July 21-22, 2013, Banff and Jasper National Parks (continued)

Sunday we drove into the town of Banff.  South of Lake Louise we saw a grizzly bear walking along the fence on the opposite side of the highway.  The highway between Lake Louise and Banff is a divided 4 lane road and is very busy so, unfortunately, we were not able to stop to get a picture.  We got to add another bear sighting to our list – that now makes six.  In Banff we rode the Banff Gondola – an 8 minute ride to the summit of Sulphur Mountain.  The gondola climbs 2,293 feet to an elevation of 7,486 ft at the upper terminal.

When we reached the upper terminal Rex and Nancy took the summit walk, a 1 km boardwalk along the summit ridge to the Cosmic Ray National Historic Site of Canada and the Sanson’s Peak Meteorological Station.  At the summit is a stone hut that was an historical weather observatory built in 1903.  Below the observatory is a large concrete platform – all that remains of the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station.  The cosmic ray station was completed by the National Research Council in 1956, for the International Geophysical Year (1957-58) an undertaking involving 66 countries and a dozen scientific disciplines.  The study of cosmic rays held a prominent place, with 88 cosmic ray stations in operation worldwide during the International Geophysical Year.  In 1960 The University of Alberta at Calgary took over the station, which was closed in 1978 and the building dismantled in 1981.

From the top the views were beautiful.

Here we are looking down at the town of Banff with Minnewanka Lake in the background.

We thought this view of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel with the Bow River behind it was great.

Mariah stayed at the Upper Terminal and got on-line so she could catch up with her mom & dad and friends.  We do not have internet access at our campground.  We all ate lunch in the Summit Café while enjoying the great views.  After looking in the gift shop we rode the gondola back down.

We drove across town to Lake Minnewanka where we took a one hour interpretative cruise of the lake.  Lake Minnewanka is the largest lake in Banff National Park and the only one that allows motor boats.

At the far end of the lake as the boat was turning around we got this great view.  Our guide asked us how this view was different from what we had been seeing during our time in Banff and Jasper.  At first we couldn’t figure it out but then realized there are no mountains in the distance – that is the edge of the Canadian Rockies.

As we were heading back into the dock we could see two separate groups of Big Horn Sheep along the dam.  There were a number of ewes and a few lambs.

After another long, but great day we started on our 2 hour drive back to David Thompson Resort.  North of Lake Louise we saw this black bear beside the road.  We watched him grazing for a while – bear number 7!

After three long days of driving and sightseeing we are all tired and decided to take Monday off.  We spent the day relaxing and took the dogs for a short hike along the lake.  We have really enjoyed our time here – the Canadian Rockies are beautiful and we got to see three black bears and one grizzly bear along with big horn sheep, mountain goats and some deer!


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