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

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