After Josh had finished his work in Calgary (which is a wonderful city – I enjoyed my stay there) we drove to Banff National Park to spend a few days in September. This was the last trip for me before the baby comes, and we had a wonderful time.
We stayed at the Fairmont Banff Springs, the historical and gorgeous hotel in Banff. Our room was way up in one of the turrets, with little windows looking out in about 180 degrees. We loved the whirlpool bath as well – wonderful for a pregnant woman at the end of a day of walking.
Our activities were limited by my pregnancy, and unfortunately, we were not able to go to the hot springs, but we did take the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain. From the top the views are wonderful, and we managed to do the 1km hike over to the old Cosmic Ray Station. I just had to stop on some of the benches along the way to rest.
We explored the roads around Banff, taking side trips along the golf course road and up to nearby lakes. It was all gorgeous. What a wonderful place to visit and explore. My dad grew up coming to Banff regularly and climbing the mountains around here. It would be wonderful to live so near to somewhere so beautiful!
On the next day, we ventured from Banff to Lake Louise, as was highly recommended to us. The drive there didn’t take very long to the Trans-Canada Highway. We went to the Lake Louise Gondola first, riding up the ski lift to the nature center about halfway up the mountain. There are bears sighted regularly here, but we didn’t see any except for the stuffed ones at the nature center. We did see a deer foraging, but that was the extent of our wildlife spotting. The view from the top here was also very beautiful. All of the views in Banff National Park are breathtaking – basically, we just enjoyed God’s wonders in every direction as far as the eye could see. Awesome.
After the gondola and a forgettable but cheap lunch at the ski-lodge, we went to Lake Louise (there is another Fairmont hotel located directly on the lake). The lake is a beautiful icy blue color, glacier fed and full of minerals. The water is very cold, but the sun was quite warm. We almost rented a canoe to go out on the lake but decided it was too hot to manage. Instead, we walked through the woods for a little while around the circumference of the lake. If we return again when I am not pregnant, I want to hike up to the Tea House. The hike was too long for me to manage on this trip though.
Lake Louise was very crowded, so we stayed for a little while, then drove on to Lake Moraine. It is another glacier fed lake. It was very beautiful, and I soaked my feet for a little while in the cold water. I was tired out, so we didn’t even try any walks around at this lake, we just sat and enjoyed the view for a little while, then drove the scenic road back to our hotel.
I highly recommend visiting Banff National Park. I think that everyone could find something to do in such a wonderful place, and as I demonstrated in my visit, you don’t have to go hiking, if that is too much physical activity for you. You can go and enjoy the beauty from your car, and out the windows of many restaurants. Breathe deep and rest in the natural world.