Wednesday
Sep212016

A Few Nights in Banff

This week we headed to the mountains to spend a couple of nights in Banff. We took a drive along the Vermillion Lakes Road, walked up and down Banff Avenue, took a stroll along the Bow River and spent some time in the Whyte Museum.

Thursday afternoon we decided to drive up to Lake Louise.  A few minutes up the parkway we came across a British Racing Green Eunos Roadster being piloted by fellow club members Aubin and his co-pilot Rose. We pulled over at the Castle Mountain junction for a visit and a few photos. We then continued on our way to Lake Louise where we spotted some golden larches on the mountain side. On the return to Banff we stopped at Bow Falls, then headed up the mountain to the hot springs for a soak in the pool.

Friday morning, we checked out of the hotel at 9:45 and headed back to Calgary. Normally this is a 90 minute trip, but this day we decided to take a longer route that would include a portion of the David Thompson Highway (Alberta Highway 11). To get there we headed North on the Trans Canada Highway switching over to the Bow Valley Parkway at Lake Louise, continuing north to the Saskatchewan River Crossing. After a quick stop to stretch our legs, we headed east on Highway 11.

Shortly after exiting the national park we came upon Abraham Lake.

According to internet sources, Wikipedia and others, Abraham Lake is a manmade wonder, it is Alberta's largest manmade lake, created by the construction of Trans Alta's Bighorn Dam. TravelNordegg.com claims Abraham Lake is "a true wonder and a must see.  Its turquoise colour may be one of the most breathtaking sites you may ever see. The extremely dynamic colour is caused by 'rock flower' that is silt ground from rocks by glacier movement.” Whatever the cause it is truly spectacular. 

In winter, Abraham Lake showcases a natural phenomenon. Methane gas escaping from deep beneath the Earth's crust and plant decomposition gets trapped in “frozen bubbles” that stack beneath the lake's frozen surface. This creates amazing columns of frozen methane bubbles.  

Breaking Dawn by Jeff WallaceWe stopped midway along Abraham Lake, at a pullout, for some photos and met a new friend driving a striking red early-60s MGB.

Our journey continued along highway 11 surrounded by the changing colours of the season and a landscape that morphed from rugged mountains to rolling foothills. From Rocky Mountain House we headed south following highway 22. In Caroline, construction on main street, put us on a 30 minute detour south on range road 61 then east on township 344 where we reconnected with the Cowboy Trail. An hour later we turned east on Big Hill Springs Road then south on Symons Valley Road entered Calgary from the north.

This route from Banff to Calgary had us driving 511 kilometres which we covered in just under seven hours.