Thursday, July 03, 2014

Canada Road Trip (Part V): Banff and Lake Louise

We had two days in the Banff/Lake Louise area. The first morning we drove down the Bow Valley Parkway and stopped at the very touristy Lake Louise.

I simply can’t get over the color of the water. It’s supposed to be even better later in the summer. 

This is about as good as it gets, when it comes to family picture selfies. Ben is boycotting, Emma is asleep, and I’m not looking at the camera. Chris wins this one.

A kind fellow to the camera rescue:

Afterwards we drove down to Moraine Lake for a view atop the Rock Pile.

And then it was back along the Bow Parkway for some wildlife viewing.


The elk tend to hang out around both Banff and Jasper townsites. Some people have theorized that they feel safer near humans as the grizzlies tend to (mostly) stay away from the population centers.

The Forest Service has speculated that a female grizzly (with offspring) is also using the same strategy, as male brown bears will often go after cubs. They’ve consequently closed the Vermillion lakes roads and trails, which was a bummer as they were located quite close to Banff and said to be stunning. Next time.

But by far the highlight of the trip for me was seeing this gal:

And she wasn’t alone!!

It was so exciting to see these three. Talk about a kid in a candy shop; I was that thrilled. And also happy that we were in a vehicle, not on the trail...

You can read more about Bear 138 here. And here: Banff has at least four new grizzly cubs. She is a first-time mum. Last winter a run on the ski resort was closed so that she could hibernate and give birth to her cubs in peace.

I’m conflicted about the radio tracking collars. On one hand I understand and support the need for park officials and scientists to track and learn about the movements and habits of the animals. On the other makes me sad to see that we’ve got our proverbial human paws on everything, including an amazing apex predator. Nothing is entirely wild anymore, you know?

Of course, in that same vein, I should point out that these pictures were shot from a vehicle, along a major highway, so I’d be a fatty hypocrite if I said that these bears should stay untouched. Part of the tracking program is aimed at keeping these bears as wild as possible, and not road kill beneath my minivan’s wheels.

Speaking of girls, little Em hasn’t had much air time on this blog as of late. Here she is! Sucking away at that thumb. She’s a champion self soother. And sleeper. My happy little buddy.

On our way out of town we did a very nice little hike called Heart Creek. It’s great for kids.

Lots of things to keep the kiddos occupied: water, bridges, cool trails. It was my favorite hike of the trip. 

   We’re just going to throw in the towel when it comes to taking family pictures...these stink. This is the face we get from Ben when we bribe him with beef jerky. "One strip of jerky for one smile, come on, that’s an awesome deal, kiddo!”

It’s kind of like the poor mom at the playground the other day whose kid refused to leave: “Bobby, come on, we have to go home so you can watch your favorite tv show!” Don’t judge peeps, that’s a desperate mama talking.



Canada Road Trip 

Introduction: Trip Route
Part I: Kamloops Horse Ranch

Up Next:
Part VI: Calgary