If you are still with me, I am documenting our recent trip to Western Canada.
We departed The Chateau at Lake Louise and headed the short distance to our next destination The famous Banff Springs Hotel built in 1888, also a Canadian Pacific Railroad Hotel. Even though there was a major fire in 1926 the hotel regained it's original Scottish Baronial charm...looking much like a castle.
Our bus driver took us to a nearby lookout point, where we could get a better shot of the hotel. This is the first place where we could noticed a little smoke in the air. Sadly, western Canada had a very dry summer and an awful fire season.
This place was right up my alley, and since we had two nights here, I got lost several times snooping around
Could not get over the pretty views through the windows
and since the place is enormous, there are a lot of windows to look out
The Cascade Ballroom
and almost as many ballrooms to explore. This one had a particular interesting story attached to it.
click on photo to enlarge Back in the late twenties a bride was headed down a staircase, all dressed for her formal wedding which was to be held in the Cascade Ballroom. She tripped and fell to her death and has become quite famous as the Ghost Bride...people report sights
of her floating down this staircase...aww no that's not her, that's Tom :)
The excitement builds as we arrived at the Chateau if only for one night.
No, I did not take this picture I think the credit must be given to some drone,
but I did take this of the friendly doormen. The whole resort had a Nordic feel starting with their uniforms.
I didnt realize(and maybe you did), that The Canadian Pacific Railway way back at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th built a series of five star hotels across Canada to attract the European vacationers.....of which most stayed the entire summer season.
I won't bore you with pictures of my food. ...but this was unusual. They fed us well on this trip, here we are dining in The Chateau's Fairview Room. My friend Kathy ordered the above dessert. The waitress came out and covered it with a sheet of white chocolate (to me it looked like a small tortilla), and then poured hot raspberry sauce over it melting the chocolate!
I talked Tom into upgrading to a lake view room (amazing)! This is the early morning view.
After breakfast we had time to walk around, as we didn't check out until almost noon.
I have to tell you what I think is a funny story.
Coming down the Ice Field Pkwy from Jasper, we stopped at a series of lakes (previous post). I was taking my photo of Peyo Lake from the lookout point. There were other tourists, and everyone was taking their turn and letting the next group move forward. When I got to the front this lady next to me keeping poking her elbow into to me yelling EXCUSE ME! EXCUSE ME! Now if she had asked nicely, I would have stepped out of her pose. ..but the fact that she was elbowing me ticked me off, and I just gave her the look. Seems when she got here to the Chateau, she was standing on these rocks doing the same thing. Well, guess what? She fell in! No, she didn't drown and wasn't hurt but everyone sure had a good laugh :)
After two fun filled beautiful days in Jasper, it was time to head south along the scenic Ice field Parkway ..one of the most scenic drives in all of Canada, to our next destination Lake Louise.We walked on a glacier in the morning (previous post), and the afternoon consisted of stops at several scenic lakes.
This one which I believe is Warrior Lake had a great reflection of the mountains on it's calm surface.
We got to view Peyo Lake with it's unusual shape, from a really high vantage point.
Arriving at Bow Lake, our tour guide told us about an English trapper..Jimmy Simpson, who built a lodge here before Jasper became a Natl. Park. and it is still in the family. I guess if it can't be sold or it too becomes parkland.
Called the Num Ti Jah Lodge, I read that it is great (rustic) place to stay.
The last few posts have been a documentation of our Western Canada Tour, which encompassed a lot of different activities.
It was now time to head south out of Jasper, Alberta Canada through Jasper National Park
First stop would be the spectacular Athabasca Falls. The area around the falls is nicely groomed so that you can hike about and view the falls from several sides. It was a cool crisp morning and an eerie steam was rising from the Falls.
Next stop would be the Columbia Ice Fields, also part of our tour.
That is the Glacier spilling down the mountain
Across from the ice fields is this very nice pavilion with restaurants, restrooms and of course to ever present gift shop. It is also the staging area for our trip up to the Glacier.
We left the comfort of our touring coach, and boarded what I would call a snow coach, but in this case is referred to as an Ice Explorer
The Ice Explorer actually delivered us to the center of the Glacier, where we were given twenty minutes or so to slide around.
