Banff – Bow Falls

Banff, Bow Falls

Banff, Bow Falls

Continuing our western Canada road trip, we spent one night in Banff, Alberta – the developed service centre for Banff National Park –  before continuing our westward journey to British Columbia and the Pacific coast.

The Bow River tumbles over a falls within the town, and so, since we saw the river’s origin below Bow Glacier, it seemed apt to check out how big the flow had grown. You can walk up a path – which you can just see on the left of the first photo – and some steep stairs to look over the falls.

I'm forever chasing rainbows....

I’m forever chasing rainbows….

Turning and looking it the other direction gives you an idea of the town’s beautiful setting.

Banff, Bow Falls

I didn’t take any pictures in Banff that evening. The following morning we had breakfast in the the Juniper (Hotel and) Bistro with its beautiful view of the Vermillion Lakes. It was too cold outside to eat, but not too cold to grab a shot from the patio.

Vermillion Lake from the patio of the Juniper Hotel and Bistro.

Vermillion Lake from the patio of the Juniper Hotel and Bistro.

Since we had not booked ahead I was pleased to get a room at the price we did.  Someone had recommended this hotel, which is just off the Trans Canada Highway and north of the town.

Red Canoes and Turquoise Water

Banff, Lake Louise

Lake Louise, Banff National Park

I confess: the red canoes were my favourite photographic part of the whole trip through the Rockies. As I’ve said before, this wasn’t a trip to take pictures but rather to see the Rockies slowly, by car.  If I got some photo time, that was a bonus.

Banff, Lake Louise

Looking towards the head of Lake Louise.

Banff, Lake Louise

Banff National Park:  Lake Louise, looking across the lake.

Banff, Lake Louise

Still too cold at the beginning of May.

Banff, Lake Louise

26, 40, 24…23.

Banff, Lake Louise

Red Canoes, Turquoise Water.

Lake Louise, The Mountains.

Banff, Lake Louise

Banff, Lake Louise

As we walked around Lake Louise, there were majestic views of the surrounding mountains offset by the startling blue-green of the lake itself. Perhaps because it was a cloudy day, I was more aware of the danger and oppressiveness of the mountains. At the base of the mountain in all three of these first photos, you can see the results of a landslide, which must have created an immense wave as it fell into the lake below.

Banff, Lake Louise

Banff, Lake Louise

Banff, Lake Louise

Banff, Lake Louise

The photo below was taken when 3/4 of the way around the lake, looking up towards the snow-covered mountains and the glacier at the head of the lake.

A glimpse of the glacier at the head of Lake Louise.

A glimpse of the glacier at the head of Lake Louise.

And finally, a shot from the hotel looking towards the not-yet-open-for-the-season canoe rental and mountains enclosed in snow clouds.

Banff National Park, Lake Louise

Banff National Park, Lake Louise

More canoe shots in the next post!

Lake Louise, Hotel and Climbers

Fairmount Hotel, Lake Louise, Alberta

Fairmount Hotel, Lake Louise, Alberta

Lake Louise is one of the most iconic locations within Banff National Park. At one end of the lake is the expensive Fairmount Chateau Lake Louise hotel and at the other, though high above the level of the lake, a glacier. Most photos that you will have seen are from the far end of the lake looking back towards the hotel which once had a more fairytale-Alpen facade, or from high on the mountain behind the hotel looking across the lake.

We didn’t climb the mountain, but we did walk along one side of the lake to the far shore and back. These first three photos all incorporate the hotel. Other views in subsequent posts.

Banff National Park: Lake Louise and the hotel.

Banff National Park: Lake Louise and the hotel.

Banff, Lake Louise, in Black and White

Banff, Lake Louise, in Black and White

At the business end of Lake Louise are a number of memorial tributes to famous and unfortunate climbers who were attracted to this area at the end of the 19th Century and in the first decades of the 20th Century.

Philip S Abbott, who fell to his death in 1895

Philip S Abbott, who fell to his death in 1895

Tribute to Georgia Cromwell at Lake Louise

Tribute to Georgia Cromwell at Lake Louise

Bow Lake and Glacier

Bow Lake Alberta in black and White

Bow Lake Alberta in black and white

Bow Lake Alberta in its natural muted colour. The glacier is in the distance at the head of the lake.

Bow Lake Alberta in its natural muted colour. The glacier is in the distance at the head of the lake.

Just a few minutes south of Mistaya Falls on the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park is Bow Lake, which is fed by Bow Glacier. Bow Glacier, like all glaciers, is receding as the world warms. On this day in May there was still ice on the lake.

Ice in Bow Lake, Icefields Parkway, Alberta

Ice in Bow Lake, Icefields Parkway, Alberta

A few tourist buses had pulled up and a few people were taking photos, but it was cold, and most tourists seemed to be anxious to get back on the bus!

Bow Lake Alberta

Tourist outlook – Bow Lake Alberta

Bow Lake Alberta - Looking south

Bow Lake Alberta – Looking south

And finally, a rarity for me, a selfie, with an entirely out-of-place baseball cap.

Bow Lake Alberta. A rare selfie.

Bow Lake Alberta. A rare selfie.

All photos shot with an iPhone 6 and only slightly edited in Lightroom.

Mistaya Canyon

Mistaya River in light snow

Mistaya River in light snow

Our hosts told us to visit Mistaya Canyon on our way to Banff and a hiker coming back out of the canyon as we arrived, confirmed that it was well worth the steep downhill path and the (equally steep!) trek back up.

We had also been told to visit Peyto lake, which is an amazing colour of azure, and the source of the Mistaya River. The road into Peyto Lake was not marked, so it was probably not yet open for the season.

Read all about it! The forces of falling water.

Read all about it! The forces of falling water.

Juniper berries

Juniper berries

Mistaya River and rapids

Mistaya River and rapids

North Saskatchewan River

Food stop in Jasper National Park near Mount Kerkeslin and Mount Coleman

Food stop in Jasper National Park near Mount Kerkeslin and Mount Coleman

After Horseshoe Lake in Jasper National Park we visited Jasper, the town, where we had a snack and picked up a sandwich to eat on the way home.

We stopped to eat that sandwich along the North Saskatchewan River (which is in the province of Alberta, not the province of Saskatchewan!)  The River begins in the Columbia Icefield, flows south next to the Icefields Parkway before heading east at Saskatchewan Crossing. It then flows across northern Alberta and much of northern Saskatchewan (the province) before flowing into the Saskatchewan River. We may at this point have been in Banff National Park, rather than in Jasper National Park, but I never did see a boundary sign between the two parks.

An island in the North Saskatchewan River

An island in the North Saskatchewan River

In keeping with the advice that you should turn around and see what there is to photograph in the direction away from your primary interest, I got these shots of Mount Coleman and Mount Kerkeslin (2956 meters, said the sign.)

Mount Coleman is thattaway

Mount Coleman is thattaway

Mount Kerkeslin

Mount Kerkeslin

Next week we explore along the David Thompson Highway.