July 23, 2009
We spent a quiet night in the overflow campground so decided to spend another night here as did several other people. We headed off to Banff with our first stop at the Hoodos – bizarre natural pillars of stone along the Bow Valley. No one knows why they are called Hoodos but they are very interesting to look at. The view to the valley below was spectacular.
Our next stop was at Lake Minnewanka a place once know as “Lake of the Water Spirits.” And yes there The water was a crystal aqua-marine color with mountains in the background. And yes there was a SYSCO truck making a delivery. We hiked the 1.4 mile lakeside trail and stopped on the way back for some ice cream. The trail was great and views of the lake different at every turn. Jewel enjoyed the hike and is getting much more exercise since we arrived in Canada.
Next we stopped at Bankhead once the site of a huge coal-mining operation. In the early 1900’s mining and industry were allowed within the parameters of National Parks in Canada. A full scale mining operation was going on with 450 workers in the mines and 900 people living in the town of Bankhead. It was very industrialized with electrical services to every home. By 1930 there was public outrage about the destruction of the natural beauty of the parks and the operation was shut down. The majority of homes in Bankhead were moved to Banff and most of the remaining structures destroyed.
The area is truly a ghost town with remnants of the Lantern House remaining. The lantern house was used to store lanterns of the miners after they finished for the day. All miners had a specific numbered lantern assigned to him and if that lantern was not hung in its place at the end of the day a search party went out looking for the miner.
After touring the abandoned town it was time to get back to the car. I mentioned before that Jewel is getting a little stubborn about getting in the MH well ditto for the car. As we were approaching the parking lot I felt a strong tug on the lease. She had plopped down in the grass and would not move.
I had to pick her up and put her in the car with her grunting all the way.
Our journey took us to Bow falls another magnificent waterfall off the bow river. We stayed for lunch and took in the views and sound of the falls. Of course we could not just look at them we had to climb to the top via many stairs and see them from the top – still beautiful!!!!
It was then off to the Cascades of Time Flower Garden. A beautiful garden set in the middle of town that was absolutely spectacular. The flowerbeds were blooming gloriously but to our disappointment all of the water features were dry. Despite the lack of water features the gardens were amazing.
At this point we had done several miles of hiking and had spent six hours sightseeing. I was ready to go home and make dinner but Ron had other ideas. He wanted to do the trail to the upper and lower falls in Johnston Canyon. I conceded and off we went.
The trail to Johnston Canyon was incredible in more ways then one. Incredibly beautiful and in some places incredibly difficult. Along the route to the lower falls are catwalks looking over the gorges and canyon below. Every turn presented a different view, waterfall or just plain beauty. We arrived at the lower falls and were WOWED. We were able to enter a cave and walk out to the falls two feet away. What a head rush. Jewel wouldn’t go into the cave because she was afraid.
I wasn’t sure if I was up to another one mile uphill hike to the upper falls but decided what the heck – JUST DO IT! I did and was glad.
I made dinner updated the blog then hit the sack.