“Pic of the Week”, July 19, 2019: Indian Trading Post, Banff

02 Indian Trading Post, Banff

One of the classic places to visit in the Banff townsite, within Banff National Park, is the Indian Trading Post.  It has been around since 1903 and was originally called the “Sign of the Goat Curio Shop”.  It’s one of those places that hasn’t changed much during the years.  

Situated on the bank of the Bow River, it is removed from the busy touristy part of Banff.  The exterior decorative items are interesting, but not as interesting as what you find when you enter the shop.

The walls of the shop are a museum of taxidermy, with a large variety of local species on display.  Initially dealing primarily in furs, the shop now sells mostly First Nations (Aboriginal) handicrafts.  These include items like …

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“Pic of the Week”, June 28, 2019: Peyto Lake, Alberta

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One of the classic symbols of the Canadian Rockies is Peyto Lake, which is situated adjacent to Icefields Parkway, the road which connects Banff and Jasper.  Peyto Lake is a popular stop with travelers who enjoy taking in this panoramic view from Bow Summit.

The lake is glacier fed, the glacial silt giving it a lovely milky turquoise-green color.  It sits at 1860 m (6100 ft) above sea level.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

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Banff National Park’s best Short Hike — Moraine Lake Rockpile Trail

moraine lake

Moraine Lake is located a few miles south of Lake Louise in Banff National Park, in one of the most scenic and breath-taking locales of the Canadian Rockies.  In the winter the lake is buried under a thick layer of snow and not accessible by car.  The road leading to Moraine Lake is a popular cross-country skiing destination once enough snow has accumulated for the Park Service to groom it, but the skiing trail ends well before the lake because of high avalanche risk within its valley.  During the summer months (June – Sept) Moraine Lake is popular and busy, even though it doesn’t thaw out until late June.  Parking is limited so it’s best to arrive early.  The lake …

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Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Banff

35-02 Cave and Basin (58)

The Cave and Basin National Historic Site is a small site just outside the town of Banff, but is important to Canadians because it was a catalyst to the formation of Canada’s first national park, Banff National Park.

Historic aspects

The Cave and Basin is the lowest of nine sulphurous hot springs, arranged in three groups, on Banff’s Sulphur Mountain.  The water is heated geothermally at a depth of about 3 km (2 mi) and escapes to the surface at these sites.  The Cave and Basin is the only natural cavern in the area big enough to comfortably accommodate groups of people.

Humans have inhabited this region for at least 10,000 years, back to the retreat of the massive …

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A visit to the Historic Banff Springs Hotel

09 Banff Springs Hotel

Situated in the heart of beautiful Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the world famous Fairmont Banff Springs stands like a castle dominating the pretty alpine town of Banff, Alberta.  Nestled between Mt. Rundle, Tunnel Mountain and Sulphur Mountain, it offers some of the best alpine scenery in the world.  It’s just a short 10 minute stroll from the hotel along the beautiful Bow River to the Banff townsite, where a large number of shops, restaurants and other services are located.

Fairmont Banff Springs is a year-round luxury resort that offers access to activities as diverse as horse-back riding and golf, to superb skiing in the winter.  The hotel has been serving guests for more …

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The Banff Park Museum National Historic Site.

06b Banff Museum 08-2015

Today we’re going to visit Western Canada’s oldest Natural History Museum, the quirky yet fascinating Banff Park Museum National Historic Site.   I first visited this museum as a boy decades ago and it’s one of the few things around that hasn’t changed over the years.

Situated at a prime location in Banff, beside the Bow River at the corner of Buffalo St  and Banff Ave, there’s a large building constructed of logs, the Banff Park Museum.   It’s been declared a national historic site because the museum’s original exhibits are still on display, a collection reflecting an early (some might even say “primitive”) approach to the interpretation of Western Canada’s natural history.  Also, the architectural style and detailing of …

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“Pic of the Week”, October 17, 2014: Black Bear, Banff National Park

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This is one of my favorite wildlife photos from this past year.  The bear was wandering in the ditch along the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park, foraging as he went.  He didn’t seem to mind my stopping beside the road, rolling down the passenger window and snapping his picture.  Seems almost posed, but he was actually moving at a pretty brisk pace. When he came across a berry bush, he’d stop and suck all the fruit off — almost like a living vacuum cleaner — then move on!

(Click on thumbnail to enlarge)

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Banff National Park: Hiking Tunnel Mountain

026 Tunnel Mountain Banff National Park

As summer is upon us, I thought  I’d feature another walk from the Canadian Rockies, this one directly accessible from downtown Banff on a trail that’s been around almost as long as Banff itself has.  The hike is up Tunnel Mountain, a misnamed place in that there is no tunnel and this “mountain” is really just a large hill when compared to the size and grandeur of the other Rocky Mountains peaks around it (it’s the smallest mountain by Banff, but definitely still a memorable peak).  There are wonderful views to be enjoyed from much of the trail, reason enough to make this a worthwhile hike.

The original name given to this peak by the natives was “Sleeping Buffalo Mountain” (because the …

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