Canada West Day 32 - Around Banff

Thursday, 8 June 2023 03:13

Now that I am aware of the numbers of people around I headed off to Tunnel Mountain trailhead at 8:30 and got one of the last two parking spots. It is a reasonable climb to the 5,500 ft summit but the trail uses sensible zig zags to minimise the steepness of each section. It was certainly worth the climb for the panoramic view of Banff and along the Bow Valley. The red chairs were there again. One advantage of being early is that it was only 9ºC at the start. The panorama below shows the vista looking West with the Banff Springs hotel standing out to the left. The second is looking East along the Bow River with Mount Rundle (9,400ft) on the right. There was plenty of bird song and a friendly little ground squirrel for company, as well as a steady string of hikers one of whom is in the bottom of western panorama. I then followed along Tunnel Mountain Road to the Hoodoos overlook which was surprisingly quiet raising my hopes that yesterday was just a blip. Over the years I have seen a few Hoodoos and these are not bad. From this location you can look back up the Bow Valley to the large Banff Springs hotel. I think this picture demonstrates that man can create but when we do it is dwarfed by what nature can create. Time to come down from the mountain and have a look at Bow falls. After a short walk when I got back to the car the car park was now almost full. My plan was to grab a late breakfast and then take a walk on the wetlands by the Vermilion Lakes. Too late. Car park full. A quick excursion along the road by the lakes allowed me to grab a photo while precariously parked while dodging cyclists, joggers and myriads of walkers from another full car park. It is a beautiful spot and in season hosts a broad range of waterfowl. I took a second go at the hike car park and no go. My motel provides free use of the ROAM Electric bus service and I had always planned to use it to spend some time downtown so I headed back to the motel a little earlier than planned, cooled off a bit and then jumped on the Route 1 bus. A nice service. The reason I was in the car at all is that the buses did not run to the Tunnel Mountain trailhead or the hike at Vermilion Lakes and it was a long walk from the motel. Banff is not a typical mountain resort as it caters for day trippers and coach parties more than the outdoors types. Although there are plenty of walkers and cyclists the content of the commercial facilities is heavily slanted towards eating and drinking with less emphasis on outdoor clothing and equipment. Most is centred along Banff avenue with a major section for pedestrians, and buses only. It is nice and has a gentle vibe. As most people seemed to be shopping, eating or drinking the stroll along the Bow river was very peaceful with an opportunity to look up Tunnel Mountain. It looks very soft but this hides the eastern side which is a sheer cliff. I liked the street brass identifiers and a nice little bit of art in the park. As I said a nice little town.