For our last day in Banff, we toured the town and surrounding area.
We first took the loop around Lake Minnewanka. It is a large reservoir just outside of Banff. If you look closely at the right side of the first photo, you will see several Red Chairs at the end of the dock. Red Chairs point out great places for scenery and a view and just a place to relax in the park. They are throughout Canadian National Parks and we saw a number of them in our travels.
We went to Banff Springs Hotel, THE elegant place in town. Each of the towns has a hotel built by the Canadian Pacific Railroad as a way to encourage tourists to take the train to really scenic spots. Long after the railroad was THE way to travel, the hotels are still here and are truly elegant places. We had lunch at the Banff Springs Hotel overlooking a great view of Bow River, the mountains, and the valleys. We took the self guided tour of the hotel and noted that there was a wedding planned for that day and thought how great a place to have a wedding.
We went to the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. This is the place that started the National Parks in Canada. It was a hot spring with mineral water in the basin where at one time, you could relax in the pool. The sulfer in the water didn't seem pleasant to us but I understand that there was also lithium in the water which is great for relaxing you.
We drove out the Vermilion Lakes drive among the lakes that were adjacent to the Bow River. They are a great place to just relax and enjoy the mountain scenery all around you.
We drive along the other side of the Bow River from the Banff Springs Hotel which provided a great view back at the hotel. We continued up Tunnel Mountain Drive and stopped at the Hoodoo viewpoint where we could also look back at the hotel. The hoodoos were cute, but when you've seen Bryce Canyon, they seem, well, underwhelming.
Then it was back to our condo, and time to pack and reflect on our great week in Banff National Park and other parks, and the next day, we returned to Calgary to fly back to the Bay Area.
Retirement is great. We bought a travel trailer and are exploring National Parks. (Actually, we bought one and sold it and bought a second one better suited to us. It happens...) And I have time to do some woodworking projects and things around the house. And now I have gotten interested in ham radio so there goes any free time.