We traveled to Banff National Park, and hope to see it and the surrounding Canadian National Parks along the Canadian Rockies. This was a fly-to trip and we stayed in a timeshare condo in the town of Banff with our neighbor, Leslie.
On our first day at Banff National Park, we drove up the Bow River Parkway. It parallels Route 1, which is a 4 lane freeway, but Bow River Parkway is a two lane road and therefore much more relaxed. Our first stop was at Johnson Canyon and waterfall. We walked up the trail and catwalks (not as scary as they sound, not scary at all) to the lower falls, and decided we were more interested in moving on than going to the upper falls. We stopped at the overlook for Castle Mountain, and were disappointed that it was rather foggy so we couldn't see the top of Castle Mountain.
We then proceeded up Bow River Parkway only to discover that it was closed for road construction. We had missed any signs they posted about this, which weren't very noticeable at least to us, and had to backtrack to Castle Junction where we continued up Route 1 to Lake Louise. When we got there, we stopped for lunch at a pretty forgettable restaurant in Lake Louise Village, and learned that the village is a distance from Lake Louise, andthere were so many people driving there that the parking lot at Lake Louise was full, so we stopped at the visitor centre (note their spelling) and learned that we needed to go 5 km back toward Banff and take the shuttle. We also learned that the parking lots at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake fill very early, Moraine Lake by 8 am and Lake Louise soon after. We made plans to go early the next morning.
We arrived at Lake Louise by shuttle (a big yellow school bus) and walked down to the lake. The lake is gorgeous and the crowds were oppresive, especially those taking selfies at the lake shore. After gawking a bit, we decided to go into Fairmont Lake Louise and get something to drink. We ended up in the bar with a great view of the lake through a perfect iconic window. After our imbibing, we walked partly around the lake shore. Then we went back to our car at the overflow parking lot and headed back to our condo at Banff Rocky Mountain Resort, which was a great place to base our travels. We really aren't using the resort facilities, but the suite is working fine for us, with a kitchen so we can have breakfast and snacks there.
We went to one of the restaurants listed in our Moon Guide Book as a starred place, Ticino, which has traditional food as well as fondue. Leslie had the cheese fondue and we had regular dinners. It was good but not great. We then found the local IGA after realizing that it was the former Safeway we were looking for. We got our provisions and learned that alcoholic beverages are not sold in the store, so we visited the liquor store around the corner. We asked the checkout clerk at IGA if it would be open after we left the grocery store at about 9, and she laughed and told us they were open until at least 11 pm. Good to know. We decided to buy all Canadian wines, which were expensive as were all wines. I didn't know that we were used to such bargain wine pricing back in California.
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.