Natural Wonders (Post#3) : Mount Chepren and Waterfowl Lake
When I visited Columbia Icefield in Jasper, Alberta which I considered one of the great places that I had ever been, I had an opportunity to see beautiful and amazing sceneries along Icefield Parkway. And one of the scenic views that I witness was mountains lined-up in both sides of the road. The snapshot above was Mount Chepren together with icy-crystal Waterfowl Lake which can been seen in Icefield Parkway still in Banff, Alberta area which I captured during my adventure tour in Canadian Rockies last May 2008. The name of the mountain was came from the 4th Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Chepren (or Khafra) according to Wikipedia.
The photo above is previously a hot spring pool that people used before but because of endangered species of Banff Spring Snail, it has been preserved since then for the benefit to preserve the said species. Banff Spring Snail is only to be found here in Cave and Basin National Park Historical Site located in town of Banff in Alberta Province of Canada. This national park is one of the great place to discover whether you are in Banff or just around the corner of Canadian Rocky Mountains. Photo captured last May 2008.
Panoramic View (Post#21) : Waterfowl Lake And Surrounding Mountains
When I visited Banff National Park it inspired me and awakens me that deep in my heart I love nature and specifically I love mountains. Banff for me was like a real paradise wherein every part of it were almost perfect with its natural beauty. Mountains together with the glacier and icy lakes made the surrounding so uniquely wonderful. The photo above was one of the pristine icy lakes that I found while passing Icefields Parkway which captured last May 2008.
I visited Banff in Alberta province in Canada during the time where the winter was over recently. At that time, the switching of Winter to Spring season were still in progress, I got a chance to see Lake Louise in Banff where majority of its water are still solid as ice. The name of the lake was named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta which was the 6th child and 4th daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. For what I know up to this moment, Queen Victoria still holds the title of the longest reigning queen of England unless the current queen which is Queen Elizabeth II able to break which she just need 2 or 3 more years to be able to hold the title. The middle in the photo is what they call Victoria Glacier. Photo captured last May 2008.
Panoramic View (Post#6) : Sulphur Mountain and Vermilion Lakes
Sulphur Mountain is just one of the beautiful mountains that can be found in Banff National Park which named after its hot spring on its lower slopes. Vermillion Lakes as per Wikipedia are series of Lakes formed in the Bow River valley, in the Banff National Park and at the foot of Mount Norquay. I had a chance to visit this place last May 2008 when I went in Edmonton at Alberta Province in Canada for work.
The photo above is Cascade Mountain Side View which captured while I was near in Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park last May 2008 when I got a chance to visit Canada in short period of time. I can’t forget this park as this awaken myself to one of the things that I really love since I was in college which is mountain. Every time I saw mountains, I always think how beautiful the mountain is and wondering whats on it to experience. I love climbing mountain but never had a chance to climb an alpine mountain as I live in tropical country and what we have are tropical mountains.
If you read my second blog about Banff, now I am going to cite the story about my third and last day tour in Banff. I had been so excited for the past two days of my tour in Banff, but the excitement that I have still not perished in my last day tour. The main reason why I am still excited, I am going to Columbia Icefield in Jasper.
Ice and snow are the things that are not familiar to me because I am living in a tropical country. And I have been dreaming to experience snow or walk in ice.
Before we went to Columbia Icefield, there were other interesting places we visit. While traveling along Icefield Parkway (or Highway 93) – a highway road that you can see both Banff and Jasper National Park, I am stunned because of the rocky mountains in each side of the road. Because of the scenic view I saw, I became a rocky mountain lover. While inside the tourist bus, I took a lot of pictures of rocky mountains and I can say that I shot my digital camera to all mountains that my eyes can see. I cannot stop myself to admire those rocky mountains.
rocky mountains from Icefield Parkway
While on the road, we saw Crowfoot Glacier and I had been lucky because I captured a picture of it while inside the bus. Then, we stop over in Jimmy’s place. Before, I thought that was the real name of the lodge until I found out that it is the famous Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. in Icefield Parkway. The lodge was founded by Jimmy Simpson and it is located near in beautiful Bow Lake where you can see both Bow Glacier and Crowfoot Mountain. We had our hot chocolate inside the Num-Ti-Jah lodge and because of it we had a chance to view some of the arts and crafts created by Jimmy Simpson. We were also informed that the lodge was built by Jimmy with his own bare hands (based on history – he has no knowledge about building house and architecture) and that was really amazing. I also found out that the lodge will be probably become part of Canadian National Historic Site.
