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This has got to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. I've waited so long to get here.
We were up around 7 am; it was finally starting to dry out. We knew we only had about 40 km (25 miles) to drive, so we took our time with breakfast and breaking camp.
By 11 am we were hooked up and on our way to the dump station near the park entrance. At 11:45 we entered the main gate of Banff, where I had some unexpected sticker shock. The entrance fee for Canada National Parks is $19.60 PER DAY. I had mistakenly assumed that the Canadian parks would be like the ones in the US-one fee that would cover 7 or 14 days. They sell a season pass for about $135, and since that would be cheaper than paying daily for the 2 weeks we're in Banff and Jasper, that's what we got.
It was only about 5 miles to the town of Banff and the Tunnel Mountain Campground complex. We are in the trailer court, where we have full hookups. But what's even better is the view.
We're on the second row from the "front," giving us a pretty commanding view of Mount Rundle and the Bow River Valley. Above, Don's cooking burgers and toasting the view.
We drove into Banff the back way down Tunnel Mountain, where I took a couple pics from a viewpoint over the town:
After a visit to Starbuck's to get some coffee, we drove out to the Lake Minnewanka Loop to check out possible fishing spots.
This is Lake Minnewanka from its dam. There's really no place here for Don to launch his float tube.
This bighorn sheep ewe was relaxing right next to the parking lot.
These are the Palliser Mountains above Lake Minnewanka. We drove on to Two Jack Lake, but didn't stop. After that we turned off the loop and went to Johnson Lake.
Near Johnson Lake is a sign indicating that this is the Fairholme Range, "an environmentally sensitive site." We are encouraged to NOT enter the area in order that damage from years of human use and overuse can be mitigated. I imagine that it must have been frequented by backpackers for many years and they're now encouraged to go elsewhere.
Cataract Falls, on the side of Cataract Mountain just a mile from our campground.
The last spot we checked out was the Cascade Ponds, which were nicely set in a park with picnic tables. He might try the ponds
out later this week.
After dinner Don and I walked over to the edge of the campground where the walls of the canyon drop away for hundreds of feet down to the Bow River. This is Tunnel Mountain on the right. Back in the 1800s when engineers were looking for the routes for the railroad, they thought that this mountain blocked the way. Plans were made to blast a tunnel through the mountain. Even though the tunnel was never built (they found a way for the tracks about a mile north), the mountain is still called Tunnel Mountain.
This photo is taken from the same place as the one before; I just turned and faced to the left instead of the right.
Tomorrow: Lake Louise
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