It’s finally time to share my adventure through the Canadian Rockies with you. The part I skipped was Calgary – I stayed there after Seattle and before coming to Banff for the first time.
On August 18th I took the Greyhound bus from Calgary to Banff in the morning and therefore still had about a full day before my guided tour through the national parks started. I fell asleep on the way here but woke up again about halfway. And there they were: the Rockies – big, beautiful, peaceful and some peaks were covered in snow and ice. I was speechless. I mean, as an Austrian girl I’ve been on mountains in the Alps many times before but what I saw that morning was just so much more impressive! I got off in Banff at about 10am and checked in at the hostel, got changed and went for a stroll through town. People kept telling me that the weather will change and that there will be some snow. So I got myself some more layers.
After that I went to the tourist information center and got a map and my first ever bear spray. Then I did a quick “hike” aka a little walk up on Tunnel Mountain. Up there – 1.692 m – you have a nice view over Banff and the mountains that surround the quaint little town.
Then I continued my walk over to the Bow river, or to be exact to a view point called “Surprise Corner” where I had an amazing view of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. I believe that this place looks marvelous in winter when covered in snow as seen in this picture.
To finish off this wonderful day I walked for approximately an hour along the Bow River. The air was so unbelievably clean and the surrounding nature was so untouched and peaceful. Honestly, I couldn’t believe how lucky I’m that I’m allowed to see all these beautiful places on our planet.
The next day another adventure started: the Moose Travel Network “Athabasca” Tour started. 21 people from Australia, Germany, Italy, the UK, Canada, Spain, Poland and Austria headed out into Banff and Jasper National Park. Our first two stops were Lake Minnewanka and Two Jack Lake. The water reflected the rising sun so that it looked like there is a sea of glitter in between those mountains. Nature made up for getting out of bed so early.
Our next stop was Johnston Canyon which is quite a tourist attraction but at the same time it was worth visiting. The waterfall cleared the air and once again we were given the chance to breath the freshest air you could imagine.
For lunch we headed further north and had a little picnic at the foot of Castle Mountain. The mountain was named in 1858 by James Hector for its castle-like appearance. From 1946 to 1979 it was known as Mount Eisenhower in honor of the World War II general Dwight D. Eisenhower. Public pressure caused its original name to be restored, but a pinnacle on the southeastern side of the mountain was named Eisenhower Tower.
In the afternoon we visited Moraine Lake. Basically we just drove there and got off our bus for walking up to the viewpoint. Along the way we saw many squirrels and also found some berries. This lake is absolutely beautiful with its deep turquoise color. I think one of the hardest parts about visiting this part of Canada is that you simply cannot capture the beauty of nature in a picture – even though the photos might be fantastic.
Next we headed to Lake Louise. The town itself only consists of about 10 houses and a ski resort. But before actually checking in at the hostel we headed to Lake Louise – the lake. This lake is not as blue as Moraine Lake but still really beautiful. We walked to the other end of the lake and before heading back to town we also had a look at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Inside is looks way better than from the outside but I still would not want to spend 500$ for one night.