This morning the sun was shining and there were no clouds in the sky. Perfect weather for going up mountains so we packed up a picnic and went out nice and early. It was quite a bit cooler today. 10 degrees at 9am so it was jacket weather but it was still pleasant. When we arrived at the Banff Gondola, which wasn’t far away, we were able to walk straight in instead of queueing for a ticket. We’d bought three-in-one tickets at the Columbia Icefields to save both money and time. There weren’t many people there yet and we were able to go straight on a gondola with no wait.
The cable cars and tramways we’ve been on up till now had been larger ones with a guide of some sort in with you. These were much smaller, with seats for four people and you were on your own. We had one to ourselves so we were able to look comfortably out of both sides as well as take photos out of the right hand side windows, which opened. The views were splendid, of course, but we did have a slight white knuckle moment when the gondola stopped for about thirty seconds about two-thirds of the way up. The ride took about eight minutes and we were soon at the top. Once there you can walk to the roof of the building and look all the way around.
I was fine up there as none of the building sticks out so I didn’t get wibbly. We could see a walkway going over to a peak which looked as if it would have even better views so we thought we’d go over there and see how far up there I could get before I wimped out.
I thought I did pretty well considering quite a lot of the walkway came under the category of balcony, in that there was nothing under it. I almost made it all the way to the top before I decided that I’d reached my limit. There were possibly twenty steps to go?
The views from the almost-top were amazing though. Not surprising as we were over 7000 ft high. We could see Lake Minnewanka over in the distance which is one of the places we’ll be visiting in the next couple of days. We could also see where Bow Falls was, and we planned to go there after lunch.
After walking round the top some more and sitting on a bench to enjoy the view for a while, we went back down. It had started to get busy up there by now so it looked as if we’d just timed it nicely. We had our picnic lunch at the bottom and took a few more photos of the gondolas and of the views of Banff.
Our next stop was Bow River Falls. We walked along the river for quite a distance. It was lovely there in the sun, even though it was starting to get quite breezy. The river was beautiful and the walkway was very well designed. There was a lovely wooden railing to stop you from going over the edge and steps to make it easier to go up and down as the pathway meandered round the side of the river, following the cliff up and then back down to the level of the river.
We stopped off at Cascade Gardens on our way into Banff. We didn’t spend much time there but we did have a little walk round to admire the flowers and some of the features there. It must be gorgeous in the spring and summer.
In Banff we had another walk down the main street as we fancied a coffee and a cake. We ended up in Starbucks and while Stephen just had a Cappuccino, I tried a Salted Caramel Mocha. It must be one of the new ones for Fall and it was very yummy. Usually I have the Spiced Pumpkin but I’m glad I tried the new one instead. I did have some Pumpkin loaf though, while Stephen had some Banana Chocolate Chip bread.
It was really getting windy now so we just popped into the camera shop to get the item we’d gone into Banff for. I’d swapped lens caps with Stephen as his didn’t have a tether on it. I wanted to get him a tether so I could have my own lens cap back as I’d started to use the big camera a bit more today. We managed that ok and then went back to the car as we’d planned to see if we could find any wildlife.
There’s a road that runs along Vermillion Lakes that’s very quiet and is good for spotting various wildlife, especially at the cooler ends of the day. We drove along there nice and slowly and were lucky enough to spot a male elk. He was some distance away but I still got a couple of shots of him.
The sky was getting quite interesting by this time so I got some nice photos of the mountains and the lake with the sky all moody in the background. I rather like them and may have a play around with them in Elements when we get home. This is one of them.
We stopped off in Safeway to pick up a hot chicken for dinner to have with a bit of potato salad and have had a relaxing evening. We’ve managed to find three episodes of Big Bang Theory on TV to watch. It seems to be on all the time, which is fine by us as we love it.
Tomorrow’s plans depend on the weather as the forecast keeps changing. We may go cruising on a lake, we may go for a drive or we may go up another mountain. Who knows…