Remembering Banff – Part 1

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.

Castle Mountain

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.

Cascade Mountain

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.

Bow Falls

Bow River

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.

Mount Rundle

Sulphur Mountain

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

The Cave


Inside the Museum


Old Pool

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.

Lake Minnewanka

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.

Lake Louise

Moraine Lake

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.

Advertisements

Birthday 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.

I hope I can comeback in Banff in the future.