Tales From The Camping House

Tales From The Camping House

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Columbia Icefield Parkway

We have had plenty of cold, cloudy days on our journey northward, but today was an absolutely perfect day to make our journey down the Columbia Icefield Parkway.

As we drove through the mountains we marveled at their immenseness.

Our first stop was Peyto Lake.  It was breathtaking.  The blue of the water reminded me a lot of Crater Lake.  

The next lake we cam to was Waterfowl Lake.  Everything was so still, you could see the reflection of the sky and mountains.

We began to wind our way around the mountains and stopped at this overlook to see how far we had come.

The drive through the mountains was awesome.

We arrived at the Athabasca Glacier where the Columbia Icefield Discovery Center is located.  It is the most visited glacier in North America because of its easy accessibility.

After we parked in the parking lot and had lunch, we headed to the Interpretive Centre to purchase our ticket for the Glacier Discovery Tour.  We walked in, purchased our tickets, and were on the bus 15 minutes later.  You ride a regular bus to the other side of the road near the glacier and then take this specially designed snow coach to the glacier's edge.  We were told there are 23 of these snow coaches, 22 are here and 1 other is in Antarctica.

Riding to the glacier almost felt like being on the moon, it was rocky and desolate.  This is the view as we went back up, but going to the glacier you go down the 32% incline!

Once we were at the glacier, we had 15 minutes to walk around.  The ice was solid and any mushy places were marked with cones, so we felt safe.  There was a stream of glacial blue water where we could fill water bottles if we wanted to.

There are actually three visible glaciers on the ride.  We were told our brains are unable to comprehend the size because it is just so enormous.

People on the glacier.

Our obligatory picture by the glacier. :)

As we left, a sheep was spotted on the other side.  I was able to get this picture after we had passed it.

We weren't through with our adventure yet.  We loaded back onto the regular buses and headed down the road to the Glacier Discover Center.  It is built off and over the side of the mountain with gorgeous overlooks.

You can walk out on a plexiglass walkway which extends out over the valley and then look down through the plexiglass.  There were some great views.

After we returned to the Visitor Center, we watched a movie about the glacier and looked at the pictures showing the glacier over time.

You can dry camp at the Visitor Center overnight for $17 CAD, so this was our view for the night.

It was an absolutely wonderful day!

Monday, May 30, 2016

More Banff and Johnston Canyon

We're winding down our time in Banff.  There were a few other places we wanted to visit before leaving.

We headed to Johnston Canyon to hike through it down to the waterfall.  A walkway leading to the falls winds through the limestone walls.

We made it to the falls and after watching for awhile

we realized there was a cave opening on the other side.

We went through the opening and had a closer view of the falls.

After our trip to Johnston Canyon, we wanted to make one more trip to the town of Banff
We parked at Cascade Gardens.

They are pretty now, but I'm sure they are bursting with color later in the summer.

Here's another view of the town looking down from Cascade Gardens.

One last wildlife sighting before we left, a herd of mountain goats licking minerals from the rocks on the side of the road.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Banff Just Keeps On Inspiring

The views here just keep on getting more and more inspiring.

Yesterday, we drove to Lake Louise taking the Bow Valley Parkway.  The views were breathtaking!

This is Castle Mountain

and Morant's curve.  Nicholas Morant in the mid-20th century took this picture as promotional material for the Canadian Pacific Railway and it has become an iconic image recognized around the world.

This is a monument to remember those who were sent here during World War I.

We arrived at Lake Louise.  There are colorful signs like this at the various entrances.

I snapped a picture of the Chateau Lake Louise.

We were lucky and found a parking place in the first parking lot making for a short walk to Lake Louise.

A panoramic view.

After spending some time around Lake Louise, our next stop was Lake Moraine.  The temperature here was 49 degrees with the wind blowing, so it made for a nippy visit.

We drove out to Kootenay National Park today.  The blue green water in the Kootenay River was beautiful.

You just don't get tired of the views.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Banff National Park

We left Waterton Lakes National Park on Friday, excited about our next destination, Banff National Park.  The day began sunny, but as we got closer to Banff the clouds turned black and there was intermittent rain.  As we approached the park we could only make out outlines of the mountains behind the clouds and fog. I'm sure it's a glorious view on a clear day, but it wasn't so much today.

