Canada 2017 – Banff, Lake Louise & the Bow Valley Parkway Part 1

27th June, 2017.

As mentioned in the previous post, not being able to stay at Banff or Lake Louise turned out for the best for us. Both places were teeming with people and we certainly would not have enjoyed staying in either place. Instead we “commuted” to Banff on a Roam Transit bus from Canmore for the princely sum of CAD6 each, each way. It was only a 20 minute trip and the bus stop was just across the road from our camp site in Canmore.

This electronic board kept updating with the arrival time of our bus and it was spot on.

This bicycle repair station was located on a cycle path close to the bus stop. Quite ingenious.

Erich got to enjoy the view in comfort.

We booked the Hop On Hop Off Banff bus tour which picked us up at the railway station in Banff where our transit bus dropped us. Stopping at Johnston Canyon, Lake Louise Gondola, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake along the Bow Valley Parkway, it gave us the opportunity to get off where we wanted to explore and then catch a later bus to our next stop. It really was a fantastic way to see all those sights without the hassle of driving ourselves.

One of the distinctive yellow school buses used by the bus company. They were ideal to photograph wildlife from as the top part of the windows drop down to allow unrestricted views and it was always easy for us to find our bus.

First stop was Johnston Canyon and around 1.5km walk to the lower falls.

We were so pleased that we got there before the hordes arrived. The walk back to the bus stop was like swimming against the tide!

We could have done a longer walk to the upper falls but it was going to be a long day and we didn’t want to exhaust ourselves too early. Another couple from our bus did the extra distance and said the lower falls were nicer than the upper falls so we were happy about that.

With around a half hour before our next bus was due, I was able to surf the internet using the free wifi from a tour bus parked close by while we enjoyed a coffee.

This old timer was parked in the car park.

Back on the bus, it wasn’t long before we saw our first wild bear of the day. When wildlife is sighted it is common for all vehicles to just stop in their lane with hazard lights flashing. Fortunately this was not on the Trans Canada Highway. The following shots of a Cinnamon Black Bear were taken from the safety of the bus.

We were told this was the best time to see bears as early in the season they come down to the valleys to feed on the dandelions growing close to the roads. As the season goes on and dandelions begin flowering higher up the valleys, the bears retreat to feed on them there and are less likely to be seen by tourists.

Next stop – Lake Louise Gondola.

To be continued…..

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