A Travellerspoint blog

31 May, Day 9 - COLUMBIA ICEFIELDS - JASPER

This morning we left beautiful Lake Louise for the Columbia ICEFIELDS and then to Jasper

This morning we awoke to a heavily overcast day and rain but even with this the lake was beautiful.
Lake Louise early morning view from our room

Lake Louise early morning view from our room

We left Lake Louise and travelled on the awe-inspiring ICEFIELDS Parkway past towering peaks and immense hanging glaciers to Jasper National Park.

We were to see the sapphire Peyto Lake but the road was closed. We stopped for a photo opportunity at Bow Lake which was still mostly frozen.
Bow Lake Panorama

Bow Lake Panorama

Darcy, our Tour Director, pointed out an area where there was a dam built by beavers. The beaver lodge provides accommodation and food even when the dam is iced over.
Beaver mound

Beaver mound

Further along the Icefields Parkway we saw the magnificent Tangle Creek Falls.
Tangle Creek Falls

Tangle Creek Falls

We rode in an exciting Ice Explorer on the 1 000 foot thick Athabasca Glacier. The Athabasca Glacier is one of the six principal 'toes' of the Columbia Icefield, located in the Canadian Rockies. The glacier currently recedes at a rate of 2–3 metres (6.6–9.8 ft) per year and has receded more than 1.5 km (0.93 mi) in the past 125 years and lost over half of its volume. The glacier moves down from the icefield at a rate of several centimetres per day. Due to its close proximity to the Icefields Parkway, between the Alberta towns of Banff and Jasper, and rather easy accessibility, it is the most visited glacier in North America. The leading edge of the glacier is within easy walking distance; however, travel onto the glacier is not recommended unless properly equipped. Hidden crevasses have led to the deaths of unprepared tourists. But with our fearless leader we were quite safe and prepared.
View from Columbia Icefields Centre

View from Columbia Icefields Centre

View from Columbia Icefields Centre - waiting for the bus

View from Columbia Icefields Centre - waiting for the bus

Colleen and friends

Colleen and friends

Athabascar GlacierJean and Marie on the ice

Athabascar GlacierJean and Marie on the ice

Athabascar Glacier

Athabascar Glacier

Athabascar GlacierGreg and Deb on the ice

Athabascar GlacierGreg and Deb on the ice

Athabascar Glacier

Athabascar Glacier

Athabascar Glacier

Athabascar Glacier

Athabascar Glacier

Athabascar Glacier

Group Photo beside Ice Explorer on Athabascar Glacier

Group Photo beside Ice Explorer on Athabascar Glacier


Ice Explorer -20 tonnes, $1 million cost

Ice Explorer -20 tonnes, $1 million cost


Along the way today we saw quite a lot of animal life but mainly Big Horn Sheep. We were lucky enough to spot a mother sheep with her lamb quite some distance up on a very steep hillside.
Big Horn Sheep with lamb

Big Horn Sheep with lamb

Big Horn Ram on hillside

Big Horn Ram on hillside

Big horn sheep

Big horn sheep

After the Columbia Icefields we travelled on for a stop at the thundering Athabascar Falls before stopping for some of our tour group to go rafting on the river into Jasper.
Athabascar Falls

Athabascar Falls

Athabascar Falls - bottom

Athabascar Falls - bottom

Our overnight accommodation was the charming village of Jasper in Jasper National Park. In particular, our accommodation was at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.

Posted by Kangatraveller 16:13 Comments (0)

30 May, Day 8 BANFF TO LAKE LOUISE

From paradise to another spectacular setting -LAKE LOUISE

We had a later start before we set off for the Gondola to Sulphur Mountain. Before we left we took a few more pictures from this historic hotel.
View from the Conservatory at The Banff Springs Hotel 12

View from the Conservatory at The Banff Springs Hotel 12

View from the Conservatory at The Banff Springs Hotel 5

View from the Conservatory at The Banff Springs Hotel 5

David at the Desk

David at the Desk

Banff’s only Gondola takes you up to the top of Sulphur Mountain and you will have a panoramic view of the Canadian Rockies. The gondola ride takes about 7 minutes and there is a cafeteria and restaurant at the top as well as a gift shop. You can walk on the boardwalk to next peak to the observation decks.
Sulphur Mountain Gondola