Icy Bow Lake
One of the rocky mountain
Inside the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge
After Num-Ti-Jah lodge, we traveled again. We stop at the side of the road and after I got myself out in the bus I was surprised because of panoramic view of Mount Chepren and Waterfowl Lake. Mount Chepren has its own distinct shapes compared to other rocky mountains and the Waterfowl Lake adds beauty to the mountain. Waterfowl lake is amazing too, I saw most part of it as icy water (same like Lake Louise and Moraine Lake).
Mount Chepren and Waterfowl Lake from Icefield Parkway
Waterfowl Lake (with rocky mountains)
The next place we stop was where we had our lunch – the place was near in Saskatchewan River Crossing. We had our table where we were freely enjoyed the great view of North Saskatchewan River. I am wondering why it was called Saskatchewan River Crossing and I just found out from our guide that this great Canadian Heritage River is crossing other river such as Howse River and Mistaya River (but I never got a chance to see the other two rivers). While writing this blog, I remembered North Saskatchewan River is also the same river that I had chance to cruise in Edmonton (what a great surprise!!!).
North Saskatchewan River
After lunch we went back to the bus and started to travel again. And the moment I have been waiting for had arrived, we were in Columbia Icefield Centre. After the bus came into halt, I picked my winter jacket, my gloves and my bonnet hat, then I went outside the bus and of course I looked around and I took pictures as much as I can. We waited for our tourist guide to park our minibus. Then, he led us to the bus driver that will send us to the area where we can transfer and ride an ice explorer. Ice explorer is big wheel vehicle that was made for ice exploration at the top of the glacier. When I saw the ice explorer or the snow coach vehicle, I am surprised because it is so huge, I remember that the wheel is almost the same of my height. And another surprise is that the vehicle can carry a lot of people. After I got myself onboard in the ice explorer, I got my digital cam on and I both took videos and pictures while on our way to the top of Athabasca Glacier. Ice exploration was one of the great memories I had in Jasper and Banff National Park. I am not fully aware how is the feeling while walking at the top of the glacier. Speaking of Athabasca Glacier, I have information that this is the friendliest glacier that people can take to be able to go to the Columbia Icefield. Some glaciers are meant for the adventure extremist but Athabasca Glacier are meant for all type of people. Few minutes passed, we arrived in the top of Athabasca Glacier. The feeling was so great after I got out the ice explorer. There are lots of people at the top of the glacier . I saw different kind of people such as children, young, adult and old ones, all were enjoying the scenery. And my dream came into reality, I was able to walk in the ice that really thrilled me. And I am so glad because of the thought that I was near in the middle of the Columbia Icefield through Althasbasca Glacier. Walking in the icefield was exciting, fun and scary but I had a great time. Some people got fall in the icefield ground because some part of it is slippery due to solid ice, but even that was the case, people were all enjoying. I chose the part of the icefield with snow, then I tried to picked some snow and I made snow ball. After I did that I felt that my hands got numb (because of it, now I understand the feeling in a cold place like glacier). The experience was worthy and I enjoyed Columbia Icefield ice exploration.
One of the astonishing and surprising place that I had a chance to visit in Canada is Banff. Banff is one of the municipality in Alberta which located within National Park. From my previous blog, I described my first day in Banff and introduced all the places that I had been. Right now, I am remembering my second day in Banff together with all the places I had a chance to see.While traveling around Banff National Park, I cannot deny that I love mountains around this park. Names of the mountain has its own reasons while they call them as that. For example, Castle Mountain, anyone will immediately understand after seeing this mountain and heard its name why it was called as Castle Mountain, the reason is, mountain looks like a castle.
There is Cascade Mountain which can be easily found along Banff Avenue. I thought at first that this mountain is located at the end of Banff Avenue but it is not. Its peak is really fantastic. Seeing this mountain and some snow on its top overwhelm me. The picture I have for Cascade mountain also portrayed that Banff Avenue seems to be busy during spring season and there were lots of tourist coming by to visit Banff.
First destination – the Bow Falls and the Bow River which located at the bottom of Fairmont Banff Spring Hotel. I both admired the Bow Falls and Bow River after we drove and stopped over at the River Avenue.
