Banff, Alberta Travel Journal

Sunday, August 20th 2000

It's 43 degrees, the breeze is blowing and it's a little after 7am. Jim and I decided to bundle up with cameras and seek the pictures we missed last night. We walked down to the Bow River bridge and off in the distance are the mountains - high, rocky with scattered trees going part way up the sides. The craggy tops are misted somewhat with clouds. A beautiful sight! Last night as we walked into town for dinner, these same mountains were shrouded with angry storm clouds. You could see some areas of snow on the tops. Off in the opposite direction the sky was a bright blue with puffy white clouds. But we had left the cameras in our room thus the early morning trip. After picture taking we walked a short ways into town and then turned around to head back for breakfast. As we passed the YWCA, we ran into one of the couples we had met at the Elderhostel.

We're staying in a lovely B&B just a short walk from the beautiful gardens of the Canada Parks Administration Bldg. I've never seen such beautiful gardens but we'll save those for later today. There are four sets of rooms in the basement of this home, most with a private bath. There is a communal lounge area complete with fireplace and all sorts of reading material. Breakfast is served upstairs in the family dining room with a view of these beautiful mountains. We are just a short walk from the downtown area which is nice considering the amount of traffic in town. Breakfast is a feast! Fresh fruit, orange juice and coffee, freshly baked muffins, scrambled eggs and toast. Two other couples join us for breakfast.

After breakfast and much conversation, Jim and I head out to take the walk to Bow Falls along both sides of the river. More pictures and our final destination is the Banff Springs Hotel on the side of the mountain. We're a little foot weary and decide we need more sustenance before we head back to the room and a nap. Lunch is a little deli within the hotel. The sandwiches are wonderful - crunchy vegetable and ham and cheese - we share some of each with a sinfully rich chocolate something. We have more energy and are ready to head back when we discover we really are not very far from the B&B.

Our drive up yesterday was on PR93 which does not appear to be heavily traveled. As we entered Eureka, it was real clear how close some of the fires were. We could smell the smoke and it lay heavily over the area. We had read in the morning paper how some of the farmers were being told to leave their cattle in the fields and get out. They were cutting the barbed wire fences and I guess hoping the cattle had sense enough to get away. Up here the fires are not apparent. Perhaps they have had more rain or better weather.

Our trip took us through the Kootenay National Park which is also very rugged and a number of rivers run along side the highway. We thought we had just been though some of the most beautiful and rugged country in Glacier but this is just as much so. Around each bend is another photo and the sky is filled with angry dark clouds against the sky and shrouding the mountains. Soon the rain begins and our picture taking comes to an end.

We're heading into town once Jim has his nap to wander through the gardens and around town. We may take another hike but we'll see. After breakfast tomorrow, we head up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper. The B&B has a overly big backyard complete with outdoor fireplace, hot tub and a sitting area. Too chilly to use it though.

Banff is a very cosmopolitan city and just as crowded as New York City. Even though the town site is within the National Park it is autonomous from federal regulations. People do not own their own lots, they rent them from the federal government.

Our love to all. We wish you could share this adventure with us and see these many many beautiful scenes.