Sulphur Mountain Gondola

View from Gondola station on Sulphur Mountain

View from Gondola station on Sulphur Mountain

Superb view from Gondola station on Sulphur Mountain

Superb view from Gondola station on Sulphur Mountain

Greg and Deb on Sulphur Mountain

Greg and Deb on Sulphur Mountain


David and Colleen on Sulphur Mountain

David and Colleen on Sulphur Mountain


Going down on Gondola on Sulphur Mountain

Going down on Gondola on Sulphur Mountain

We left Banff around morning tea time to travel via Castle Mountain to Moraine Lake.
Castle Mountain

Castle Mountain

Moraine Lake is a glacially-fed lake in Banff National Park, 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) outside the Village of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. It is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, at an elevation of approximately 6,183 feet (1,885 m). The lake has a surface area of .5 square kilometres (0.19 sq mi).
Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

The lake, being glacially fed, does not reach its crest until mid to late June. When it is full, it reflects a distinct shade of blue. The colour is due to the refraction of light off the rock flour deposited in the lake on a continual basis. Howevr the road into the lake had only been opend 5 days ago. The lake was still frozen.

We arrived at Lake Louise in light showers of rain. this didn't put us off at all and we had a wonderful walk around one side of the lake. The Fairmont Lake Louise is our accommodation for the night.The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a Fairmont Hotel on the eastern shore of Lake Louise, near Banff, Alberta. The original Chateau was gradually built up at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century by the Canadian Pacific Railway and was thus "kin" to its predecessors, the Banff Springs Hotel, and the Château Frontenac.
Lake Louise

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

Posted by Kangatraveller 15:37 Comments (0)

29 MAY, Day7 FAIRMONT BANFF SPRINGS HOTEL and BANFF ENVIRONS

Banff -third declared National Park in the world-mountain splendour

Banff is a town within Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. It is located in Alberta's Rockies along the Trans-Canada Highway, approximately 126 km (78 mi) west of Calgary and 58 km (36 mi) east of Lake Louise. At an elevation of 1,463 m (4,800 ft), Banff is the community with the second highest elevation in Canada after Lake Louise.

Banff is a resort town and one of Canada's most popular tourist destinations, known for its mountainous surroundings and hot springs. It is a destination for outdoor sports and features extensive hiking, biking, scrambling and skiing areas within the area. Sunshine Village, Ski Norquay and Lake Louise Mountain Resort are the three nearby ski resorts located within the national park.

It is surrounded by mountains, notably Mount Rundle, Sulphur Mountain, Mount Norquay, and Cascade Mountain. The town is situated above Bow Falls near the confluence of the Bow River and Spray River.

Tunnel Mountain (formerly known as Sleeping Buffalo Mountain) (1,690 m or 5,545 ft) is situated within the townsite and is very popular for quick hikes; one can reach the summit in less than half an hour. It was named Tunnel Mountain because surveyors initially wanted to make a tunnel for the Canadian Pacific Railway right through the mountain, instead of following the Bow River Valley.

We drove a short distance to see where the Bow and Spray Rivers converge near the Bow Falls. This area is really at the bottom of the garden for the Fairmony Bannf Springs Hotel.
David at Bow Falls

David at Bow Falls

Bow River Information boards

Bow River Information boards

Spray River and Bow River merge near Bow Falls

Spray River and Bow River merge near Bow Falls

Here are some pictures of Cascade Mountain viewed from Tunnel Mountain.
View from Tunnel Mountain

View from Tunnel Mountain

Information on Hoodoos

Information on Hoodoos

View from Tunnel Mountain with Hoodoos in middleground

View from Tunnel Mountain with Hoodoos in middleground

View from Tunnel Mountain with Hoodoos in middleground

View from Tunnel Mountain with Hoodoos in middleground

View from Tunnel Mountain with Hoodoos in middleground

View from Tunnel Mountain with Hoodoos in middleground

View from Surprise Coorner on Tunnel Mountain with Fairmont Bannf Springs Hotel in view

View from Surprise Coorner on Tunnel Mountain with Fairmont Bannf Springs Hotel in view

We returned to walk around the beautiful little town. As the town is in the National Park, people living here need to provide a "Reason to Reside" to be able to live here. All land is on a 42 year lease from the government.
View from Bannf Main Street

