ALASKA BLOG 02

Wednesday July 13, 2016

If you tried to design a place with scenery that would forever knock your socks off, it would probably look a lot like Banff and its surrounding Banff National Park. Everywhere you turn there are thumping great mountains, fast-flowing rivers, tumbling icy glaciers, and dazzling turquoise lakes. Yes, New Zealand’s got this stuff too, but here in the Canadian Rockies, the scale is so much greater, grander and oversized … with ooh-aah moments around every corner.

On Monday, after driving from Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway, we tasted the scenic delights of this charming resort town – like Bow Falls, the Hoodoo Lookout, Lake Minnewanka, Surprise Corner, a tasty feed at the ‘Maple Leaf Grill’, and a relaxing sleep-inducing soak (for those who were up for it) in the heated whirlpool at our Banff hotel!

Then, yesterday, a super-treat awaited us at the nearby Columbia Icefield, one of the largest accumulations of chilly white/blue ice south of the Arctic. En route we visited Lake Louise – the ‘Jewel of the Rockies’, with its stunning mountain-and-snow backdrop, and gorgeous even under cloudy, rain-threatening skies. Then we motored further north via one of the most spectacular mountain routes in North America, alongside towering peaks, tranquil lakes and cascading waterfalls.

We grabbed seats aboard a specially designed ‘Snow-Coach’ for a very steep downhill drive onto the massive Athabasca Glacier … a walk-round on its vast slip-sliding surface … and a drink of pure, freezing-cold glacial water. A true Ice Age adventure!

Earlier in the day, we interrupted an agitated ground-squirrel. And on our way back to Banff/dinner/plus shut-eye, we spotted a healthy-looking black bear, foraging in the bushes for tasty ‘buffalo-berries’.

STILL TO COME: A two-day ride on the luxury Rocky Mountaineer from Banff, up into the spectacular Canadian Rockies, then all the way to the west coast of Canada and Alaska. Stay tuned …

PEOPLE-NEWS: Another quacky Yellow Duck has found a new home …

  • Margaret (Taylor) won our ‘Knock Three Times’ Award – for tap-tap-tapping on the wrong door late last night in search (she says) of tea-bags. Yeah, right!

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

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