For me it was just that, a slippery experience, but an experience I would not have wanted to miss!
The rest of the day consisted of stopping along the way to Lake Louise at some pretty lakes....stay tuned.
Things have been crazy around here since we arrived home. We have had two sets of guests (one set is still here), plus Tom and I must have picked up a virus on the plane. Not to mention, we had twenty nine here for dinner on Saturday night whew...I need another vacation!
Our excellent guide on the river
I did promise that I would post some rafting pictures...so here they are.
We were all eager to climb aboard, since it was the perfect weather to raft.
This is The Athabasca River that run through Jasper, Alberta, Canada. The river originates from the Columbia Glacier north of Jasper. Therefore, since it is glacier melt the water is a pretty color of blue.
They offered us these yellow trash bag looking ponchos. None of us wanted to wear them, until they explain that the splash could have you sitting in a puddle. So all of the women put them on.
Although, several of the men declined. I figured they were either too macho or vain....and I knew which in the case of this guy. We sure had a beautiful raft, and next on the agenda was walking on a glacier!
On my previous post I explained that we boarded the VIA Canada Train in Vancouver for and overnight to Jasper. We arrived about 4pm the next afternoon to to a lush and beautiful small mountain town, and stayed in a very pretty lodge that had an open courtyard with a huge fireplace.
The next morning we went by tour bus to the largest natural lake in The Canadian Rockies, Maligne Lake, to have a wonderful breakfast looking the lake.
I went down to take a picture of the picturesque boat house, and this popped out in front of me! I took a quick photo and then ran back up the hill.There were so many people around that I was afraid he would charge up the hill directly at me.
Although he paused to munch on a bush, and I zoomed in for another quick shoy. By the way, Moose can be dangerous.
When everyone finished eating, we took a boat ride out to Spirit Island, pictured above.It was probably one of my favorite places on the whole trip.
I was of course also delighted that some of the snow that had fallen the week before, was still there.
My friend Judy was simply delighted by everything.
Where in the world is that gal!? Well, I am finally back...if there are any of you left out there..I will try and carry on.
Tom and I have been on a tour of Western Canada
View of downtown Vancouver from Stanley Park
We usually pride ourselves on being independent travelers, and not like the old folks taking escorted tours.Well, never say never...after all we are all allowed to change our minds. We met up with several friends in Vancouver for the start of a real adventure.
The tour company put us up in The Westin Bayshore, which is right on the harbor. This view was spectacular from our room at night,
as was the view out to the left during the day. There were even sea planes taking off every now and then.
After a city tour of Vancouver (and Stanley Park) our last stop was beautiful Queen Elizabeth Park, where we had dinner at a restaurant called Seasons with a fabulous view over the city.....Then it was time to board a train for an overnight to Jasper in the middle of The Jasper National Park.
This was not the fancy Rocky Mountaineer, but a Canadian train probably built in the 1950's....I had visions of Marilyn Monroe in the movie River of No Return. Above was our sleeping room.
This being on the other wall... There was also a very small toilet room...The shower being down the hall.
It wasn't so bad after all. The dining room was very cheerful where they served plentiful and delicious meals. We did have to walk through several other train cars to reach this destination though.
There was also a dome car near the dining car. As you can see the weather went downhill as we headed east from British Columbia to Alberta.
This was another dome car, that they referred to as the panorama car, but it was even a longer walk.
Did I enjoy the overnight on the train. YES I did! I would not want to stay on the the whole way across Canada, but an over night was fun....I could hear the couple in the next cabin (some of our friends) laughing hysterically ...seems they both kept bumping their heads on the beds.I hung my curling iron near the sink when I was getting ready...and backed into it twice.
Oh, I forgot to show you what the room looked like with the beds down. Actually the bunks were very comfortable. We arrived Jasper the next afternoon.....I will return and tell you about Jasper...where the sun made an appearance for the rest of the beautiful week!
How could one persons life be so different from winter to summer? Well stick around and see. I live in a cosmopolitan city half of the year and then head to a tiny town in the mountains the other half.....a place full of interesting people, beautiful scenery, wild animals......and great adventures!