Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Canadian Rocky Mountains With Wild Critters, But No Japanese Tourists

I was up in Banff and Jasper National Parks on the weekend to attend a wedding in the wonderful outdoors in June.  June is still early in the mountains and you're taking your chances with the weather and temperatures.  I've hike a good chunk of the trails south of the Trans-Canada Highway and it is a very pretty place that I have had the privilege of experiencing.
Stayed at the Deer Lodge Hotel for a night.  This is an old vintage mountain hotel with character. No TV either!
Just a short walk away was Lake Louise.  You have a 50/50 chance of seeing ice on the lake in June.
Canoes on the lake with Victoria Glacier in the back.
View from Chateau Lake Louise of the lake.  You pay premium for rooms, but you're getting the view and the fresh mountain air.
Pastries for lunch at the Chateau. Baked in house.
Big cream puffs.
Dandelions down by the creek bank.  One of the earliest flowers out.

There used to be throngs of Japanese tourists that would come by bus tour to see the Canadian wilds and they are still here, but in far less numbers these days.  Did you know you could buy souvenir Pocky / Pretz with Canadian Maple flavour here to take back to Japan?  Best of all, it is giant Pretz or Pocky the size of a breadstick.  So go to Canada to buy Pretz sticks... wow!
Giant Foot-long Pretz Sticks!
Plenty of the shops in Banff have Japanese signs and there are even Japanese restaurants there.  In Banff, I'm usually going for the steak after a long day of hiking myself.  I'll have to post some scenic mountain photos one of these days, but on this trip I didn't post anything about Peyto Lake, Bow Glacier, etc., as they would have been fogged out.
Atmospheric photo of Crowfoot Glacier in the mist.  Snowing and blowing here.
The Icefields Parkway.  You're way up in the mountains.
The Columbia Icefields.  This glacier recedes every year.  Gobal warming for you.  You can take a special glacier buggy up onto the thousands of years old ice and walk around.  It is quite a cool trip. 
Another shot of the glacier.  Look at the teeny cars and RVs parked in the foreground.  The big pile of rocks and debris at the foot of the glacier is the terminal moraine where it leaves deposits as it recedes.  People climb up on this stuff.
We took the Icefields Parkway to return to Edmonton via a scenic mountain route instead of driving in the foothills and prairies. The weather was trying to figure out if it was spring or summer with a dash of winter because it snowed on us too! Still, the trip back was scenic when you could see through the rain / clouds / fog and we saw lots of wildlife.  I've seen my share of wild critters up close when hiking / driving through the mountains, but I don't think I have seen this much in one day.  We saw a black bear, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk with calves, mule deer, and a squirrel (yes, the legendary and elusive mountain squirrel).  There is no bear picture as I wasn't running back from the car to go say hello to Mr. Bear and take his picture.
Big horn sheep.
Big horn sheep.
Lots of elk and a fawn.
We have solar powered bobble / dancing bears in Canada.  Who needs the  Hidamari no Tami by Takara Tomy when you have bobbling bears.
Yoga Frogs in a Jasper Shop.
Mountain goat.  These guys are pretty rare to see, but they frequent this stretch of highway on the way from Jasper to Edmonton in the park.
Mountains near Jasper
Lots of freight heading towards Edmonton on the CN Line. Chinese containers.
 Thats all!  It was good to get that fresh mountain air and the car washed in natural rain.

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