Then, we ascended to Tunnel Mountain and stopped at lookout view-point in Buffalo Street, from there, we were able to glimpsed the famous Fairmont Banff Spring Hotel that looks like a castle in the middle of the valley.
Fairmont Banff Spring Hotel
Next, we turned around and followed the path of Tunnel Mountain Road where we found Hoodoos at the bottom of the road and above the Bow River. We had also got a chance to view Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain on a different angle from Tunnel Mountain Road and I cannot deny to myself that I am still surprised on the scenery that I saw. I also found out that Tunnel Mountain near in Banff town site is a mountain in the middle of the Bow Valley.
We paid visit to Cave and Basin, a historic place that is being preserve and now a tourist spot. Cave and Basin are famous of its stinky hot spring which located inside the cave. The reason it is stinky, because of the stinky smell of sulphur within the hot spring. Right now, no one is using the hot spring because there is an endangered species living in the hot spring, they call it as Banff Spring Snail, a snail that can be only found in Cave and Basin. Cave and Basin also displays historic stuff in a museum and it has a movie house that shows history or documentary films. We also found an empty pool – based on history, it was a swimming pool to heal sick people.
Cave and Basin Historic Site
Inside the Museum
After Cave and Basin, we went to Lake Minnewanka. I had to admit that the panoramic view of this lake really astounded me. I never expected a lake with its beautiful color. The water is so clear at the side of the lake and has a light blue color in the middle. My heart is really fulfilled with happiness after I saw this lake.
We also tried to visit another two lakes: Moraine Lake and Lake Louise. While on our way to Moraine Lake, we thought that the lake was still closed but we were lucky that it was open and we were able to see Moraine Lake. Next, we stop over in Lake Louise. There were many people in the lake. Lake Louise is bigger than Lake Moraine and I cannot compare its beauty to Moraine Lake because the two lakes are well-known of its fascinating lake views. And I think whatever the season, they are both stunning. When I paid visit to the two lakes, both of them has still icy water due to winter just recently over but, I still found them as wonderful as it can be. Another note, Lake Louise was named after Princess Louise, one of the daughter of Queen Victoria.
Last destination in my second day tour, we went up to Mount Norquay, one of the famous mountain that is popular in skiing activities. From Mount Norquay, we were able to see the Bow Valley as a whole. We saw Banff town site in another perspective, same with Tunnel Mountain, Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain.
Banff View from Mount Norquay
I really feel like the nature is very close to me while I am at Banff.
For the past years, I celebrated my birthday usually with my family and close friends. Previous celebration was held with simple party. What am I trying to say here? The fact is, my birthday is being celebrated with people. I commonly received birthday greetings and gifts from dear friends. But this year, it was different.
Why I said it was different? First, I am out of the country. It means that those people who used to know my birthday was not with me this time. Second, most of them will not be able to contact me because I never gave my number to them (except to my family, my boss and some colleagues). Third, I never mentioned or probably the right word is “reminded” them that my birthday is almost coming or happening in Canada.
But, even this is the case, I have plans. My birthday will be happening in a different country which is totally a different place from what I used to be, I just thought that I have to celebrate it in an extraordinary way.
I was in Canada that time for training purposes and since I have this eagerness to see some places in this country, I planned to go out and see it. I went to Banff, Alberta (I am not sure who might reading this might say, you wanted to see “Canadian Rockies”). But to be honest, I just have this little idea what will I expected to see in that place. All I am expecting is to see beautiful places that are totally different of what I used to see.
Friday – May 16 (I went to work that day – because I have to), but I went home early because my bus schedule to Banff was 6:30 PM. I rode Greyhound bus (and I am very lucky because the bus station was just near the place where I stayed in Edmonton). Total travel time was five hours and there will be two station where the bus will stop: Red Deer and Calgary.
Since I am traveling to Banff alone and no one was with me and I am not familiar with the place, there was incident that I thought that Red Deer was Calgary. I am not listening to the bus driver when he mentioned that we were in Red Deer. One of the passenger just told me we were at Red Deer. From time to time I have been sleeping during my travel from Edmonton to Calgary. I arrived in Calgary around 10:30 PM. The next bus to Banff was 11:30 PM. The Calgary station was in Calgary downtown, I went outside the bus station and looked around the place. I saw the Calgary Downtown that night. It was pretty much similar with Edmonton Downtown. I never able to capture pictures because I am quite shy to the people passing on me. What I did was I remember as much as I can what Calgary Downtown look like that night.
