As always, we were up and out early. We had driven around the south end of Glacier National Park the day before and determined that the potential route was simply not advisable with windy mountain roads and significant construction. We were very thankful to have made that determination in the Toad instead of in Contessa.
The Canadian border crossing was a breeze with a 5 minute conversation with the Customs & Immigration agent and we were on our way! The plains of southern Alberta were beautiful with fields of canola and hay.
We took two days to get to Canmore and the Bow River Campground in the Bow River Provincial Park. It was a delightful campground and perfectly located for our week. Jan Mills, a great friend from our years in The Keys and a resident of Alberta, joined us for an idyllic week of unimaginable beauty and memories.
Our first full day was spent in nearby Banff – a bustling city full of history and other tourists! The Banff Springs Hotel with its rich history and beautiful grounds was the first of what would be three “destination hotels” we would see built by the Canadian Pacific Railroad to entice passengers to travel west to enjoy the majesty of the Canadian Rockies.
Over the next week, we would see the Bow River (for which our campground and so many other things take their name) many times as it begins its way from the glaciers and mountains of the Rockies to the prairies, joining the Oldman River and then the South Saskatchewan River on its ultimate destination to Hudson Bay.
“The Cave and Basin”
While surely this was a sacred site by many tribes wiWth its sulphur hot springs, the first recorded reference to the hot springs was by James Hector during the Palliser Expedition in 1859. It wasn’t until two workers of the Canadian Pacific Railway, William McCardell and Frank McCabe brought national attention to the Cave and Basin. They built a small cabin beside the skylight entrance to the cave, with the intent to commercialize the site. Conflicting claims and concern for this amazing site prompted intervention by the Canadian government. In 1885, the Cave and Basin, Banff Hot Springs Reserve was established and became the genesis for Canada’s National Park System. On this amazing journey, we have now visited the first National Park of the USA (Yellowstone) and now the first of Canada!
Next we were off to the Banff Gondola and a rise to a shoulder summit of Sulphur Mountain. An eight-minute ride whisked us comfortably up almost 3,000′ to an elevation of 7,486′. The view of six mountain ranges and the town of Banff far below was superb.
Then, as we did most evenings, we returned to Contessa for a calm, relaxing and enjoyable evening at home, including a great meal and much laughter.
2 thoughts on “From Glacier to the Canadian Rockies”
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