Vacay to Saskatchewan 2014: Day 3 (July 3, continued)
Part 2: Sights along the way to Brooks – and the madness that are Lake Louise and Banff!
After leaving the lovely Heather Mountain Inn, we headed towards Golden (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden,_British_Columbia) and beyond. There are not a lot of stops between Golden and Lake Louise, our first stop on our way to Brooks, Alberta, but the scenery is wonderful.
The highway is, however, very windy (not blowing with wind, but winding around and around and up and down until some may throw up windy) and high up, as well as surrounded by mountains.
There were lots of these kind of strange tunnel things on this stretch…
We decided to stop at Lake Louise (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Louise,_Alberta) well, because it’s Lake Louise.
But, it is also Lake Louise in July – at the beginning of July, between Canada Day and July 4th (an American holiday of some note, I hear tell). It’s an interesting juxtaposition. Lake Louise is beautiful, but not when it’s wall to wall cars struggling to find parking, and people everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Not pretty at all. But we still stopped. Well, it took a while to stop, as we drove through the entire free parking area before giving up and moving ourselves to the hotel underground paid parking area. Once parked, we took a very quick tour of the area around the hotel to see the iconic view. We both had been there before, so it really was kind of funny – going all the way to Lake Louise for a quick in and out. We were there for so short a time that the hotel didn’t even charge us for parking, so all the driving around the free parking was wasted. But it did remind us of the insanity of the touristy nature of Lake Louise.
And speaking of touristy, our next quick stop was Banff (http://www.banff.ca/). Banff has changed a lot since I was first there (three or four lifetimes ago). Kevin goes there every year to work the sound for the annual vocal jazz festival (LINK), but it’s been awhile since I was last there. What a zoo! We drove around a bit and took a few photos of the Banff Springs Hotel (http://www.fairmont.com/banff-springs/),
and then visited Bows Falls (http://www.banff.com/banff-helpers/things-to-do-in-banff/bow-falls/)
After the falls, I decided it was time for ice cream – a hot summer afternoon, of COURSE it was time for ice cream. Do you think we could find an ice cream store in Banff? Only one, but when we walked in, it seemed that everyone else in Banff had also decided it was time for ice cream, so we got back into the car and drove to Canmore (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canmore,_Alberta) for ice cream. Canmore is a cute little town (originally a coal mining town) and is the place Brokeback Mountain was filmed. Apparently. We wandered around a bit as we had our ice cream, just to see the sights (since we could – unlike Lake Louise and Banff, we did not have to fight wall to wall people to see those there sights). I can’t show you any of the sights, because apparently I did not take any pictures in Canmore. I think it was a combination of just wanting to eat my ice cream, and just being tired of taking pictures. So, apologies – maybe next time!
And then, our tourist side trips completed, we headed off for the last leg of the trip through Calgary and to Brooks Alberta. The scenery was changing dramatically. The mountains were behind us, and then so were the foothills as we entered the beginning of the prairie stretch of our journey.
And, while the drive through Calgary (http://www.calgary.ca/SitePages/cocis/default.aspx) is not really very interesting, we did see one thing worthy of a photo along the way. I wonder what the story behind this building is and what happened to W.A. Gough.
And then, suddenly, no more mountains, no more foothills. Just prairie as far as the eye can see.
And finally, our destination for the evening, and the next day: Brooks, Alberta!