This morning we woke to find low cloud cover over the mountains, although it was still dry outside. The forecast was for an overcast day, cold but with no rain. Given that, we decided to do our lake cruise today so we went for the short drive up to Lake Minnewanka. It’s the largest lake in Banff and is extremely beautiful, even on a not so sunny day like today.
We already had our tickets from that three-in-one deal so we just had to show them to register for the next boat. Our guide on this cruise was excellent and spent some time explaining why the mountains were the shape they were, and talking about the wildlife. Then he came and had a chat with us all individually. He spent a while asking us about our Alaskan cruise and asking what we thought of what we’d seen of Canada. He was really friendly and great to chat to, but we’ve found that a lot here. People are so laid back.
We had a bit of a drive round after the cruise, taking in Two Jacks Lake and Johnson Lake, and then popped back to our hotel to warm up and have lunch. We relaxed for a while and then went back out. We drove up to Surprise Corner which is where you get the best view of The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. I just wanted to get a couple of photos of it as it’s rather nice. While we were up there I took some shots of the mountains as the clouds were looking lovely again, especially as it was just coming up to sunset.
From there we drove down into Banff as the chocolate shop was calling so we picked up a few nibbles and had a little wander round the shops. Then we headed back out to Vermillion lakes and spent a while looking for wildlife again. I took a few odd photos of the scenery, especially as the clouds were looking nice and moody again but we hadn’t spotted any animals other than the odd squirrel and chipmunk.
We were just coming to the turn off to the main road when we saw movement in the trees. We stopped and watched and realised that it was a female elk, and then we saw that she’d got a calf with her. We could just see them moving through the trees but then they moved out of the trees and started walking away from us along the grass beside the road. Stephen followed at a distance in the car. The rules here are that if you see wildlife, you stay in the car. They don’t want the animals getting used to people. And if you’re on foot, you keep your distance, for your own safety.
I did get some photos but they’re not very good at all. But then considering they were taken one-handed out of the window of a moving car, of animals that were moving along at a fair pace, what do you expect? I’m just chuffed to bits that we actually saw them, which was the point of being there.
On the way back we popped into Safeway to pick up some stuffed potatoes that we’d spotted on their deli. We thought they’d go nicely with the remainder of our chicken and we fancied something hot tonight. We topped up our picnic supplies and found some Dill pickle flavoured pringles. Cool!
We have to go over a level crossing to get back to our hotel from Safeway and so far we’ve been able to just go straight over it, but tonight we had to wait while a train went past. The trains here are long. This one was a monster and we had to wait ages. We’ve seen these huge trains from a distance as we’ve been on our long journeys, as we’ve been following the railway lines as well as the rivers, but we’ve never been so close to one. Stephen was quite interested. He likes things like that.
We enjoyed our chicken and stuffed spuds for dinner, and I’m just about to have another slice of that peach pie. It’s lasting well and it’s very nice indeed. I may have some chocolate afterwards too. All this fresh air gives you an appetite.
We may go to Lake Louise tomorrow if the weather looks ok.