Wednesday July 13, 2016

If you tried to design a place with scenery that would forever knock your socks off, it would probably look a lot like Banff and its surrounding Banff National Park. Everywhere you turn there are thumping great mountains, fast-flowing rivers, tumbling icy glaciers, and dazzling turquoise lakes. Yes, New Zealand’s got this stuff too, but here in the Canadian Rockies, the scale is so much greater, grander and oversized … with ooh-aah moments around every corner.

On Monday, after driving from Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway, we tasted the scenic delights of this charming resort town – like Bow Falls, the Hoodoo Lookout, Lake Minnewanka, Surprise Corner, a tasty feed at the ‘Maple Leaf Grill’, and a relaxing sleep-inducing soak (for those who were up for it) in the heated whirlpool at our Banff hotel!

Then, yesterday, a super-treat awaited us at the nearby Columbia Icefield, one of the largest accumulations of chilly white/blue ice south of the Arctic. En route we visited Lake Louise – the ‘Jewel of the Rockies’, with its stunning mountain-and-snow backdrop, and gorgeous even under cloudy, rain-threatening skies. Then we motored further north via one of the most spectacular mountain routes in North America, alongside towering peaks, tranquil lakes and cascading waterfalls.

We grabbed seats aboard a specially designed ‘Snow-Coach’ for a very steep downhill drive onto the massive Athabasca Glacier … a walk-round on its vast slip-sliding surface … and a drink of pure, freezing-cold glacial water. A true Ice Age adventure!

Earlier in the day, we interrupted an agitated ground-squirrel. And on our way back to Banff/dinner/plus shut-eye, we spotted a healthy-looking black bear, foraging in the bushes for tasty ‘buffalo-berries’.

STILL TO COME: A two-day ride on the luxury Rocky Mountaineer from Banff, up into the spectacular Canadian Rockies, then all the way to the west coast of Canada and Alaska. Stay tuned …

PEOPLE-NEWS: Another quacky Yellow Duck has found a new home …

  • Margaret (Taylor) won our ‘Knock Three Times’ Award – for tap-tap-tapping on the wrong door late last night in search (she says) of tea-bags. Yeah, right!

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

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About John Cooney

John Cooney and his wife Robyn have enjoyed more than their fair share of travel. They hesitate to call themselves ‘experts’ – but they’ve grabbed every chance that’s come their way to explore new countries, cultures and customs. They’ve had the privilege (both on their own and as the leaders of numerous successful group-tours) to sample many stunning destinations: Europe, the UK, Singapore, Vanuatu, the USA, Israel, Egypt, Africa, Dubai, China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And their recent (and most pleasant) memories are of the places ancient-and-modern that border the Mediterranean. John and Robyn are at-home in airports, hotels, cruise ships, and the like … and they know how to make the most of a unique travel opportunity. Travel, they reckon, is an all-five-senses experience – a chance to see, feel, smell, hear and taste the world. And they’ve done it often enough to know for sure: sightseeing with a group of laid-back Kiwis is DOUBLE the fun – lots of laughs, great company, and memories that last forever!

2 thoughts on “BANFF … AND GLACIAL ICE

  1. Hi from us both – we are both very excited for you all on what sounds to be an exciting and wonderful holiday, wish we could be with you, but we are looking forward to our French Holiday which is not far away. Continue to enjoy your tour and enjoy every moment with lots of laughs and memories – regards Carole and Norman

  2. A message for Frankie, photos look great hope you are keeping warm. Expecting big winds and lots of rain here, will follow you on the map Love Lynn

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