Whamff, Banff, thank you mamff

Trip Start Sep 03, 2008
Trip End Oct 01, 2008

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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Saturday, September 13, 2008

Well, we did it again.  This time it was a 2-lane road, and one in Canada, but it still led to a one-horse town.  Because we got a jump on today by passing up the small town and driving to Spokane, we got to our destination of beautiful downtown Cranbrook, British Columbia at 1:30 today.  Instead of killing a half a day in a railroad town, we cancelled the reservation and headed for Banff, Alberta.  Banff is a stone's throw from Lake Louise, which gets us there a day early.

The drive finally brought us some trees to look at.  We drove through Coeur D'Alene, Idaho this morning, and it is absolutely gorgeous.  There is a huge hotel on the lake which was built hoping for Casino gambling (which never came), but it seems to be doing well, and the lake is beautiful.  As we crossed the Canadian border, the mountains got higher, the trees got higher, and the scenery more beautiful.  For some reason; however, all the water we saw today was crystal clear and turquoise.  Very strange color.  I suspect copper.  We passed through the Kootenay National forest, and the views were spectacular!  Very high and jagged snow-capped peaks, lush pine forests, mountain streams.  We had a semi driver get real cute and tailgate us down an 8% grade at 65 miles an hour, but we managed to stay alive and shake him off.

There were thousands of acres in the park that have been burned off by forest fires.  None of them look recent, but it makes you realize that Mother Nature has her way, and it is part of the cycle of renewing the animal habitats.  Speaking of animals we finally saw some wildlife.  There were a mother and baby elk walking in the road (not across, in) ahead of us for a while, and we got a real good look at a moose (Natasha and Boris were nowhere to be seen, though).  The last 20 miles were in the rain.  We got to Banff, and drove through town.  I was expecting a small rural town and found the Canadian version of Aspen. Beautiful hotels, fancy shops and restaurants, and tour busses as far as the eye can see.  We found a very nice hotel and settled in, scouted out a place for dinner which turned out to be very ordinary, but if you stick to places you know, you never find a gem.

Tomorrow, if the weather clears, we will go see Lake Louise.  Since we have squeezed a day out of our itinerary, we can spend a whole day here.  If it rains, we will kick around Banff and then head for Calgary (60 miles), then catch Lake Louise Sunday.  We have to stay in Calgary tomorrow, as we missed the cancellation deadline at 4:00 today.

We haven't killed each other yet, and we are still having the time of our lives.
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