Our lodgings at the High Country Inn are a welcome spot after the decamp from the train journey. It is a quiet place on Banff Ave, the main drag through the township. Not far from all the action. This action was mostly eating and drinking establishments, souvenir shops of varying quality and content, arty places and more accommodation.
There were a lot of happy tourists around. In what appeared to be descending order of numbers these comprised Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Indians (from the subcontinent) and the ROW (including quite a few Australians, many of who are bar and restaurant workers). This assortment meant that it was a real battle to get a good picture because of all the selfies that were being taken. All wandering around like sheep grinning at themselves in I Phones etc, quite frustrating at times. Allthego even offered from time to time to take group shots, always gratefully accepted, to try to clear the scene. Now the odd thing was there were not a lot of conspicuous Chinese, Korean or Indian restaurants around. There was a bit of sushi. Not sure what they all made of the burgers and the Italian places which are all over the place.
Anyway the main reason to be in Banff National Park at this time of the year is to look at the mountains and wander around the parks and sit by the streams. The snow has mostly gone, there are some little pockets high up and numerous small glaciers in the high peaks. Many of these glaciers have shrunk in size over the last 100 years or so and some are remnants of past glories 10,000 years back.
We have done or usual town walk, looking at the buildings, nosing around some of the shops and checking out the parks. A little bit of food has been consumed, mostly Italian. Although we both indulged in an open burger, Allthgo’s burger was adorned with Swiss mushrooms, Homealone passed on these. The Italian place had a bread BBQ, you made your own toast on the BBQ with a choice of topping. Both of us had garlic butter which just soaked into the toast as it was cooking, rather tasty indeed!
In these first couple of days our main activity was the 7 km return wander down the Bow River to see the Bow Falls. This was where the afore-mentioned selfie takers really cut loose. Well worth the effort to get there with the Falls going strong.
We have also picked up the rental car to enable us get further around the Park and ultimately up to Jasper via Lake Louise. Our first port of call was the Banff Gondola which takes one in a 4 berth car to the top of Sulphur Mountain. This takes about 8 minutes, a climb of 2,292 ft (698 m) and to a height of 7,486 ft (2,281m), a little higher than Mt Kosiusko. It was a very smooth trip, Homealone though saw very little. Some great views from the top.
Our next excursion takes us out along the Bow River Valley towards Lake Louise, but more on that next time.