Banff and a glacier
Banff Travel Blog› entry 80 of 96 › view all entries
I was hoping for a view of the mountains gradually getting larger as I headed out of Calgary on the road to Banff, but unfortunately the weather wasn't doing me any favours. So rather than a gradual introduction to the mountains, they crept up on me and then all of a sudden BANFF! I was in the mountains.
I found tunnel mountain campsite and set-up, then drove into Banff town centre to get some bear spray and see the nightlife. Nightlife is great if you are in a group of more than 1, unfortunately my numbers were depleted that evening, but I went to a bar anyway just to see. I found a fantastic pub selling its own micro-brewed beer, and sampled their wares. I also got speaking to a guy about the effectiveness of bear-spray.
The next morning I headed over to Banff Gondola, paid the exorbitant fee and rode the gondola up to the pavilion on Sulphur mountain. I wandered around the board walks to the cosmic ray station at Sanson's peak. Sanson was the local meteorologist and museum curator in Banff, he would hike to the top of Sulphur mountain every week or so (2,451m) and take weather measurements. He had a stone shack at the top to house the equipment and stay overnight in. Recently the stone hut has become a historical site and the cosmic ray station has moved away from the peak.
Back to the campsite for lunch, and then onto the tunnel mountain lookout. I had been warned against hiking alone in the mountains, as two cougars had been spotted recently, and one had followed a hiker.
Wanna go stand on a glacier?
The next day we jumped in the car and drove a few hours up towards Jasper, stopping briefly at Lake Louise to check directions, and finally on to the Columbia ice field. We stopped at the toes of the glacier and hiked up until we met a barrier with countless signs saying 'turn back – here be dragons' and 'abandon hope all ye who enter here'.
We drank the glacier melt water, and walked around for our allotted 20 minutes. I wouldn't have wanted any longer, because in that time I became totally soaked through from the rain.
We drove back and enjoyed the hot springs in Banff, 39 degrees, $7 ish and worth every penny. It was fantastic. We lazed about in the pool which was open air and has a great view of the mountains, then when we were suitably prune-like we headed back to the campsite for a fire.