As we reached the town, things began to clear up and we began looking for our campground.  We are staying at the Tunnel Mountain Campground inside the park.  We made our way up the mountain and checked in.  Here's our campsite, the motorhome is at the bottom left.  We have full hookups here too.

 After we set up, we went in to the town nestled among the mountains.  Last week was Canada's big three day weekend, similar to our Memorial Day, so this weekend which is Memorial Day weekend is not very crowded.

We have never been here before, but after talking to other people, parking places are pretty nonexistent in the summer.  We have been able to park at every attraction without any problems.

I have been playing around with my panoramic setting on my phone. Here's one at the overlook looking down on the Banff Springs Hotel.

A closer look at the Banff Springs Hotel.  It's been kind of funny,  our license plate has attracted quite a bit of attention.  Whenever we stop, almost always, someone comments about how far we are from home.  One man stopped and asked if we had driven all the way from Texas.  We said yes and he said I thought I had come a long way, I'm from Australia.  I told him I thought he had still come further than we had. :)

We headed to Bow Falls which is just on the other side of town by the golf course.  This is the whole view, the falls are on the left side of the picture.

Here's a closer look at Bow Falls.

There are so many gorgeous lakes around here.  This is Johnson Lake.

There are also hoodoos here.  We took a hike around the overlook.

There are more awesome views here.

We have noticed these red chairs all over the Canadian National Parks.  They are placed at viewpoints for people to stop and take some time to admire these wonderful settings.  This is a meadow overlooking Banff.

Here's a panoramic view from the top.

We have not been disappointed with the beauty of this place!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Waterton Lakes Cruise and Remington Carriage Museum

We woke up this morning to blue skies, a perfect day for a boat ride.  There is a 2 hour boat ride on Waterton Lake each day at 10:00 and 1:00.  We chose the 10:00 cruise as afternoon rains were forecasted.

As we left the dock, our first view of Prince of Wales Hotel from the water.

The views from the boat were pretty amazing.

We stopped for a moment in the water to observe the U.S./Canada border.  There are two markers at the edge

and a path up the mountain marking the border.

After crossing back into the United States we were told that in 1932 Waterton Lakes National Park was combined with Glacier National Park to form the world's first International Peace Park.

The boat usually stops for a short time for passengers to explore Goat Haunt,  the grassy area around the mountain below, but the U.S. rangers have not opened this area yet.  So, we just cruised by turning around for our journey back.

After the cruise, we headed home for lunch and then decided to make the 40km drive to Cardston to explore the

From their brochure: "The award-winning Remington Carriage Museum is the world's finest museum of horse-drawn whiles with over 250 carriages, coaches, buggies, wagons, sleighs and other specialized vehicles."

Don Remington began collecting horse drawn vehicles in 1954 when he restored a cutter to bring Santa Claus into Cranston for the town's Christmas celebration.  Consumed by his hobby, Don often used the early morning hours to restore carriage before going to work at his construction business.  Over 33 years he gathered a collection of 48 vehicles, donating them to the Province of Alberta in 1987.  The Province built the Remington Carriage Museum adding additional vehicles and it opened in 1993, showcasing one of the largest collections of horse drawn vehicles.

We watched a movie about horse drawn carriages and the transition to horseless carriage.  Afterwards, we met a docent for a 45 minute tour which I would definitely recommend.

This is caboose used to take children to school.  There is a stove inside and the driver can sit inside, look out the window to guide the horse outside drawing the sleigh.

This carriage belonged to Vanderbilt family in the United States, the museum was offered quite a bit of money for it by the Vanderbilt Museum, but the stipulations of Remington's will stated that none of his collection could be sold.

Vanderbilt insignia on bridal and carriage.

Here is a fashionable hearst with horses draped to creat a more stately appearance.

I was fascinated by this dump wagon.  Items would be hauled in the wagon and then the doors on the bottom would open to dump the load.

We were not expecting a lot here, but it was extremely informative and definitely worth a visit!