Along the Bow River Parkway
Our last day in Banff sees us head off in the orange Jeep along some of the short drives around the town’s environs and then along the Bow River Parkway towards Lake Louise. The weather has been excellent if not a little hot, getting up in the high twenties, and the winds have been as such to blow the smoke away for us. So the skies have been pretty clear with a faint haze of smoke when the sun gets a bit low in the sky.
Our first stop was at the Vermilion Lakes. These are not the same type of lake as Lake Louise , but are actually wet lands with marshy areas around them and they are relatively shallow. There is supposed to be lots of bird life here and we saw some Canada Goose strutting around in the marshy places and lots of ducks digging in the mud near the edge. Bears are also supposed to like this place. The only bears we have seen though are the stuffed ones in the shops.
Lake Minnewanka is at the other end of Banff and seems to be the place where the locals go for their time off. There is a café here, canoes to hire and also the much publicized Boat Cruise on the Lake. It is quite a large body of dammed water with what appears to be a small hydro power plant. We encountered a mob of deer on the side of the road, seemed to be mum deer with a number of relatively new-born hanging nearby. They got a bit skittish if you got too close, apparently they will have a run at you if they feel threatened.
The Bow Valley Parkway is the old road that linked Banff with Lake Louise until the Trans Canada Highway was built. The two roads run alongside each other on opposite sides of the Bow River. Lower down beside the river runs the railway line on which we travelled in the Rocky Mountaineer, no wonder the scenery was looking a bit familiar! At least though we could stop here and there for a good look!
Spent a little time at Johnston Canyon, this is an old tourist spot dating from early 1900s. We set out along the pathway leading to the lower falls, however Homealone pulled out of the walk when it continued along a walkway attached to the side of the canyon. Allthego continued and found there were a further two such suspended walkways before reaching the falls. A good view was had of these by going through a narrow tunnel for a few metres to a small viewing area. The only problem was there was a queue to do this, made up of a lot of selfie takers at the other end. An endless wait of self indulgence! Now if you think Allthego has a problem here then you are right! One or two selfies is fine, but there has to be a limit……………or does there?
We left the Parkway at Castle Mountain and went down the road towards Kootenay National Park. Down this way there is a spot that marks the Continental Divide, there are a number of these markers down through the Rockies and their importance rests in dividing British Columbia from Alberta. On the western side water flows to the Pacific and on the eastern side towards the sea to the north of Canada and the Atlantic.
There is a drop loo just on the British Columbia side and Allthego thought he would contribute to the Pacific flow, there was no such facility on the Alberta side. The road down here also ran in places beside the Vermilion River, a glacial fed shallow milky green stream racing across a rocky bottom.
We returned to Banff along the Trans Canada Highway, a speed way compared to the Bow Valley Parkway. We now head for Lake Louise.