View from Bannf Main Street

View from Bannf Main Street

View from Bannf Main Street

View from Bannf Main Street

View from Bannf Main Street

View from Bannf Main Street

View from Bannf Main Street


Calypso Orchids, Johnson Lake

Calypso Orchids, Johnson Lake

We set out for Johnson Lake for a picnic lunch and then a bush walk around the perimeter of the lake. It really is quite spectacular.
Here are some pictures taken during the walk.
View from Johnson Lake

View from Johnson Lake

View from Johnson Lake

View from Johnson Lake

Views from Johnson Lake

Views from Johnson Lake

Woodpecker holes in tree

Woodpecker holes in tree

Squirrel, Johnson Lake

Squirrel, Johnson Lake

On our return to the hotel I went on a tour to hear the story of the hotel. The President of Canadian Pacific, Sir William Cornelius Van Horne commissioned the hotel in 1888 and he asked why it had been built backwards . He said what idiot designed this so the kitchen staff had a million dollar view. They have since built many additions to this lovely old hotel.
Fairmont Bannf Springs Hotel

Fairmont Bannf Springs Hotel

Fairmont Bannf Springs Hotel - president of canadian pacific railways Sir William Cornelius Van Horne

Fairmont Bannf Springs Hotel - president of canadian pacific railways Sir William Cornelius Van Horne

Fairmont Bannf Springs Hotel

Fairmont Bannf Springs Hotel

Posted by Kangatraveller 16:58 Archived in Algeria Comments (0)

28 May, Day 6 KAMLOOPS TO BANFF

GoldLeaf Rocky Mountaineer to Banff

The train arrived at 8.40pm for our overnight stay at Banff.

Banff was first settled in the 1880s, after the transcontinental railway was built through the Bow Valley. In 1883, three Canadian Pacific Railway workers stumbled upon a series of natural hot springs on the side of Sulphur Mountain. In 1885, Canada established a federal reserve of 26 km2 (10 sq mi) around the Cave and Basin hot springs, and began promoting the area as an international resort and spa as a way to support the new railway.[4] In 1887, the reserve area was increased to 673 km2 (260 sq mi) and named "Rocky Mountain Park." This was the beginning of Canada's National Park system.

The area was named Banff in 1884 by George Stephen, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, recalling his birthplace in Banffshire, Scotland, now simply Banff. The Canadian Pacific built a series of grand hotels along the rail line and advertised the Banff Springs Hotel as an international tourist resort.

The Banff townsite was developed near the railway station as a service centre for tourists visiting the park. It was administered by the Government of Canada's national parks system until 1990 when the Town of Banff became the only incorporated municipality within a Canadian national park.
In 1985, the United Nations declared Banff National Park, as one of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, a World Heritage Site. Banff remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in Canada.

One of the most notable figures of Banff was Norman Luxton, who was known as "Mr. Banff". He published the Crag and Canyon newspaper, built the King Edward Hotel and the Lux Theatre, and founded the Sign of the Goat Curio Shop, which led to the development of the Luxton Museum of Plains Indians, now the Buffalo Nations Museum.[5] He and his family helped organize the Banff Indian Days and the Banff Winter Carnival.

Today's journey was 309 miles through spectacular scenery. rivers, creeks, lakes, snow capped mountains, lush valleys, small towns and huge forests predominated. Ee saw our first bears in the wild. I will let the pictures do the talking.
Little Shuswap Lake

Little Shuswap Lake

Sicamous

Sicamous

Farm outside Chase

Farm outside Chase

Craigellachie

Craigellachie

David on the Rocky mountaineer at  Kamloops

David on the Rocky mountaineer at Kamloops

Shuswap Lake

Shuswap Lake

Shuswap Lake 19

Shuswap Lake 19

Illecilleweat River area

Illecilleweat River area

Stoney Creek Falls

Stoney Creek Falls

Connaught Tunnel

Connaught Tunnel


Rogers Pass

Rogers Pass

Kinbasket Lake

Kinbasket Lake

Golden

Golden

Kicking Horse River

Kicking Horse River

Kicking Horse River

Kicking Horse River

Kicking Horse River

Kicking Horse River

Field

Field

Wapta Lake

Wapta Lake

Cathedral Mountain area

Cathedral Mountain area

Cathedral Mountain area

Cathedral Mountain area

Castle Mountain

Castle Mountain

Here are some pictures of some of the wildlife we saw along the way.
White Tail Deer

White Tail Deer


Another photo of some bears

Another photo of some bears

Bears in the wild

Bears in the wild

Around 8.0pm we reached our destination-Bannf.
Bannf

Bannf

Posted by Kangatraveller 22:52 Comments (0)

27 May, Day 5 ROCKY MOUNTAINEER TO KAMLOOPS

Gold Leaf Rocky Mountaineer

Today It's Memorial Day, a public holiday in the United States and Canada. Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday which occurs every year on the final Monday of May. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.

