Where: Eastern Slope of the Rocky Mountains about 80 miles west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Today’s Weather Forecast: Sunny, High: 82*F, Low: 48*F
Escape the summer swelter and soak up the rugged beauty of waterfalls, jewel-toned lakes, and granite peaks. You can camp, but there’s no need to rough it here. The resort town of Banff offers charming boutiques and restaurants, and chateau-style hotels. As you head out for dinner, grab a light jacket in anticipation of a chill in the air after sunset. Sleep well, because adventure awaits!
Things to do:
Banff National Park offers four-season outdoor recreation. Relax in the hot springs which have drawn visitors for over 100 years. Watch for wildlife including grizzly, caribou and wolves while hiking, canoeing, fishing or cycling. For a summertime adrenaline rush, try whitewater rafting. Return in the winter to ski or snowboard, or if you’re especially adventurous, climb a frozen waterfall.
Step back in time to the Old west at Bar U Ranch. Ride in a horse-drawn wagon, learn how to make butter and rope and do laundry the old-fashioned way. Special events include a chuckwagon cookoff, rodeo, trail rides and a cowboy skills competition.
As told by the official National Park website[insert link]: “In the fall of 1883, three Canadian Pacific Railway construction workers stumbled across a cave containing hot springs on the eastern slopes of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. From that humble beginning was born Banff National Park, Canada’s first national park and the world’s third. Spanning 6,641 square kilometers (2,564 square miles) of valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers, Banff National Park is one of the world’s premier destination spots.”
An early visitor, Lady Agnes Macdonald, defied Victorian-era propriety when visiting the newly-formed park with her husband, Sir John Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister. The daredevil strapped herself to the cow catcher on the front of the Canadian Pacific Railway train for a 1000 kilometer ride across the mountains and to the west coast. According to an article published by The Ottawa Citizen, [link www.canada.com”Luckily for Agnes, John insisted on stopping frequently in British Columbia so he could shake hands, chase votes and replenish his brandy. The stops allowed Agnes to pick the squashed bugs from her disheveled hair and sooty face.” Sir John, not amused by his wife’s antics, declared her “ridiculous.” I think she sounds like fun.
How to get there: You could drive or take a bus from Calgary, or experience the area like one of the park’s early visitors, by train.
Deals: The Rocky Mountaineer . . . . .
Flickr Chris Tostevin-Hall