The Fantasy Canadian Rockies Caravan Begins

Trip Start Jun 22, 2012
Trip End Aug 15, 2012

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Where I stayed
Springs Creek Campground

Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Friday, July 13, 2012

Beginning with this entry I am now sharing my blog with Fantasy Tours.  At least until I am deemed unworthy. 

Wed. 7/11 we drove here from Great Falls, Mt.  The border crossing was a breeze and we had a discussion with the Canadian Border Guard about Scranton, Pa. and their financial woes.  Driving north to Calgary we saw a couple of things that were unique.  First, the area was covered with beautiful fields of canola, a crop I was not familiar with.  It is a large cash crop in the plains provinces of Canada.  Second, up here they not only mow their roadsides and medians but they also bale it in large round bales.  I'd love to know what they do with it.  Calgary was a very impressive city.  Many of the other caravaners were there for the Stampede and they all said they loved it.  To us it appeared very modern and extremely busy.
We spent the 12th just getting organized, doing laundry, and resting.  2400 miles kind of caught up with us.  The campground is very busy and offers adequate services.  Canmore is not to large but offers virtually anything you need.  We have already met a fellow traveler from close to where we were born and raised, another entry into the "small world" category..

Official Kick-off day began with an impromptu auto tour of the Banff area which gave us an overview of the area so we could choose what to do on Sunday.  A bonus was running across a small Dall sheep herd that was very cooperative with photographers.  Sat. afternoon brought us orientation and introductions of all the fellow travelers.  We have a very diverse group although all appear to be retired or at least semi-retired.  The day concluded with the Oh Canada, EH! dinner show starring an energetic and talented group of young performers.  Tomorrow brings our first official tour and we are all anxious to start.

Saturday, 7/14, was our first bus tour which started with much good natured grumbling at 7:30 AM.  Our Brewster coach was driven by a young man named Darren who was very knowledgeable about the area and shared that knowledge while we were driving.  Our tour began at Johnson Canyon, a beautiful gorge flowing with glacier runoff.  Most of us hiked to the Lower Falls and back.  Tanna told us that the water volume this year is higher than she has ever seen it and Darren agreed.  Every stream we saw was just roaring down the mountain.  From the Canyon we headed to Moraine Lake and again, most of us climbed the "rockpile" to get good pictures.  Time now for the bountiful buffet at the Lake Louise Chateau and an opportunity to see how the rich people recreate.  They were preparing to have a wedding at lakeside and, as a father of four daughters, I shuddered to think what that event was costing the poor old dad.  After lunch we ventured on to view the Takakaw Falls, Emerald Lake, and the Natural Bridge.  The water volume at the falls and the bridge was simply awesome.  We were very lucky to schedule our tour at this time.  Along the way this day we saw an elk, two black bears feasting on dandelions, and a massive bull moose. (I am attaching a short video taken by Fred Lyngard of the moose.)  We were returned to our units by 5:30 PM, kind of tired, but very happy with our experience.

Sunday, 7/15, was a free day and Donna and I traveled back to Banff for some shopping.  Luckily we went in the AM because by 1 the rain had moved in.  But, we were able to get some t-shirts and a couple of other things.  Tomorrow we leave Canmore and head to Jasper.  My next entry will describe our stay there.

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