The Rockies Rock (Final Instalment!)

Trip Start May 06, 2010
Trip End Dec 17, 2010

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Where I stayed
Youth Hostel

Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Monday, June 21, 2010

Very sadly it was the last day of the tour today and we were therefore heading back to Banff.  Although we were revisiting some areas we had previously been in we took in some new sites along the way.  There was a lot more driving though which was understandable as we had covered quite a distance.

Our first stop of the day was Athabasca Falls.  On entrance to the falls there is a trail that you can walk along and there are a few different choices of paths you can take.  Our tour took us half an hour which was ample time to see the best of what the falls had to offer.  We first walked down hill and the sound of the water is magnificent.  Again, there are some beautiful looking rocks surrounding the falls in different shades of colours and different patterns due to their erosion from their proximity to the water.  At the very bottom of the falls there are lots of Inuikshuiks at the waters edge.  I'm not sure if tourists have made some of them or if they were put their hundreds of years ago but it was nice to see them after being told of the story behind them.  On the way down we passed a little pile of sticks that previous visitors had thrown coins into as if it was a stick wishing well.  Solen and I made a wish and threw in a (hopefully!) lucky cent.  My wish hasn't come true yet but here's hoping, there's still time!

Returning to the top of the trail we walked along a path which took you behind the waterfall.  It was great to see the water swirling and you got the spray from the force of the water.  As it was a sunny day the spray was reflected in the sun and rainbows were appearing which was very beautiful. 

The next stop involved just having some fun!  Shelly pulled over at a lay-by which had some beautiful mountains in the background and a large rock at the side of the road.  She stops here at every tour to allow her people to get some fun photos as momento.  Our first photo was kungfu fighting!  We set our camera to action picture or picture burst mode and then we paired up.  We had to run towards each other at a diagonal angle and as we got close to each other strike a kungfu pose!  The angle of the photos makes it look like you were really close to hitting each other and they do look cool!  Next pose was to jump off the rock and Shelly captured you mid air.  The junps look much more athlectic than they really were and I got a fab photo which instantly became my new facebook profile picture.  I've had loads of comments on it, everyone likes it!

Fun over we headed to the Weeping Wall.  There is a beautiful story attached to this which I have tried my very best to remember so I can recount it to you.  Here goes:

"There once was a tribe in the valley and a young couple wished to marry.  To do so tradition stated that the man had to go and live in the wilderness and prove his strength as a man so that the wedding would be granted.

He entered the wilderness but after a few days was kidnapped by a rival tribe and was forced into hard labour and treated very poorly.  He had no chance of escape.  Each day his fiancee entered the valley and prayed for his safe return and with each passing day she became more worried for him.  The months passed and there was no sign of him but still she came and prayed, desperately hoping that one day she would see him again.  

The spirits which lived in the stones heard her daily prayers and were touched by her plight.  They went to search for the man.  Eventually they found him and tried to rescue him but the evil spirits from the rival tribe were too strong and they could not release him.  Unable to free him they visited the spot where he was captive regularly to check he was alive.

One day a boy from the rival tribe fell into a river.  Without hesitation the kidnapped man jumped in to rescue him.  He managed to save the little boy and the tribe were astonished by his actions.  After treating him so poorly for so long they could not believe that he would save one of them.  To thank him they set him free and gave him directions of how to return his village.

His village was far away and after days of travelling he had still not managed to return home.  His fiancee was still visiting the valley each day praying for him.  The stone spirits went to his place of captivity and realised he had left and searched for him in the mountains.  Eventually they found him and guided him safely back to his village where he was reunited with his lost love.  

Shortly after the couple married and it is said that the stones were so happy for them that they cried tears of joy and these tears are the waterfall that is evident today."

Lake Peyto was our next stop.  We were lucky that we visited after a spell of good weather as just weeks previously Shelly had guided groups through knee high snow to get there taking hours.  Thankfully the walk to the lake took less than ten minutes for us!  Lake Peyto is absolutely stunning.  The water is a deep turqouise and it is just beautiful.  We spent about half an hour there just admiring the view and taking photos, one of which is my profile picture for this blog.

Our last stop of the day was Moraine Lake where we climbed up rocks to a nature made rock seat from which you could view the lake and the mountains behind.  Shelly said a brown bear had been there once when she visited and had entered the water towards people in their boats before going onto the land on the other side and disappearing into the woods.  Only marmots were around for us, a lot less scary!

The drive back was quite long and at one point we were held up in a massive traffic jam as they were blasting rocks in order to construct a road.  Remember I said this was a girls only trip?  So, what do girls do when they are stuck in a traffic jam for half an hour?  They turn up the music and have an impromptu road side disco that's what!  We got a lot of stares, but it was bloody good fun and a much better way to pass the time than cooking in the van

We had a night out on our return to Banff and that was the end of our tour. 

If Shelly reads this blog I would like to say a huge thank you for what was probably the best 4 days I have ever had.  The tour would not have been so fantastic without Shelly, she makes it what it is and she is truly awesome.

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