I am including several days accounts as we had very limited service in Canada. After Fort Steele we traveled through the Kooteny Provincial Park on our way to Lake Louise. We stopped at Radium Hot springs for a soak in the lovely southern portion of the park.
On our way north through the park we arrived at the Paint Pots where for many years the pigments in the soil were used to manufacture paint products. Barbara could not resist using the clown instincts in her to put on some face paint.
Our last stop was Marble Canyon. This canyon eroded through the limestone formations to a level so deep that in many places it was hard to see the bottom. At the end of the trail we were rewarded with a great view of a waterfall cascading into the canyon.
After a broken nights sleep due to the closeness of the main line of the Canadian Pacific railway we headed to one of the most beautiful Lakes in Canada, Lake Moraine. We hiked to the view point where so many have been inspired before us surrounded by high mountains and crisp cool air.
A short drive away we arrived at scenic Lake Louise site of the magnificent Fairmont Hotel. Just before noon we started our hike up to the Tea House nestled in the mountains on the far side of Lake Louise.
The hike up to the Tea House was a challenge for us. The total distance was 9 miles round trip with a gain in elevation of 1,200 feet.
We took our time and were rewarded with magnificent views of the glaciers and surrounding mountain peaks.
Once we arrived to the end of the trail we rested and enjoyed soup and desert at the famous upper Tea house nestled on a mountain slope surrounded by glaciers and the high Rocky Mountain peaks.
After a good night’s sleep with my ear plugs to avoid the sounds of the nearby passage of the Canadian Pacific freight trains we set out for a drive up the Ice Fields parkway to Jasper. We had done this drive 18 years ago on our honeymoon and anticipated the beauty we had lived so many years ago.
Our first stop was at Peyto Lake nestled in one of the two passes on the parkway. After a short hike we were rewarded with a great view of Peyto Lake surrounded by high peaks with glaciers all around. What a view.
From Peyto Lake we traveled north to Bridal Veil Falls near the second pass on the way to the Columbia Ice Fields where the famous Athabasca glacier is located.
At the Ice Fields visitor center more than half way to Jasper we took a walk out to the tip of Athabasca glacier. This time we could not walk on the glacier as a stream had formed at the tip of glacier and a lake under it made the glacier unstable.
We had been here before 18 years ago and were surprised to see how far the glacier had receded. This provided direct evidence of the effects of global warming.
At the end of the day we made our way to the Athabasca Falls wilderness hostel about 21 miles south of Jasper to spend the night. Rustic it was with no running water, pit toilets, no showers, no wireless service and coed dorms with bunk beds. I was surprised by the primitive aspect but did find several interesting guests with adventures of their own helping make the experience enjoyable.
The next day we took off early to take the tram ride up to a drop off station near the Peak of Whistler Mountain in Jasper. On the way we saw our first grizzly bear by the roadside. We were not able to slow down enough to take a picture of it unfortunately.
The Tram ride to Whistler Mountain is the longest and ascends to the highest level in elevation of any tram ride in Canada. The view from the top was fabulous with panoramic views of the mountains and the city of Jasper.
We hiked to the top of Whistler Mountain some 800 feet plus past the upper tram station. The hike was exhausting but the reward was well worth it. We slowly walked up the trail stopping along the way taking in the view of the surrounding mountains surrounded with snow covered peaks where the trees do not grow.
After our Whistler hike we set out for Maligne Canyon about 15 minutes north of Jasper. Maligne Canyon is the deepest slot canyon that we had seen in the Rockies with a beautiful waterfall cascading into it at the very beginning of it.
On the drive back to Jasper we stopped at Athabasca Falls and Peyto Lake near Peyto Lodge to reveal in the beauty of the exquisite landscape.
After spending one last night at Lake Louise Provincial Campground near the Bow River we drove the 30 miles on scenic bypass 1A to Banff. The day was beautiful and sunny making for a great experience. We stopped at Castle Mountain to take in the view of one of the most famous peaks in the park. A little further down the road we were treated to our first glimpse of two big horn sheep near the side of the road.
In Banff we toured the shops before walking down to the famous Banff Hotel along the banks of the Bow River.
After our tour of Banff we headed out to our campsite at Mountain View campground just west of Calgary to attend the stampede the next day.
From our campground at Mountain View we took the bus into Calgary to attend the first day of the Stampede. First up was the opening parade complete with an appearance of Prince William and Kate the royal newlyweds. We caught only a glimpse of them as they were confined in the back seat of a police cruiser.
The parade seemed to go on forever with many bands, horses of all kinds, floats and even one bull rider.
After the parade we meet our friend from home Terry Duffy in downtown Calgary. Terry had arranged to get us tickets to the Rodeo that afternoon and the stadium show that evening. We meet Terry at Lammles western wear and tack where he was busy promoting a very fine brand of boots made by Dan Post. We were lucky enough to meet up with the owners, Barry and Marie Lammle, who are a kind and lovely couple we meet earlier in this year in Florida as guests of Terry and Amy. Barry and Marie do a lot for their community and help sponsor the many events that place at the Stampede.
We stopped by the Indian village in the park and enjoyed the original native customs and tepees where the Indian families resided during the Stampede,
The rodeo was our first and of course it was the biggest of its kind anywhere. We saw bareback horse riding, competitive bull riding and chuck wagon racing. The night time show was fabulous complete with fireworks and high quality performances.
After leaving Calgary we made our way across the border to Great Falls, MT. We were happy to be back in the United States again although I must say there is no match to the beauty of the Canadian Rockies anywhere. The other fact that must be mentioned is that the greatest asset Canada has is its people. They are so kind and welcoming making our visit a truly enjoyable experience.
We set out from Great Falls, MT to make our way some 330 miles southeast to Sheridan, WY. Originally we planned to travel across northern Montana through Havre to North Dakota but decided a more southerly route would be a bit more scenic. On our way out of town we stopped to see Black Eagle Falls on the Missouri River one of the set of five falls in the area. Since the river is at one of its highest levels the view at Black Eagle was one of raging water and mist well beyond normal.
Just up the road from the falls we stopped at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center for a visit. We were treated to a first rate display of artifacts and history of the famous river expedition of 1805. An interpretive movie by Ken Burns helped explain and detail the heroic two year expedition that Lewis and Clark made to map out the Louisiana Purchase.
We finished the day by driving through Montana big sky country to the foot hills of The Little Big Horn Mountains to set up camp in Sheridan, WY.