On Thursday 22nd May, after calling into the visitor centre to buy our 10 day visitor pass for Canada's National Parks, we did the Johnston Canyon walk.
On Friday, we headed for Sundance Canyon and on our return headed for the visitor centre to visit the sulphur baths, home of the Banff snail. This snail lives in 5 small sulphur lakes around Banff. Its total habitat is 170 sq meters which is fairly small by any standards. I was lucky enough to get to see a couple of them.
On Saturday, we visited Lake Louisa, called after Queen Victoria’s daughter. The lads walked up to the Lake Agnes Teahouse but I took the easier option and walked to the end of the lake. There, I heard the faraway hoot of the trans Canadian railway and at the same time the sound of sleigh bells. It was very evocative. However, the bells soon turned out to on a dog on a leash. (I later found out that these were bear bells used to warn the bears that dogs are around so they wouldn’t be startled and attack.)
We stopped to view Tunnel Mountain on our way back to Banff.
On Sunday, we went to Yoho National Park, to Wapta Falls on Kicking Horse River and then up Hunters Mountain but guess what? I forgot my camera!
We left Banff on Monday 26th and headed for Jasper 300km away. The Banff Jasper road is supposed to be one of the most scenic drives in the world along the Columbia Icefield and Athabasca glacier. With global worming it is doubtful if the glacier will be around in another 100 years.
After Banff, Jasper was a disappointment. It was just one long main street with houses and shops on one side and the railway line running along the other with a few side streets off the main street and countryside behind the railway tracks. We booked into the Marmot Lodge in Jasper.
On Tuesday it was raining, but we did manage a short walk to Jacques Lake in the afternoon and then the Maligne Canyon walk. This was a wonderful walk down along the canyon to the river floor and a steep climb back followed by a gentle walk through woodlands.
It rained on Wednesday morning but in the afternoon, we headed up to the Five Lakes walk and then in the evening, a drive along Pyramid Lake, Princes Lake and Bouvier Lake before heading back to town.
On Thursday, we headed off to Tower Fort, and had a few rain showers on the way.
On Friday, we ascended Whistler mountain, the lads the hard way and me by cable car, from whence we made our way to the summit.
Jasper is growing on me. The town has a real "feel good" atmosphere and the locals are really proud of the town, have a number of civic organisations and are very anxious to preserve the town history, even going as far as buying up historic buildings scheduled for destruction and rebuilding them elsewhere in the town. In fact, I think I prefer Jasper to Banff.
We left Jasper on Saturday May 30th and because it is a long way from Jasper to Whistler (almost 800km) we decided to break the journey with a couple of nights in Kamloops (about 450 Km down the road). On the way, we called into Mount Robson Provincial Park and walked to the far end of Lake Kenny, my favourite place so far. We then completed our journey Kamloops, and registered in the Plaza Hotel.
On Monday morning we headed to Whistler, firstly through farm land and then badlands mostly desert and then fairly a spectacular stretch above Seton lake and then a wonderful windy roadway down into Lillooet, a small town with lots of character just off the main highway.
In Whistler we stayed in the Blackcombs suite. Whistler was full of cross-country bikers using the ski lifts and slopes before the walkers are allowed up later in June. The town full of young people and there seemed to be numerous bike competitions on the slopes. Whistler is like Disneyland for bikers, skiers, hikers, fishermen and all outdoor sorts.
On Tuesday, we headed to Garibaldi Provincial Park, a lovely walk through mixed forest
On Wednesday, we set off for Brandywine Park where we saw the spectacular Brandywine Falls and later walked to Bungee Bridge - a commercially built bridge specifically to cater for bungee jumping.
On Thursday, we headed for the Train Wreck, a number of goods carriages that became derailed around 1960 we think, and were left there rather than re railed.
On Friday,we headed for Garibaldi lake, accessed by a 6.4 k hike through the forest up a gradient of about 700m. It certainly was very tough going. When we got to the edge of the lake we hit the snow line and as we moved further up to get to the actual lake the snow got thicker and thicker.
We left Whistler for Vancouver early on Saturday 7th June, stopping along the way at The Chief, a so called "must do" on the way to Vancouver. It is basically a large rock with uneven steps all the way up. The lads climbed while I explored and we met up later at the nearby Shannon falls.
On Sunday, JP and I took a city tour bus and were "entertained" by the driver/ guide, who was most annoying,guicd I have experienced to date.
On Monday morning we hired bikes and cycled around the city, first taking the cycle path to Stanley Park and then on to cross Lions Gate Bridge. It was modelled after the Golden Gate Bridge and as we had cycled across that in 2009, we just had to cycle across this one. After that we cycled back along the coast and on to Granville Island where we wandered around through some of the artisan shops.
Tuesday was spent shopping and mooching around the town and on Wednesday we headed home
I have been asked a number of times,
“But did you see any bears?”
Yep, we saw a few!
Look out for the cubs up a tree....