Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Canadian Rockies Day 3

If you're like me, you're probably wondering how on Earth it can be Wednesday already. Where has the week gone?

I'm thrilled to hear that you have been enjoying my Rocky Mountain posts. If you missed them, click here to view Day 1 and here to view Day 2.

On Day 3, we woke up very sore and tired, following our intense hike up the Iceline Trail. One thing I forgot to mention on my post about Day 2 was Emerald Lake, another beautiful spot in Yoho National Park. We didn't have time to visit after our long hike, but if you're in the area, I highly recommend it. The access road is located just west of the town of Field, British Columbia.

Now for Day 3...

We "slept in" until 7:00 and spent a relaxing morning on a group fishing charter on Lake Minnewanka, located about 15 minutes northeast of Banff Townsite.


As you know, Mr. Handsome is a fishing enthusiast, so he was eager to get a pole in the water.


Most of the fish species were catch and release only, but determining which was which didn't turn out to be an issue. We didn't catch a thing. 

Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary with free park admission, so 2017 is projected to be one of the busiest years on record in Banff. We also chose one of the busiest weekends of the year, as we visited over Canada Day. And it had rained the day before. So the fish had many reasons to stay far away from our hooks.


The scenery surrounding Lake Minnewanka made up for the lack of fish. It is among the most well-known fishing spots in Canada, so there was a decent amount of lake traffic, but our guide was able to find some secluded spots to fish. Mr. Handsome says it was by far the most beautiful place he has ever fished.


Lake Minnewanka is a glacial lake that is 142 meters/466 feet deep, so the water is cold. If we were to fall in, the guide advised us to keep our mouths closed to prevent us from swallowing the frigid water and going into shock. Now that's a comforting thought.


After our fishing excursion, we drove 25 minutes southwest to Sunshine Village, a ski resort that doubles as a summer tourist attraction. I made some delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and we headed to the gondola. The ride was about 20 minutes long, and although our gondola could have fit eight people, we had it all to ourselves.


I grew up downhill skiing, so I felt right at home on the mountain. Sunshine brands themselves as a family-friendly ski resort, although they have two runs (Wild West and Delirium Dive) that are among the most extreme ski hills in the world.


At a 55-degree gradient, Delirium Dive is only open to guests with an avalanche pack, a beacon, and a shovel. I've done my fair share of black diamond hills, but I can say with certainty that I would never venture down Delirium Dive.


The gondola starts at an elevation of 1,660 meters/5,440 feet and lets off at 2,164 meters/7,100 feet. After hopping off the gondola, we walked over to the Standish Chairlift, which shuttled us up to an even higher elevation (2,400 meters/7,875 feet). At that point, we were on the Continental Divide.

From the top of the Continental Divide (also known as the Great Divide) rain or melting snow either flows west toward the Pacific Ocean or east toward the Atlantic Ocean.

The view was other-worldly. It truly felt like we had stepped into a fairy tale.


The mountains seemed to go on forever in every direction. We were shocked that there were only a small number of tourists on top of Sunshine. Folks just don't know what they're missing!


Here's a video we made from the lookout point:



After taking in the spectacular views, we hiked down to the lake and back to the base of the chairlift. The longer trails were closed due to grizzly bear threat and snow, so we only walked 3 km/2 miles through Sunshine Meadows. Seeing patches of snow next to beautiful summer wildflowers was a strange juxtaposition.


We finished off our jam-packed day with a visit to iconic Johnston Falls, located halfway between Lake Louise and Banff along Bow Valley Parkway. Even at 6pm, the path to the falls was packed, but it was still unique to walk along the inside of a canyon with a rushing river below.


After we reached the first waterfall, the number of people dropped by quite a bit.


We stood in line to walk through a small cave to the base of the falls (had to keep our cameras away from the spray) and then kept trucking along.


The hike was only 3 km/2 miles total, but the elevation increased steadily the entire way there.


The second waterfall was definitely more beautiful than the first. We could have continued another 3km to the Ink Pots (seven bubbling mineral springs), but we opted to call it a day. We rewarded ourselves with ham and cheese sandwiches from Safeway.

28 comments:

  1. Peters fam7/26/2017

    Yay! Just what I was waiting for...;) the next day on this "tour"! Thanks again, Ellie! Hope you had a good meal now and again than just sandwiches after all that hiking you did ;) (aww...just a mammas heart coming out there :) I know you would have but I'm sure everything is expensive there and you were trying to keep it doable. Eagerly anticipating the next day...:)))

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post! More coming soon.

      We did make a point of getting a good, solid meal every couple days. Things were very expensive, though, so we only ate out a few times. :)

      Ellie

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  2. Peters fam7/26/2017

    Hi Ellie me again here. Would love to know how lodging is over there. Did you stay in the area or was it cheaper to stay a ways off? It usually is but was wondering how you did that. If it's too far away then it's just too inconvenient also to run back and forth. Is there lots of hotels in the area? Thanks!

