On the way, we drove through Kootenay National Park. In the early morning light, the coloring of the landscape was most spectacular. When you pay entry into the park, you actually get access to Kootenay, Jasper, Banff, and Yoho National Parks. One payment is good for all.
Then, you leave British Columbia, cross over into Alberta, hang a right on Hwy 1, and you get to the downtown area of Banff. We arrived around 0945, parked the car (found this public parking structure that gives FREE parking for 12 hours...the benefits of visiting places in the off season) and stopped briefly at the visitor center to get a trail map.
We began the day hiking the Tunnel Mountain trail. The hike is just under 3 miles round trip, lots of incline and switchbacks on the way up, but the views from the top make every step worth it. Make no mistake, it is work. Maybe it is because I am very much out of hiking shape, but even with just a day back I was breathing heavily and glad when the summit was at last reached.
|View from Summit of Tunnel Mountain|
Once back down, instead of heading back to town, we went on to the Hoodoos Trail which added about 6 more miles to our hiking for the day. The trail goes through forests with moss carpets, and even down to the valley floor following the curvature of the Bow River. The panoramas are hard to describe in words, but my overall feeling with both Kootenay and Banff National Park is - this much beauty should not be allowed in one place. I mean it should, I am glad for it, but it is almost ridiculous how incredible the entire landscape is at every turn. You are reminded of your own smallness and God's grandeur and His incredible artistic ability as a Creator. I am just thankful I have eyes to drink it in, and I can't drink it in enough.
We walked around the town of Banff afterwards and got dinner and some frozen yogurt. My dad ate Rangeland Elk Stew. Seemed like the Canadian thing to order.
|Rangeland Elk Stew|
More of Canadian natural landscapes tomorrow.