Trans-Canada Rail Trek

Day 5 - October 11, 2007 – Thursday – Banff, Alberta

As we had breakfast this morning we watched the sun come up and illuminate the rugged peaks of the Canadian Rockies. After breakfast we met our driver and guide Mike with Gray Line who gave us a bus tour of the city of Banff.

He told us about the city and its strict regulations because it is in the center of Banff National Park. Two of the most interesting ones were that no building can be over 3 stories high and no one can live here unless they work here.

We were treated to a drive-by of the Banff Springs Hotel, begun in 1886 and renovated in 1929 has been instrumental in bringing tourists on the Canadian National RR.

Our first stop was at Bow Falls where we had ten crisp minutes to take photos and admire the blue-green waters of the glacial melt. It was 41 degrees and 82% humidity this morning.

We traveled to the end of Buffalo Street where we were greeted by a fantastic view across the Kicking Horse River Valley. We could see Sulfur Mountain with the old Banff Springs Hotel and in the far left we could also see our Rimrock Resort facility.

We left the town of Banff and entered the Trans-Canadian Highway #1, which was once the longest paved road in the world. It goes for 5000 miles from St Johns, Newfoundland to Victoria, BC.

Mike gave us a history of Banff National Park which was the third national park in the world, the first being our Yellowstone. Because we had lots of time we left Canada #1 and went on a more scenic route Canada 1A, also called the Bow Valley Parkway.

As we traveled through this immense national park Mike told us about the fire cycles of the forest as well as the predator wolves and cougars who keep the deer and elk herds healthy. We did see a few white tailed deer but even though this route promised wildlife sightings, the animals were scarce.

Our first look at Lake Louise was to be the ski area where they have six months of powder skiing. However, when we arrived we found the area closed and a sign that said they would open on November 9th.

We entered the village of Lake Louise, another one of those national park towns, where one has to work to live there. There are no privately owned homes there. There were also no hotels at the ski areas so all skiers are transported from the surrounding hotels by bus.

When we arrived at the Chateau Lake Louise at 11:15 we had time to walk around the lake. At 11:30 we had group photo taken overlooking the lake and Victoria Glacier.

We had time to explore this old chateau/hotel and then had a wonderful buffet lunch in the dining room that had served the wealthy and notable people for many generations.

We met back on the bus at 1:30 and saw a few snow flakes in the air. The weather had definitely started to change from the blue skies we had this morning. We drove back to Banff on the Canada #1, a short 45 minute trip.

In Banff we chose get off the bus, stretch our legs and walk around the town for a while. They are doing major construction on the main street of town so we walked around just to get some exercise rather than to shop. We did buy some fruit for our dinner tonight at a local grocery store.

At 3:00 we walked back to the shuttle stop, presented our hotel room card to the driver and we were taken back to the Rimrock Resort. They certainly cater to tourists in this resort area.

We had a few minutes to write postcards and get ourselves organized before going to the Vantage Reception where we were able to have drinks and h’ordouvers. We had a chance to hear several comments from people who had traveled on Vantage trips previously.

At 5:30, Laura, a local park naturalist, gave us an hour’s presentation and slide show on the ecology of Banff National Park. It was very good, we marveled at her enthusiasm, knowledge and examples of artifacts from the surrounding area.

We returned to our room to work on the journal and select our pictures for today.

Rimrock Resort Hotel (B & L)


Great photos-- what landscape! And to see that hotel in the middle there... unbelievable!

Eduardo Garcia   October 12, 2007 - 8:18pm

What fun to read of your sights in Canada. When we skied that area years ago, we stayed at the Banff Springs Hotel and walked down to town. I remember watching the most interesting, intricate "two-step cowboy dancing" at a bar there. We also stayed at the Chateau Lake Louise during another winter and remember the view of your picture...only when we were there, there was a beautiful full size ice castle built on the lake, where you could rent skates and skate around and through it. We also went on a sleigh ride where you walked. Skiing was pretty nice there too and the hotel had a quaint "dutch-swiss" feel to the bedrooms. Thanks for bringing back memories of days gone by. Enjoy the trip. I wonder what other memories you might stir up in me.

Andy Conine   October 12, 2007 - 2:13pm

When I was in Banff with GCT, we got "kicked-up" to Banff Springs Hotel because of a reservation mix-up. What fun exploring that grand old place! I loved it.

Carolyn Moon   October 12, 2007 - 1:40pm
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Rimrock Resort Hotel

Rimrock Resort Hotel

View from Rimrock Resort Hotel

View from Rimrock Resort Hotel

Banff Springs Hotel

Banff Springs Hotel

Canadian and Alberta Flags

Canadian and Alberta Flags

Group shot at Chateau Lake Louise

Group shot at Chateau Lake Louise

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