Banff, Yoho & Kootenay NP's.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Where I stayed
Redstreak Campground Kootenay National Park
Read my review - 2/5 stars

Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Thursday, September 29, 2011

We are truly in wild bear country.

Every campsite or roadside stop warns about how to deal with a bear you may have a chance encounter with (don't run !!) and not to leave any food out to attract bears. Rubbish bins (trash in Canada) have anti bear locks that require you to slip your fingers under a narrow latch to release a secret button.
We had an absolutely beautiful campsite deep in the Banff National Park on the banks of the Saskatchewan River and there nailed to the picnic table was a reminder about bears just in case we had forgotten. Gathering firewood for our campfire and heading off to the bush toilet were always undertaken with a degree of caution and with bears uppermost in our mind! Sometimes our imaginations would work overtime when we heard noises in the bush while sitting quietly by our campfire and we would resort to one of the instructions when dealing with bears - make plenty of noise by talking loudly. We did not however have any bear encounters while camping.

The very famous and much photographed Lake Louise in Banff National Park was not a place you would have to be wary about bears - the sheer quantity of Japanese tourists would have scared them off! Lake Louise is the iconic photo of Canada that 50 years ago graced many Australian walls - gorgeous lake with snow capped peaks.The picture was often mounted behind glass with an etched scalloped edge and sometimes had a bible verse underneath. It was a little disappointing for us due, not only to the number of tourists, but also because we had seen other lakes, like Peyto and Bow earlier which seemed more beautiful. 

What we can never get used to when travelling is that tourists all want to have themselves in the picture. This seems especially so with the Japanese but is certainly not limited to them. It seems that the beauty of the scenery is slightly second to how they will appear in the photo and the main focus of the camera is on the person. It can be quite annoying trying to get a perfect shot of an amazingly beautiful scene when there are people trying again and again to get themselves looking perfect in their photo! 

For several days we travelled and camped in the parks of Jasper, Banff, Yoho and Kootenay absolutely stunned by the majesty of the mountains, rivers and glaciers. Such emotive sounding names as "Kicking Horse Pass", "Emerald Lake", "Radium Hot Springs" and "Mistaya Canyon" took our attention. Mostly the weather was cold but sunny, with only a half a day in Kootenay Park with constant rain and fog. Being at the very end of the season, some of the campsites and attractions are closed already, and ominous signs warn that after 1st October "chains must be carried" and winter tyres be on. Our little Wicked van has neither, and October 1st is looming but the weather is holding for us and the real bonus is that roads and campsites are almost empty. Camp sites are excellent with fireplaces, picnic tables and long drop toilets with paper and chemical hand wash. By the size of the camping grounds and car parks though the busy season must be just awful!

We've taken hundreds of photos, maybe even a thousand between us, of this beautiful place but it is now time to move on to different scenery, and the strange sounding area in Alberta called "Badlands". 

Footnote: Banff, Yoho, Kootenay National Parks and Assiniboyne Provincial Park are UNESCO World Heritage Listed under Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks. Hamber Provincial Park is also part of the listing but not featured as is difficult to access.
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