01.04.2008 - 01.04.2008 -3 °C
We discovered Banff after leaving Lake Louise and driving along the Bow Valley Parkway. A scenic alternative to the Trans Canada highway, and a welcome relief from the many trucks on the highway. We did drive into a snow storm on our way to Banff which slowed the pace for a while and we were also on the lookout for the first grizzly bear of the season that had been spotted north of Banff (somewhere??).
Banff is a a very quaint and pretty town surrounded by mountains with lots of great little shops. A huge amount of accomodation choices however doing some research on Expedia before we left narrowed down our options and the first motel we pulled into was ours for the night. The Ptarmigan Inn was very central and no one felt like going out for dinnner after our big afternoon dessert so the hunter and gatherer of the crew braved the elements and trekked off down the main street returning with piping hot wood fired pizzas- yum.
We woke to glorious sunny skies which was a welcome change and the pull to hit the shops was overwhelming!!
I managed to find myself some gorgeous furlined snow boots which would have been really useful last week, (should have gone to Banff first) but will be awesome for the rest of the week then later when we are in Alaska.
As the skies were sooo blue we thought we should also take the opportunity to go up the Banff gondola at Sulphur Mountain. This wasn't on our must do list but the magic weather pushed it up the list.
The kids were amazed at the gondola. We had been taking the Big White gondola a couple of times a day but to ride this gondola so high was a real treat. We enjoyed looking at all the different animal tracks in the snow from above and trying to guess what they all were.
Getting off the gondola we were very pleased to have worn all our ski jackets, gloves and scarves! It was windy and freezing cold! From the gondola building there is a decked path upto the summit of Sulphur Mountain. It was still mostly snow covered and such a picturesque path that we trekked off on the walk to the top where the original weather station building still stands. On arrival, with frozen fingers from taking photos and video we marvelled at the fact that for 43 years a meteorologist climbed Sulphur Mountain a couple of times a week and stayed overnight in the little bunkhouse just to report the weather. We took a couple more photos and retreated very quickly back to the warmth of the building.