Friday, September 21, 2007

Banff National Park, AB

August 23-26, 2007
Banff National Park, AB - Protection Mountain Campground

The campground is on the Bow Valley Parkway. Unlike on the long holiday weekend at the beginning of August (all campgrounds were full), at this time there were very few campers, even on the weekend.

Lake Louise is 1536 meters (5039 feet) above sea level. Mornings can be cool, and we did have frost on the vegetation. The scenery in Banff National Park is breathtaking. It is hard to turn a corner without saying "WOW!"

It's almost impossible, upon first seeing Lake Louise, not to gasp. The beautiful, milky blue lake rests at the foot of Victoria Glacier, which rises majestically behind it, capped by snow and ice year-round. First sighted by Europeans in 1882, the lake has become one of Canada's best-loved and most-visited resorts. Set on the lake itself, the Ch√Ęteau Lake Louise was built by the Canadian Pacific Railroad. At the dock we were entertained by a gentleman in traditional Swiss Alpine garb playing the trumpet, bell and Alpenhorn.

A visit to Moraine Lake is also mandatory. The boys climbed the moraine that keeps the lake intact. Again it is some of the most spectacular scenery in Canada.

While I was taking photos of the lake, a young lady, Gwen, approached me and asked if I would use her camera to take her picture by the lake. Of course I agreed. As we chatted she asked what brought me to Moraine Lake. When I told her, she said she was a nurse in Vancouver and she had done her graduate paper on FASD. I asked where she got her information and she replied, "FASlink". What a small world!

The Bow Valley Parkway runs roughly parallel to the Trans Canada Highway, but is a much more leisurely route. We came across a tree that had fallen onto the roadway and stopped to remove it. Wildlife was rather scarce but we did come across two eight point deer near the road. Frankly, it was very disappointing to see more wildlife outside our national parks than within them. Perhaps in an over-zealous desire to avoid human - animal interaction (road kill, camp scrounging), reporting the presence of bear, cougars, etc. is likely to have them trapped and moved to the interior away from people. But it is the wildlife that I want to see in the national and provincial parks. I have been camping since childhood and simple education can keep tragedies from happening. Then there is the Darwin Principle ..... :-)

On the third day in Banff awaiting for the Calgary event scheduled for August 28th, I received a call from the event organizer for the Calgary Fetal Alcohol Network Committee. In spite of four months notice, time to prepare the event, and a population of 1,000,000+, they were unable to hold an event, but would send a donation to FASlink. Still waiting. Another Victoria type fiasco.

It rained that day and was depressing, so we packed up. In the process, I carried a very heavy bin containing our canned food to the trailer, and popped an inguinal hernia. I had had one surgically repaired when I was 12 years-old and knew the feeling. I am quite a bit older now and the discomfort was significant. We drove to Lethbridge, AB. At this point I was not a happy camper.

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