Whistler and Banff
Trip Start Jun 06, 2005
20Trip End May 31, 2006
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So firstly Whistler, and what a great place it is. A winter ski resort that transforms itself into a extreme mountain bikers heaven. The slopes are re-designed and it attracts nutters from all over the world.
It has a very young and vibrant feel, it's not long before you get caught up in the atmosphere. Everybody is fit and good looking (we stood out like sore thumbs) and very friendly.
We stopped at the best campsite in Canada and it was only 5 minutes from the Village. This is where you start to get the feel for this type of mountain terrain. The view from the campsite.
The village is at the base of two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb and has a typical ski resort look about it.
There is lots of shopping, restaurants, pubs and sporting activities to please anyone but can be quite pricey. Our first trip up Whistler was in a cable car (gondola) which was a little scary but we were rewarded with great views.
The gondola stops just below the peak at a place called the Roundhouse Lodge where we took these shots.
After a BBQ at the Roundhouse we found a bar that did a pitcher of beer for C$10 and that was us for the night.
We found ourselves getting caught up in the moment and booked an All Terrain Vehicle trip from the base to the peak of Whistler Mountain. This comprised of a 4 hour ride up and down the mountain and dinner in the middle. Chris would be driving and Kelly would be holding on for dear life.
We had a great perspective of the surrounding mountain ranges and of Whistler itself. It only took a short time for Chris to announce himself an expert and was flinging the machine around like a pro (not really).
This picture was taken half way up.
Our destination was the 7100ft peak and a stunning 360 degree view of the world.
On the way down we decided try some extreme sports, so Chris did some 'extreme steering' and Kelly did some 'extreme holding'. When in Rome.....
More pics above of Whistler.
Ok, so after 3 great days we have a 12 hour journey to Banff. We didn't quite realize just how amazing this would be and how different from anything we had already encountered. We broke the drive up with a stop at Sicamous for a night on the BC - Alberta border. It was quite nice but we woke up to find our beer stolen out of the cooler...You never steal another mans beer!!!! So we stocked up and drove on.
The drive was along the Trans-Canada Highway which follows many rivers and mountain ranges culminating with a great drive over the Rocky Mountains. We took many pictures along the way.
5 hours later we arrived in Banff at the Tunnel Mountain provincial campsite. This is Tunnel Mountain from which the campsite takes its name. On entrance the warden warned us of Grizzly bears, Wolves and Cougars.....nice neighborhood 'eh.
Banff is Canada's highest town at 4540 ft above sea level and takes its name from Banffshire in Scotland. Banff is a ski resort in the winter but is also a year round attraction, just not as developed as Whistler. There are a lot of side trips to do here with even more amazing views. After what we have seen today and looking back at the photos of Whistler (which we thought had great views) they now seem almost mediocre.
After exploring downtown, we took a short trip to Lake Minnewanka, yes that is it's name...ha..ha..(simple things).
Then we came upon a little recreation area called Cascade Pits and Two Jack Lake.
We walked around the pond and found we had to cross a small section...Look at Chris's face!!!
Next we're off to Bow River and Bow Falls just a short way out of town.
All that in one day and we had thought these sights were something special but then we took a day trip to Lake Louise and Lake Moraine. Within 10 mins of each other and only 30 mins from Banff these two lakes are fed from Glacier flows and both have amazing but different coloured water.
This is Lake Louise in the background is Mount Victoria and the ice you see is the Victoria Glacier.
We packed a sandwich and hired a canoe to have lunch on the lake. The above picture doesn't quite show the lake colour but look at these two.
After burning ourselves on the lake and eating lunch we headed to Lake Moraine...we thought it couldn't be much better than Lake Louise but yet again we were wrong.
The lake is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, you can see them behind the lake.
It has been really hard to explain this part of the trip because around every corner there is another amazing view. Sorry we keep using 'amazing' but it is. As you drive you see the same mountains from different angles and in different light it totally changes your perception. We are now mountained out..and we feel quite bad that what we thought was brilliant yesterday becomes average with each new sight we see if that makes any sense. Believe us when we say the photos really don't do these places any justice. You can't capture the feeling of being surrounded on all sides by massive chunks of rock and ice it has been truly humbling.
So we say goodbye to Canada and head out tomorrow for Glacier National Park in Montana, probably to see even more amazing views. Thanks to all the people we met and shaped our experience of Canada. You have a lovely country and you've done it proud.
Jacks Fact : The bullfrog is the only animal that never sleeps.
See you on the other side!!!
Where I stayed