After a very wet start in a normally fairly dry Calgary, the weather perked up and together we enjoyed an excellent trip through the very best of the region.
Because of the heavy rain on the first day, this enthusiastic crowd enjoyed an extended tour of Calgary. Of course we went up the Calgary Tower which is the highest observation tower on earth, despite its rather modest stature (it is the highest due to Calgary’s elevation adding over 3000 feet to the base:).
We also visited the Olympic speed skating oval at the university of Calgary where we were lucky enough to see athletes racing. From there we made a stop at Canada Olympic Park before driving to the mountains and my home town of Canmore.
The Canmore Nordic Centre (x-country / biathlon) centre is always a popular stop and of course we visited some of the best architecture in the region.
Onto Banff, I was thrilled by the recent renovations in our hotel (High Country Inn) and the sky cleared just enough for a peek at the peaks.
The following day, we found a moment of sun to go to the top of Sulphur Mountain and the Bow Falls as well as Two Jack Lake and Lake Minnewanka. Of course the real highlight of the day was meeting little Finn!
It is nice when a gamble pays off. First thing this morning we raced west and found perfect sun in Yoho National Park. We drove down the Kicking Horse Pass, making stops at the Spiral Tunnels, Natural Bridge and Emerald Lake.
Lunch was at the Lake Louise Ski Area – the best option in the region and included a chairlift ride up the mountain with views across to the famous lake.
Now with perfect weather we travelled north along highway 93 – the Icefields Parkway. First a black bear and then a young grizzly! Also, of course magnificent Peyto Lake.
The trip onto the Athabasca Glacier is also a highlight, but the perfect weather really made it spectacular.
From the Icefields we travelled further north stopping at my favorite Athabasca Falls before some of our brave travellers climbed into rafts to ford the rapids into Jasper. I have sent groups down the river with Jasper Raft Tours for many years – the gentle float always manages to balance excitement with safety and adventure … it has long been said Canada is best seen from the water.
Because of enthusiasm and weather we made the following day another early start with a trip up to Pyramid Lake. The reflection was perfect and we met an aggressive elk – and therefore we met the rangers! We also had yet another bear sighting.
Next we visited Maligne Canyon for a walk. At the ‘disappearing’ Medicine Lake we witnessed evidence of recent forest fires and silly tourists trying to pet Bighorn Sheep.
At Maligne Lake most of the group went on the boat tour – certainly the most famous of its kind in the Rockies.
While the group was sightseeing I ventured off the beaten path to Moose Lake (a fairly difficult walk) and did see a large female moose eating in the lake. I promised to share the photo!
As I write this, we are sitting on the Rocky Mountaineer train in perfect weather including a view of the top of Mount Robson – the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies…
I am extremely aware of how fortunate I am to lead tours around the world, but it really is an added honour to be able to share the best of my home with such enthusiastic and appreciate people.