A day in Banff National Park
Due to the buildings parking garage being cleaned we had to vacate from our parking spot for the day, so decided to use it wisely by going over to Banff National Park.
We had to be out of the building by 9am and had an appointment at 10am, so once this was accomplished we drive straight towards Banff on Highway 1. It was pretty cold as we set out, -10 or so, but it was promising to warm up a bit. Anyway, we were in the truck, so really didn't care.
Once we got to the Banff area, we had to pay for our day pass which was just under $20. Last year we had an annual pass and because it was Canada's 150 birthday they were free, so we had forgotten that we needed to pay this year. The annual pass is $137, but for now we just got the day one.
Once we got into the national park, we decided to divert off Highway 1 and instead follow 1A which is much quieter and stands a better chance of seeing wildlife.
Unfortunately, the wildlife had taken the day off and we saw absolutely nothing. We had planned to take 1A straight to Lake Louse and then detour off, but as we got towards the end of the road it had been closed off for maintenance.
Fortunately is was blocked just outside a chalet hotel place which has a cafe. We decided to pop in for a drink and stretch our legs. We also needed to use the bathroom, but couldn't find it. It turned out to be in a completely separate building and hidden down some stairs near a conference room. Oh well, back to the cafe for a drink!
I asked what drinks were available and it was only coffee, so Chris had a coffee and had to go without as I hate the stuff. The woman serving did get my hopes up when she said she had tea, but then explained it was only herbal tea, so I gave that a miss. Even though the coffee was just a bog standard one, they still changed $4.50 for it. I suppose if you can afford to spend the night at one of these places, you don't care about the price of a coffee!.
On the road again, we found a road called highway 93 so decided to take that and see where we ended up. Unfortunately, we hadn't gone far when we came to sign that said all vehicles must have either snow tires or chains to proceed. As we had neither, we turned round and headed back towards Banff on the 1A. Although we saw other cars that didn't seem to have winter tires, we knew it would be our luck to get pulled over, so it wasn't worth the risk.
Remembering the last time we went to Banff and the stunning scenery, we decided to drive to the end of the river by the Banff Spring Hotel to see what the river and the waterfall looked like this time year. As you can see from the photos, the town itself was far less busy and the river almost frozen over.
After leaving Banff, we took the switchback road up to Norquay where there are stunning views over Banff. When we went in the summer it was amazing and we stood at the top of the mountain admiring the view. Well. today was a little different. It was very cold and there was a lot of snow in the ground , so we didn't hang around for too long, but the views were still amazing.
After this, time was getting on and we knew that there was snow forecast in the area for early evening so we set off back to Calgary. I really didn't want to cook when we got home so we went to Swiss Chalet for a meal. When we were in Ontario we often ate there, but hadn't been there since we arrived in Calgary last July. So it made a pleasant change. Chris had a half chicken dinner and I had a quarter dinner, but they gave us tons of fries!
We had planned on having a dessert, but couldn't manage it after all this, even though neither of us actually finished all the fries. Now totally stuffed, we headed home and relaxed for the rest of the evening. What a great day!