Monday, June 19, 2017

Day 27- June 19- Gondolas and Waterfalls

We started off our morning hike into Johnston Canyon to both the upper and lower Falls.
The hike was beautiful and was along the river the entire way. We saw many small waterfalls until we got to the lower Falls.

These glacial water run offs are almost always this sea foam green color. When we got to the upper Falls – there were two viewing places – one at the top and one at the bottom. We walked up to the one at the top first.

This waterfall was so loud and we were very lucky in that we were able to see a rainbow in the waterfalls.
How can you not love those two sweet faces?
One of the things that we are most amazed with at Banff National Park is the sheer number of people that are here. Yesterday – we determined that there were 1800 front camping sites. Not to mention- this area of Banff national Park is completely commercialized – is unlike what we are used to seeing with the United States national parks.
After we had a snack up at the upper Falls – we hiked the mile back down to the lower Falls. You were able to walk into the small little cave to see the falls from a different angle.
You can see in the picture below the people that are coming back out of the little cave area.
When you were standing on the other side of the little cave/tunnel area – you were getting soaking wet while you're looking at the waterfall. The sheer force with which the water is coming over the cliff is impressive.

The entire hike along the Cliffs and canyons was really just beautiful.
We went to Lake Minnewanka for lunch where we were super excited to see for male bighorn sheep with thick curly horns. We learned that you could determine the age of the bighorn sheep based on the number of rings on his horns – similar to a tree.
On our last trip out west in 2014 – the boys and I only saw the female bighorn sheep. They only have short stubby horns that are not near as awesome as these male horns.

As we left Lake Minnewanka – we saw another set of four male bighorn sheep. We did have to comment on the stupidity of some people as they were trying to get close enough to them to pet them.

Another very cool Canada sign – this was as you headed into the town of Banff.
In the afternoon, we decided to go to Banff upper Hot Springs to allow our muscles to recover from our 10 mile hike yesterday and our 3 1/2 mile hike this morning. Notice in the picture below how we are in our bathing suits and the lifeguards are in pants, tennis shoes, long sleeve shirts and sweatshirts.  It was cold out but the hot springs felt so good on our aching muscles.
The boys said that the Hot Springs was not near as exciting as a regular pool :-) It did feel good on those muscles that have been hiking for days.
Check out the awesome mountains in the background.

 After we let our tired legs rest in the Hot Springs, we decided to put them back to work hiking up sulfur Mountain.  This was a 2150 foot elevation change in three short miles.

We are told the boys that if they hiked up, we could ride the gondola down. Normally – it would've been $200 for our family to ride the gondola up and down. However, if you wrote it down after 7 PM – it was free :-) hence… The hiking.
The view of Banff from the top of Sulphur Mountain.
The hoary marmot that we saw.
Another Canadian sign that made us smile.
I wish pictures did this view any justice at all.

Hunter fell at the top and hurt his knee – but still had to trek all the way back :-)

This was the watch Tower at the top that is no longer in use.
David helping Hunter once he hurt his knee.
And then – we saw our ninth male bighorn sheep of the day :-)

You can see how close we were to this big horn sheep.
My boys are unbelievable troopers when it comes to hiking. They were thrilled to ride the gondola down and thought it was one of the coolest things ever.

The view from the gondola

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Day 26- June 18- Lake Louise

We were going to do the Johnston Canyon hike today, but the area was closed due to the Banff marathon. I wish I would've known about this so that I could've at least run the 10K. Due to the area closure – we decided to go on up to the lake Louise area and spend the day up there.
You truly cannot imagine how clear this lake is when you were standing next to it and how beautifully green it is when you get a little bit higher.

Here are my little angels are standing on the lake shore and you can see some people who have rented canoes in the background.

Look how green that water is.

We walked 2 kilometers along the lake shore until we got to the end.

It was there that we begin the hike to Six glacier Tea house.  We knew that part of the trail was going to be covered with avalanche damage – but we could not get over how much of the trail have been covered with avalanche damage. That did not stop us from making the hike and trekking through the snow/slush.

This view was behind us as we were hiking upward.
Logan made a friend with the Chipmunks.
When we got up to the tea house, there was an outhouse and the tea house.

We ordered 2 cups of hot chocolate and a British tea cake – which was similar to a cinnamon roll.
From our view – we could see where the people who worked at the tea house stayed during their five days of working. They did not track in and out every day – they just stayed out there. No electricity, no running water, no Internet or cell coverage!
From there, we took the Highline Trail over towards the Lake Agnes tea house.
This is some of the avalanche damage.
We are so thankful that we took this trail because it gave us the most beautiful views of Lake Louise. The higher up you are, the more beautiful the lake looks.
This is one of the birds that we saw – I believe it is called a nut hatch.
This is the lake Agnes tea house.
This is the view of Lake Agnes – which still had many frozen ice patches in it. We saw some people hiking in shorts and a T-shirt and thought that they were a little bit insane as we were hiking in long pants, under armor type of warm shirts, and a sweatshirt and we're still chilly.
We saw this beautiful bird also, but I have to wait until I get with my mother and look at her bird book until I can identify it :-)
My precious little Logan in front of like Agnes.

This waterfall was rushing down from Lake Agnes towards mirror Lake.
Mirror Lake was unbelievably clear. We had a good bit of cloud coverage so we were unable to see the reflections in mirror Lake.
None of the three boys ever waste a moment's opportunity to try to skip a rock across a lake.
Have I mentioned how beautiful lake Louise is?
You can tell from this picture that the boys were over having their picture taken.

After stopping to grab a quick bite to eat, we headed over to Yoho national Park. Someone at Capitol reef had suggested that we visit Yoho and see Takakkaw falls. We did see a mountain goat and a black bear on our way over to the Falls – but the road up to the Falls it was closed. We were however able to see the confluence where the Yoho River met the Kicking Horse River.  You can see in the picture where the Kicking Horse River was green and the Yoho River was clear.  It was awesome.
We saw the sign for mountain goats. Unfortunately, we did not see any mountain goats in this area.
We had decided to come back and take a picture of the Banff sign sign the next day because stopping was easier without the camper. We were glad read we decided to stop because we saw a park ranger on the side of the road carrying a paintball gun.
The park ranger was carrying the paintball gun in case she needed to scare off the mama grizzly bear that we were able to say.
All in all – it was a great day of hiking and I am unbelievably impressed with Hunter and Logan. Both of them hiked 9.96 miles today and did most of it without complaining! David and I say all the time how blessed we are that we are able to do these hikes with our kids