Up on the Mountains

Banff and Yoho National Parks while based in Banff (7 – 9 July 2013)

It was with quite a bit of excitement that we made our way to the Rockies. I for sure was looking forward to the visit since I do not get to see mountains every day.

The way up was itself really scenic. It was a bit cloudy but that was quite alright. On the way we saw a dead deer and then shortly after a young bear ran across the highway. How often does one see a bear do that?

We were going to stay 3 nights in Banff and then 2 in Jasper. Our hotel in Banff was a nice one and I liked it that our room was on the ground floor and opened out to a small forest. Would we get to see a bear right outside our door? We did not hang around much in Banff and used it as a place to mostly eat and sleep in. It was a good base from which to take day trips in Banff and Yoho National Parks.

The Rockies are absolutely gorgeous!

Morraine Lake

F was really besotted with the view of Morraine Lake and the peaks behind it. I myself enjoyed the scenery very much too. This would be the only spot we visited twice just because we wanted to see it a second time. We would sit for a really long time up on the Rockpile despite the weather being very cold at times. It was a miracle that I did not catch a bug again on this journey!

Morraine Lake was as far as I can remember the only place on the Rockies where I saw pikas. They were running around almost everywhere on the Rockpile while maintaining a safe distance from human beings. For some reason F did not see a single one both times we were on the Rockpile. It was almost like the pikas were avoiding F or something. I am not sure that he was completely convinced that I had seen them.

Pika taking a breather on the Rockpile

Lake Louise

In comparison with Morraine Lake, Lake Louise looked quite ordinary. It seemed however as if Lake Louise was more famous than Morraine Lake and I have no idea why. F thought it was a travesty.

Lake Louise

The hike along the Johnston Canyon was a nice one even if it was mostly an uphill climb to reach the two waterfalls. F was in a worse shape than me because of his knees. He had played too much football in his youth and that has come back to haunt him. Nevertheless, the walk was though the forest and I have always loved walking in forests.

Johnston Creek


Johnston Canyon Upper Falls

Weather on the mountains was very unpredictable. Our very first full day in the Rockies was mostly marred by wet weather and my experience in Plitvice all came flooding back. When the sun came out it was fine but when the sun got hidden behind rain clouds it became terribly cold. I am just never prepared for cold weather. It also got me thinking about being on the Rockies at any time outside of summer. I felt cold even in the height of summer. What if I had been mad enough to visit in say winter?

As for the scenery, when it rained, clouds would hide much of the view.

Kicking Horse River

Takkakaw Falls

Natural Bridge

Emerald Lake

Some folks decided to go some canoeing on the Emerald Lake. Although it had stopped raining by the time we got there, it was still very cold and I did believe that those folks were mad.

I have to say that I was very grateful to F for suggesting the Rockies and offering to do all the driving since I could not drive. My inability to drive has in some ways handicapped me on my travels in that, unless I hire a driver which can be expensive, I am able to visit only places that I can get to with public transport. Not only that, some of my visits can be very unsatisfactory since my time is dictated by the schedules of the public transport. If not for F I would never have included the Rockies in my itinerary and I would have missed out on visiting such a wonderful place.

Peyto Lake from Peyto Peak

Being on the Rockies also gave me a perspective on the world and life in general that I could not have had in tiny flat crowded Singapore. I remember standing on top of Bow Summit and feeling like I was on top of the world. However, I did not feel like a king. Or James Cameron. With the mountains and valley and the forests and lake before and below me, I felt so insignificant and all my problems seemed so irrelevant in the great big world. It was a perspective on life that I needed at the time.

Castle Mountain

Bow Lake

Canadian Pacific Railway

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