This morning we were taken to the station to catch the Rocky Mountaineer. The train has its own station.
Rocky Mountaineer Station Vancouver

Rocky Mountaineer Station Vancouver

Rocky Mountaineer  Vancouver

Rocky Mountaineer Vancouver

We had booked GoldLeaf Service. Their brochure said: " Our custom-designed, bi-level, glass-domed GoldLeaf coach puts you right in the middle of the awe-inspiring scenery of the Canadian Rockies. Take in the dazzling vistas upstairs, and enjoy delicious meals downstairs. From the attentive service provided by your Rocky Mountaineer Hosts, to the gourmet meals prepared from regional cuisine by our award-winning chefs. GoldLeaf Service is quite simply, as good as it gets." And it lived up to its boast!

BREAKFAST MENU
The Rocky Mountaineer
Omelette filled with mozzarella, asparagus, freshly roasted country potatoes and Canadian smoked ham.
GoldLeaf Breakfast
Scrambled eggs, smoked steelhead salmon topped with kelp caviar and lemon chive crème fraiche
Sir Sanford Fleming Benedict
Poached egg served over Montreal Smoked meat on a fluffy crumpet, accented with tarragon Hollandaise.
Buttermilk Pancakes
Traditional buttermilk pancakes, candied orange zest and Aldergrove berry preserve.
Granola Parfait
Vanilla-scented island yogurt and granola with fresh field berries

LUNCH MENU

Our lunch service begins with your choice of our featured soup or freshly prepared salad, created by our team of chefs.
Alberta Short Ribs
Slow cooked Alberta beef short ribs, served with garlic whipped potatoes and local seasonal vegetables.
Black Tiger Prawns
Simmered in a west coast bouillabaisse broth, over a sticky rice cake topped with sauteed vegetables julienne.
Fraser Valley Chicken Breast
Encrusted with wild BC mushrooms, pan-seared, and served with garlic mashed potatoes and a blueberry relish.
Vegetarian Appeal
Traditional farfalle pasta tossed in cream, sweet Chilliwack corn, green peas and parmesan.
Light Choice
Fresh local vegetables layered with wonton crisps, balsamic vinegar molasses, garlic and herb coulis.
Dessert
Freshly baked brownie with French Vanilla ice cream, warm chocolate sauce and crisp ginger snap.

Throughout the day, wait staff bring complimentary wine, beer, spirits etc etc.

The scenery matched the menus and the attention of the staff.

We rolled through quite different scenery staring with the green flats of the Fraser Valley through Hell's Gate, the aridity of Avalanche Alley through to the clear waters of the Thompson River.
Fraser River -big logging district

Fraser River -big logging district


Fraser River

Fraser River

Fraser Valley

Fraser Valley

Fraser Valley

Fraser Valley

Colleen surveys the countryside

Colleen surveys the countryside

Approaching Hell's Gate

Approaching Hell's Gate

Approaching Hell's Gate

Approaching Hell's Gate

Hell's Gate

Hell's Gate

Cisco Crossings built 1912

Cisco Crossings built 1912

Cisco Crossings built 1912

Cisco Crossings built 1912

Avalanche Alley

Avalanche Alley

Heading into Kamloops

Heading into Kamloops

Thompson River widens into 40km long Kamloops

Thompson River widens into 40km long Kamloops

And more big horn sheep

And more big horn sheep

Kamloops is a city in south central British Columbia, at the confluence of the two branches of the Thompson River and near Kamloops Lake. It is the largest community in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and the location of the regional district's offices. The surrounding region is more commonly referred to as the Thompson Country. It is ranked 37th on the list of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in Canada and represents the 44th largest census agglomeration nationwide, with 85,678 residents in 2011.
Heading into Kamloops

Heading into Kamloops

Posted by Kangatraveller 20:23 Comments (0)

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