11:00 PM, I went back to the bus station and waited until 11:30 PM (I am surprised because the bus that will be going to Banff will go to Vancouver too (during that time I wish I can go to Vancouver). Another thing, our bus driver was a woman who was surprising for me.
Few minutes after we left Calgary station, the bus got some technical problems and the driver decided that we need to go back to the station where we came from. It was the best decision she can made, and she told us that her most important responsibility was her passengers safety (which was great but I am kind of bit worried because I am supposed to be at my hotel in Banff at 1 AM – May 17, my birthday), we went back to the station and transferred to another bus.
I arrived at Banff station at 2:30 AM and no one was around. I am thankful that my boss in Canada gave me a mobile phone temporarily. I able to call a cab in Banff and the cab picked me up in the Banff station. I am at the front of hotel where I made my reservation and to my surprise they are telling me to go to another hotel, this made me confused and made me worried because it was almost 3AM in the middle of the morning and I am still outside of hotel in a place which I visited first time in my life and I am alone. I went to Ptarmigann Inn and talked to the hotel clerk, and told them that I had been instructed to go there. The friendly old men accommodated me and explained to me that I will check-in in Ptarmigann because the hotel that I made my reservation was full. I did not object anymore and I am thankful that I can go to my room and rest before my day will start.
3:30 AM, I went to bed and slept for four hours.
I woke up at 7:30 AM and prepared myself. The tourist bus picked me up at the hotel at 9 AM. I met Kevin, the tourist guide. Since I never had my dinner before I went to Banff, I am really hungry and requested Kevin if I can still order my breakfast. He agreed to me and he will be back to me after picking up the other tourist.
Around 9:30 AM, we were on our way to Banff National Park. First stop Johnston Canyon. I wondered that time, what we were suppose to be doing in a canyon. Kevin told us that we were going to hike in a canyon.
During the hike, I found out that Johnston Canyon has a very amiable trail. And I like Johnston Creek too because there were still ice at the side of the creek. There were three falls that we found while hiking the canyon. They called it the Lower Falls, first falls that we saw, then unnamed falls, but I call it Middle Falls since it’s between Lower and Upper Falls. The last falls was simply the Upper Falls. During the hike, Kevin talked about the Canyon (and I cannot remember it now). I prepared the hiking activities that was why I brought lots of bottled water and because of this my bag was heavy. During the hike I was accidentally fall while trekking the trail with solid ice at the ground and I was glad that not so much people around that time when it happened to me, even Kevin did not notice it. I enjoyed watching the creek and listening to the sounds of the water flowing into the creek. I like the mist of cold weather in the canyon. I also went to the small passage which similar to a cave passage so that I will be able to see up close and personal the Lower Falls. Then, we continued our hike. We saw the unnamed falls and for me its perfect too. Then we walked upward until we found the Upper Falls. The surrounding of Upper Falls were still ice. And I am thinking that this fall is more beautiful during summer season. After taking pictures around that falls, we descended the canyon. We were at the ground again past 12 PM.
Next, we move to Pilot Mountain lookout which just near the canyon since it was along the Bow Valley Parkway. We drove to the place and had a short walk up to the lookout view-point, I was really amazed in the view of Pilot Pond just near the Pilot Mountain ground. It has dark green color at the middle and light green color at the side. Pilot Mountain is one of the mountain that can be easily recognize due to its shape. Its distinct compare with other Mountains in Banff National Park. This was the mountain that I been looking after when we went out the Banff town site while on our way to Johnston Canyon.
After the tour in the morning till afternoon, I went home and had a short rest at the hotel. Then, at night I went for wildlife safari, I am somewhat curious what animals looks like in Canada. First, we went to Mount Norquay (for what I know this mountain is famous for skiing and other winter related activities). We went there hoping we could see some animals around the place. While on our way to the top, we found Mountain Goad Kid and while moving around we found deer. We stop in a lookout view-point in Mount Norquay wherein we can see the whole Banff town site and the valley itself.
Next, we move to the Vermilion Lake hoping we can find some animals and we were lucky to find some birds near in the lake. Even though we never saw a lots of animals, I enjoy looking around the Banff National Park. I saw Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain while we were enjoying the awesome view of Vermilion Lake. I really enjoyed all the places we visited, I never regret that I decided to visit Banff during my birthday.