Digging Canada’s National Parks

Banff National Park, Canada 

June 25, 2019

After arrival at Banff National Park and the Tunnel Mountain Campground, we ate dinner and at about 8 pm B and I took off for a walk up the Hoo Doo Trail. For our horticulture pals, I took photos of flowers along the way. The hoodoos will one day be eroded away as they’ve lost their protective tops. Watch the mountain. We started walking at about 7:45 and ended our walk after 10 pm – in the light. The sunset shot light to the tops of the Rockies.

With the group we discovered Lake Louise, Lake Moraine, the Summer Gondola/chair lift and Banff’s Bow Falls. Words (almost) fail me here. 

Lakes Louise and Moraine are glacial and so sport a shade of turquoise that could have come from an early mine in Arizona or New Mexico. Clear, pure, thousands of years old water filled with gazillions of ancient ground rock particles that reflect the slightest light to GLOW. The blue is unearthly against the grays, blacks, silvers and deep greens that surround the lakes. 

From the Lake Louise Summer Gondola we ride the ski lift from four to six thousand feet. There, miles away Lake Louise radiates blue-green light in her nest of dark trees, gray scarp &, talus slopes. Though clouds cast dramatic shadows the sun brightens just as many swaths of hill and mountainside. 

June 26

Today is a fine and ‘free’ day – that means no formal planned activities for the group. Barb planned and led a bird / elk / bear spotting walk. 

We found the small, untidy Three-Toed Woodpecker in a tree right beside the trail at about 8’. This bird rammed her beak into the edges of scaly pine bark, ripping off the scales and feeding madly enough that it didn’t seem to notice us (a group of 8). 

Two galls went back to camp and on the way spotted a bear – texting us to let us know. 

The remainder of the group opted to forge ahead and found a small herd of Elk – with mom’s and babies – the young bull had a beautiful set of velvety antlers. We observed many trees with bark scraped off by the itchy antler set. 

We also photographed three types of scat, some pika, a red ground squirrel and more mountain views. 

There’s a farmer’a market today (Wed.) in Banff so several of us drove in to town for it and for a loosely organized LEO (let’s eat out) at a local pub. The farmers market had great offerings of British Columbia (BC) and Alberta produce – I stocked up on organic yellow patty pan, a russet tater and some local cherries. There was also a Mead stand and I bought a couple of fine artisan mead offerings. Down the aisle were two distilleries so, naturally I had to stop and smell the… junipers. Lovely local Gins – great tastes but pricy for my CA$ so I tasted and walked on. 

The brews and food were roundly praised by our table of 12 – great dinner getting to know another couple and their meeting and love story. My element for sure (as a Systems oriented MFT). Both Barb and I are reveling, we are in our community! Grateful for the gift of being unguarded and accepted. 

Tomorrow we head to Columbia Ice Fields.