Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Banff. Stay and Visit

Tunnel Mountain Campground, within Banff National Park, is home for the next few days.  It's a full hook-up campground, rare in National Parks for either country. The road we're on is gray dust so even though the weather is perfect, we'll have to keep the windows closed to avoid choking. Drivers up here don't seem to mind throwing dust 35 feet in every direction when driving 30 mph (or 50 km) through a campground.  Duh.
Tunnel Mountain in the background. 
There are pockets of snow on top.

Banff reminds us of Gatlinburg on a grand scale even though it is still quaint, clean and enjoyable.
Banff is named for Banffshire, Scotland, birthplace of a major financier of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
In 1885, Banff was a stopping place along the brand new Canadian Pacific Railway. The area was simply referred to as "Siding 29".  Visitors soon began to discover the area and services moved closer to the main attraction of the day -- the mineral springs. 

Downtown Banff

Almost everything is made of log and I'm talking BIG logs.  Logging is still really big business here and several times today, Wayne and I both smelled the wood.  Nice.  We rode around town and found the golf course in the shadow of this huge mountain.
Golf course, of course.

See the top of the golf cart on the right.

Bow River runs through the town of Banff and Bow Falls is a scenic part of the river near the golf course, Banff Park National Museum and Banff Springs Hotel National Historic Sites.
Wayne read about the famous people who've been here before us.  Let's see now.... King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, Theodore Roosevelt, Jack Benny and lots more have escaped to enjoy the serenity of Bow River.
Otto Preminger directed Marilyn Monroe in 1953's River of No Return on this very spot.

In front of Bow Falls
The girls.
Lexie isn't impressed by the historical significance of the Banff Springs Hotel (behind).
Furthermore, she HATES the sound of waterfalls.

History of Banff Springs Hotel
Now part of the Fairmont Hotel chain, Banff Springs Hotel was built in the late 1880's at the instigation of the Canadian Pacific Railway president. It was a railway hotel built in the Scottish Baronial style originally as a wooden shingle structure. The hotel cost $250,000 to build but, due to an error, the hotel's back was turned to the beautiful mountain view. In 1911 the hotel was completely rebuilt of concrete and stone.
Originally the hotel could be seen from miles around.
Today, evergreens surround the hotel and it can easily be missed.

At Bow Falls, we met this nice couple who asked about Lexie.
Their Maltese lived to be 19 years and 8 months old.  It's ashes are carried in a small container in her purse.
She nearly cried talking about it.

The sunny day gave way to a few sprinkles so we made a quick dash back to the car.
(We're all made of sugar so we feared we'd melt)
The Upper Hot Springs Pool at Banff is high on a mountain top so we took a drive up to take a look. We did not go for a dip in the hot springs. We'll take a shower at home, thank you very much.

A gondola can be taken to outrageous mountain heights.
Lexie isn't allow on gondolas and if Lexie don't go... we don't go. 
We finished the day strolling the streets of Banff and finally stopped for a pizza at a sidewalk cafe.
Buffalo sausage pizza. Yum. It was S-O-O-O good.
We topped it with chili oil and honey. Yes, honey.  Sweet and savory.
Lexie sat in her Outward Hound and displayed perfect manners.
She got a treat after.
Leaving the village, I spotted this really cute moose tourist on top of a car and couldn't resist the photo op.

Tomorrow we'll take a drive down to see Lake Louise.

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