“Pic of the Week”, May 7, 2021: Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Banff National Park

01 Rocky Mountain Bighorns

It’s not often that I’ve seen bighorn sheep traveling in family units — father, mother and youngster. But that’s exactly what we saw when visiting Banff National Park.  Usually, in my experience, if you encounter bighorn sheep they travel in larger herds, often females and their young stick together, as do groups of males.
But this family unit was standing in the snow on a rocky outcropping overlooking a group of human admirers. The small one — probably almost a year old — was especially cute hanging out beside dad, before deciding to wander off.
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Scenes from Banff National Park in Winter

06 Banff area winter

While the cold weather and especially the long winters can be a drag in Canada, there are some days when the beauty of the scenery almost makes it worth while.
Banff National Park is one of my favorite places in the world. My wife and I headed out there with our dogs a few weeks back (dogs on leashes are welcome in Canadian National Parks), and were rewarded with beautiful mountain landscapes.
Most of these photos were taken around Lake Minnewanka, the largest lake in the park, which was frozen sold. Lots of people were walking on the ice and, it being Canada, a hockey game was being played on the lake. The building in the middle of the ice is the …

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“Pic of the Week”, April 23, 2021: Crowfoot Glacier, Banff National Park

00 Crowfoot Glacier

Crowfoot Glacier is located in Banff National Park, off the Icefields Parkway, about 32 km (20 mi) northwest of Lake Louise. This hanging glacier rests on Crowfoot Mountain, with Bow Lake nearby (see photo below). Its meltwater drains into Bow Lake, then on down the Bow River and ultimately to Hudson’s Bay.
The glacier was originally named for its appearance of three claw-like ‘toes’.   The glacier has retreated since the end of the Little Ice Age and lost one ‘toe’ by the 1940s, but the name remains.
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“Pic of the Week”, August 7, 2020: Vermillion Lakes, Banff National Park

Banff area, summer 2014 (106) Vermillion Lakes

One of the iconic images of the Canadian Rockies is that of the Vermillion Lakes, with the distinctive mass of Mt. Rundle rising in the distance, and Sulphur Mountain to the right.
Vermillion Lakes are three interlinked lakes which lie just outside the Banff townsite.  The lakes are partially fed by warm water from the Sulphur mountain hot springs, which provides a somewhat sheltered micro-environment for animals in the cold winter months, so you’ll often spot wildlife in the area.
The lakes are popular with hikers, and canoes and kayaks can often be seen on the calm waters.  It’s a nice place to enjoy sunrise or sunset, or just to take in the lovely views.
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“Pic of the Week”, July 24, 2020: Lake Agnes, Banff National Park

01 Lake Agnes

One of the most popular day hikes in the Lake Louise area of Banff National Park is to visit Lake Agnes.  A 3.5 km trail through the forest on the north side of the lake gains 400 m (1300 ft) from Lake Louise’s shore to reach the hanging valley containing Lake Agnes.
Lake Agnes is beautifully framed by rugged snow and ice covered mountains.  It sits at 2135 m (7005 ft).  Lake Agnes was named after Canada’s First Lady, Agnes MacDonald, wife of Canada’s first Prime Minister.
One of the highlights of visiting Lake Agnes is to enjoy a snack or meal at its tea-house.  Established in 1905, the Lake Agnes tea-house serves a large assortment of tea but also home made …

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“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

IMG_8829

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.

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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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