Today's tour guide: Gabby
(click on the images for enlarged views)
Tired of the sweltering heat, this summer's
family vacation took us all the way up north to the
spectacular Canadian Rockies, where it's a comfortable 50
to 60 degrees in June, the exchange rate is $1 US to
$1.50 CAD, and you can drive over 90 without getting a
ticket. Kilometers per hour, that is.
Ninety minutes from
Calgary, located in Banff National Park, the town of
Banff sits along the raging Bow River in the heart of the
Canadian Rockies. The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel,
nestled on a mountainside and styled after a Scottish
baronial castle, offers stunning vistas, a world-class
spa, and championship golf and skiing.
A comfortable 8 minute gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain
puts nature and snow enthusiasts in clear and safe view
of the grizzly bears, elk and bighorn sheep that make
their home in the spectacular alpine forests. Don't look
Finally reaching the top of Sulphur Mountain, we were
treated to the most spectacular view of Banff and the
surrounding mountains. Simply breathtaking! Sulphur
Mountain also contains naturally heated springs with an
outdoor heated pool.
Also located in
Banff National Park is the Chateau Lake Louise, situated
on the open side of the lake surrounded by glaciar
mountains. You can hike up a mountain trail or rent a
canoe for a lazy afternoon on the serene lake. In the
winter, there are ice sculptures on the lake and the
adventurous can climb frozen water falls.
About a half hour's drive from Lake Louise, up and then
down a winding mountain road, is Moraine Lake, in the
"Valley of 10 Peaks" (although I counted 12).
The best way to view this scenic spot is by hiking the
Rockpile Trail to the top of the large jumble of rocks at
the outlet of the lake. Our lovely little model couldn't
resist hamming it up for the camera and striking a pose.
The Great Divide runs across the tops of the jagged peaks
behind Moraine Lake. Stoney Indian names were originally
given to the 10 peaks by 19th century mountaineers. Until
recently this lake and the peaks in the valley were
featured on the back of Canada's $20.00 bill. You can
also stroll to the far end of the lake on the well-built
lakeshore trail, take a short walk to nearby Consolation
Lakes or go canoeing.
Banff is very proud
of its cultural heritage. In town, local museums keep the
rich history alive and specialty boutiques line the main
street. The Banff Park Museum is the oldest natural
history museum in Western Canada. The Whyte Museum
contains native exhibits, historical displays and