselves to the Gondola and as it was early morning we had plenty of room to park.  What a fantastic ride up to some unbelievable views.

Banff was an unforgettable stopover on our travels.

“Here’s to us that are here, to you that are there, and the rest of us everywhere.”

— Rudyard Kipling

Your Random Rover,

Gordon

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Banff, AB

Banff, Alberta is as far north as we are going on this trip and it was worth every mile/kilometer of driving that it took to get here.

The Entrance To Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court
The Entrance To Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court

This absolute grandeur served as our greeting after a trying day of driving which included Calgary, AB where some of the drivers seem not to have grasped the concepts of civilized driving and obviously believe that they are immortal.

Our Site  At Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court
Our Site At Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court

Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court is a beautiful campground that I would highly recommend. The sites are open with easy pull-through access, have trees for shade, and, especially in the 800 row, have wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. The campground is a very short drive from the town of Banff and city bus service is also available.  It served us very well as a base for seeing all the sights.

Banff Falls
Banff Falls

We took 2 tours while we were here. The first was  a half day that included the highlights in and around the town.

Downtown Banff
Downtown Banff

This view of downtown Banff is from the Park headquarters which has beautiful gardens.  We did some tourist type shopping in Banff and in the neighboring city of Canmore including two farmer’s markets/craft fairs and found lots of fun shops with interesting wares.  We bought a few things including a small indian dream catcher for Bertha.

Headquarters Gardens
Headquarters Gardens

From the view of Banff above I turned 180 degrees to take this picture.  This is only a few of the many flower beds at the park headquarters. Elaine and I toured most of them on another day.  If you come to Banff this is a must see stop that we did not see mentioned anywhere.  Maybe because it is free.

Elaine Caught By Surprise At The HQ Gardens
Elaine Caught By Surprise At The HQ Gardens

I took enough pictures to bore most people so I am only publishing a small sample.

Lake Minnewanka
Lake Minnewanka

 

On the Banff tour we also went to see Lake Minnewanka

Hoodoo At Banff
Hoodoos At Banff

and the Banff Hoodoos.

Your Intrepid Travelers
Your Intrepid Travelers

I will post our second guided tour (lakes and waterfalls) and our trip on the Banff Gondola in separate installments as this is getting quite long.

Try to see  your  world with a child’s sense of wondrous novelty,

Your Random Rover in Canada,

Gordon

The Great Canadian Barn Dance

While planning this adventure on the web we ran across this place called “The Great Canadian Barn Dance” that sounded like it was much more “our style” than any of the giant amusement parks that just don’t interest us and decided that since it was “on the way” we should stop and check it out.

Sunrise At The Great Canadian Barn Dance
A Beautiful Sunrise At The Great Canadian Barn Dance

I took this panorama right outside our front door!!!

Bertha Basking At GCBD
Bertha Basking In The Sunset At GCBD

This Alberta farming area is very much like its southern neighbor Montana.

Elaine On Horseback
Elaine On Horseback

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the next day because it was our first full day in Canada we needed to do a little shopping in town for all the things we did not try to take across the border and then we took a walk around the campground.  As you can see Elaine rode part of the way.

Ice Cream Social
Ice Cream Social

An ice cream social / jam session one afternoon with a dinner show (excellent entertainment and plenty of great food) one night.

Getting Ready For The Dance
Getting Ready For The Dance

And finally an evening of country dancing on a huge well kept wooden dance floor made this an enjoyable stop on our way to Banff and Lake Louise.

Your Random Rover,

Gordon

Glacier National Park

We moved on from Heyburn having enjoyed our time there.  Great park, great people and lots of great scenery, but it was time.

Our site at the Kalispell Elks Lodge
Our site at the Kalispell Elks Lodge

When we arrived, much later than planned, all the sites were taken. The lodge fixed us up with a temporary site where we had power and the next day we were able to get into a regular site. Great folks. Thank you brother/sister Elks. We spent a couple of days shopping, getting prescriptions filled and just plain bumming around.  We found Kalispell to be a friendly modern city with very pretty older neighborhoods. On the day we headed on to Columbia Falls we first went to the Bigfork Festival of the Arts the weather was awesome we saw many fine crafts and met some marvelous vendors.

Festival of the Arts, Bigfork Montana
Festival of the Arts, Bigfork Montana

And then off to Columbia Falls which will be our base camp for visiting Glacier National Park.

Columbia Falls RV
Columbia Falls RV

For those of you that checked the map, you are right, we only traveled about 18 miles. Half an hour closer will be better for exploring the park.  We got all settled in here and decided to just go to the visitor center in the morning and get a better idea of how we would schedule our time.  It proved to be a very good plan.  With the help of a ranger and a volunteer our plan of action took shape.

One Of The Famous Red Bus Tours Leaving East Glacier
One Of The Famous Red Bus Tours Leaving East Glacier

We had thought we would take one of the Red Bus Tours but after talking to the park rangers we decided on using the park shuttle service one day and driving on another which worked quite well for us. The Red Bus Jammers are actually custom made White motor coaches built around 1937 that have been converted to propane and the old (non-syncromesh) transmissions replaced with automatics. No more double clutching and gear jamming, but they are still beautiful and help relieve much congestion in the park.

Running Eagle Falls
Running Eagle Falls

On Monday Elaine drove us around the south side of the park to East Glacier and on to Two Medicine with a stop for a short hike to Running Eagle Falls.

Two Medicine Lake
Two Medicine Lake

And on to Two Medicine Lake. It was another exceptional weather day.  I really believe I captured the picture postcard quality of this scene and hope you agree.

The Spiral Spoon
The Spiral Spoon

Before heading back to Columbia Falls we stopped at a shop called The Spiral Spoon where we met one of the owners who shared stories and history.  I would recommend taking a look at their web site / online store.  It is not often that I recommend my competition but these are truly nice people with great products.  I would suggest that you check them out at  http://www.thespiralspoon.com.

Entering West Glacier
Entering West Glacier

Traveling from West Glacier to East Glacier and back on the “Going To The Sun Road” shuttle service was our plan for the next day. We were very glad that we chose not to drive. The road is very narrow with very tight turns and cliff faces up and down in many places which would have meant that the driver would have missed much of the scenery and parking is very limited.  As the park ranger had warned we saw many people just driving around and around the parking lots hoping that someone would leave so that could stop.

A View From The Shuttle
A View From The Shuttle

On our relaxing ride on the free shuttle we were treated to many iconic Glacier Park panoramas.

Mountain Goats
Bighorn Sheep
Columbia Ground Squirrel
Columbia Ground Squirrel

In addition to the scenery we saw deer, bighorn sheep,  a marmot (Gordon wasn’t quick enough), and columbia ground squirrels. The pictures of the squirrel and sheep are from our lunch stop at Logan Pass.

TOTC
Trail of the Cedars

Toward the end of our day we stopped to hike the very beautiful Trail of the Cedars which follows a creek through a grove of red cedars.  Listening to the creek while strolling the woodland made a perfect end to our day.

Your Random Rovers
Your Random Rovers

Enjoy all your days,
Gordon