Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rockies Road Trip Leg 4: Exploring Banff August 8 -14, 2010

Here's a re-cap of the second week of our trip to the Rockies:

For the second week of our Rockies road Trip adventure we decided to tone it down a bit and spend the week hiking, rock climbing and checking out the areas around Banff and Canmore, Alberta. We spent the week camped at Tunnel Mountain Campground just outside of the town of Banff which made for a great “Base camp”. The weather during our week in Banff was somewhat unsettled so we were not able to get up to any mountain climbing or scrambling due the possibility of getting trapped in a rain or thunder shower, which made an appearance almost daily.

On Sunday August 8 we were hoping to get out climbing, however, the weather had a different plan. It was completely overcast and lightly raining when we got so we had a leisurely breakfast at camp and then went to check out the hot springs in Banff. We went for dip in the Upper Hot Springs and enjoyed relaxing in the pool and then spent the rest of the day and evening strolling through downtown Banff, sipping coffee and reading books around the lantern back in camp.

On Monday August 9 we had a window of good weather in the morning so we headed out to the Heart Creek rock climbing are about 15min East of Canmore. After a quick breakfast of Timmy’s in Canmore we drove out to Heart Creek and hiked for about 15 minutes to the climbing area. Heart Creek has about 10 crags all along a small creek. It was a nice atmosphere for climbing. The rock took some getting used to as it’s significantly more polished than we’re used to, but after a route or two it was getting fun. We got in about 3 routes and then the weather turned so we quickly rapped off the route we were on and hiked out in the rain. That night we had dinner at the Keg in Banff and enjoyed the nice warm, dry restaurant while we watched the Thunder storm outside.

When we woke up on Tuesday August 10 it was raining so we decided to do some exploring int eh car and some of the walks in the area. We drove the entire Bow Valley Parkway and checked out the views and sites through the entire area. Along the way we stopped at Johnson Canyon and went for a hike through the canyon. We hiked up to a couple of waterfalls and checked out the catwalks that are built cantilevered out from the canyon walls overhanging the river. After our exploring we made our way back to Canmore where we spent the afternoon hanging out in a coffee shop and ended our day watching the movie “Salt” in Banff.

On Wednesday August 11 it was nice and sunny again so we headed out rock climbing at Cougar Canyon in Canmore. The climbing area is along some river banks, just a 20 min walk through a park in town. We climbed a couple of the shorter routes to get a feel for the area and then headed up a couple full 30m pitches on the soaring walls above the river. Cougar canyan was quite a picturesque area to climb since you were right in the depths of a canyon surrounded by the river, canyon walls and huge mountains in the distance. After a full day of climbing we went back to camp for a BBQ and to relax in the sun.

Thursday August 12 was our last full day of our trip and it was raining yet again. We decided to spend the day exploring via car again so we went for a drive to Radium and Invemere. We enjoyed the drive through Kootney national park along the way with all its mountains and river valleys. Once we got to Radium we spent the morning in the Radium hot springs and enjoyed relaxing in the pools during the rain showers. After the hot springs we continued our journey to Invemere where we went to a great little shop “The Blue Dog CafĂ©” for lunch. After lunch we drove back into Banff and enjoyed the evening relaxing at camp.

On Friday August 13 we began our journey westward towards home. On the way we went to Morraine lake and went for a hike to check out the valley of the Ten Peaks. It was a bit cloudy but nice enough out to enjoy the views in this spectacular area. That afternoon we drove to Vernon where we spent the night hanging out with Steve and Bobbi-Jo. The next morning on Saturday August 14 after breakfast in Vernon, we said good-bye to the Oliver’s and completed our journey home bringing our summer vacation to an end.

Complete Photo Album:

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