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    1. Anonymous7/26/2017

      Hello! I've been following this series in Ellie's blog, and I'm actually a native Calgarian (so I grew up very close to the Rockies). Banff is by far the busiest and most expensive town in the area for lodging, but the camping can be beautiful and cheap. You can also look at staying in Canmore, which, in my opinion, is just as beautiful but much less touristy, or renting a cabin in Lake Louise could be cheaper, as well. You could also try staying at a B&B in any of these places. Obviously, there are better deals to be had in May and September then July/Aug.

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    2. Anonymous7/26/2017

      Forgot to mention, there are tons of hotels/hostels/lodging in the area.

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    3. Eh, because Canada is 150 years old, I do believe, camping is free, if U are Canadian, it's free, but I don't know if U are American, and so maybe this is a great time to come on over!!!!!

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    4. Peters fam7/27/2017

      Thanks anon for the info! Do you get to go often to the mountains? 😊

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    5. Thanks to the Calgarian who shared info! Since we booked our trip last minute, just about everything was booked up, but I was still able to find decently priced accommodations (B&Bs, cabins, and a hotel room along the Icefields Parkway for one night). We also stayed with family/friends for a few nights.

      Ellie

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    6. I would definitely recommend booking well in advance, especially if you have a particular location in mind where you would like to stay. Since there were so few options left, I booked our accommodations and then planned the trip around them.

      Ellie

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  3. Anonymous7/26/2017

    Thank you for your pictures. That is as close as I will ever get to seeing this type of thing, and by choice, because I am scared beyond words of bridges, and hiking anywhere where there could be bears or wild animals, and I am scared beyond words of heights too!

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    1. It's my pleasure. Glad you enjoyed the post. :)

      Ellie

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  4. You should come to Vancouver Island, BC sometime! It's just as if not more beautiful than Banff!!

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    1. Vancouver Island is on my list of places I would like to visit. :) Have you lived there your whole life?

      Ellie

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  5. Anonymous7/26/2017

    I am really enjoying this adventurous, exciting trip from the most glorious views right down to the humble fare! So thank-you very much Ellie and Mr H.! I am eager to see what is next?

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    1. I'm glad to hear that! More photos coming soon. :)

      Ellie

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  6. Anonymous7/26/2017

    I just love how you and Mr H completely embraced the Canadian Rockies experience. It sounds as though you thoroughly planned and researched the trip to make the most out of every day. You saw and did so many things. I am really enjoying hearing about your adventures and living the experience with you. I can remember the areas you talk about as a small child going there when it was not an international tourist destination yet all the way to 2017. I have seen so many changes to Banff and Jasper National Parks. My husband spent a few summers working at Lake Louise in the kitchen of the hotel as a university student earning money for the next semester. We have friends who live year round in Banff. My husband is an avid skier who took our children skiing there when they were growing up. It is part of what we consider home territory. To Peters fam, there are lots of hotels in the area. Canmore used to be cheaper than Banff, not so much anymore. Any driving to areas to hike, sightsee, explore are quite manageable. B and B options are always the cheaper way to go. You have to pay for a park pass, as well for the days you are there. You can't really stay a ways off because of the location: you are in the mountains. Because the American dollar exchange rate is in your favour,items may be cheaper than you expect. Thanks for sharing again Ellie. You write so well. Eileen

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    1. Peters fam7/27/2017

      Thanks Eileen for the info. It must be awesome to live by such a pretty place like the Canadian Rockies! We are not too far from a national park either but it's the Great Smoky Mountains. Don't get there as often as I'd like ��

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    2. Thank you for your kind words, Eileen. Sounds like you know the Rockies very well. What are some of your favorite hikes/views?

      Ellie

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  7. Anonymous7/26/2017

    Beautiful scenery. Thanks for sharing.
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

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    1. Thank you! It's my pleasure.

      Ellie

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  8. Hey Mr. Handsome!!!
    U went fishing, was it a luring thing to do in Canada's lakes, LOL!!!!!!

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    1. Lol. Your joke made my husband and me chuckle. :)

      Ellie

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  9. Anonymous7/27/2017

    Ellie, enjoying all the pictures and videos. I look at them over and over. Thanks Ellie and Mr. Handsome..Jane

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that, Jane. :)

      Ellie

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  10. Anonymous7/28/2017

    I've never been to Canada but from these photos and especially watching Heartland on Netflix, it is beautiful and would love to visit one day!!!!

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    1. I would definitely recommend visiting Canada. There are so many beautiful areas. I have yet to visit Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, but they are on my list.

      Ellie

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  11. Anonymous7/28/2017

    I love your pictures they remain me of The tv show that's
    on Up called Heartland.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures with us.

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    1. Glad to hear you're enjoying the pictures. A few people have mentioned that my posts remind them of Heartland. :)

      Ellie

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