Canada is Melting…Also, Puppies!!

After being in Grande Prairie a few days, and with a few reasons we realised we wanted to change every plan we had already made.We wrapped up our trip to Grande Prairie much sooner than we intended, only staying a week. After a very busy few days planning, we changed all our plans.    We leave Canada next week (cry!), flying out of Vancouver on Tuesday 18th March.  We are heading to New York (exciting!!!), where we will prance around and see the sights for a week, before leaving on a Jet Plane, to London!  Eeek!

My little brother Tommy, and his lovely fiancee Katharina, are getting married at the beginning of May, so that is kind of what threw us into alternate planning mode.  Hopefully I will be flying back to NZ for a couple of weeks then.

The first few days in Grande Prairie were super cold, but then the last few, it warmed up a ton, and everything started melting.   I am suspicious of this “Spring” that is happening, it is 10 degrees outside, and thoroughly balmy.   I think it is a ruse, spring has just happened like someone flicked a switch.  I’m sure it will get cold again… second winter!

We did our last few chores, and packed the car up again, and drove back to Jasper.  Half of the snow was gone.  Canada was no longer in black and white, but now had a range of colours, blue green in the rivers, tans and browns in the fields – we could actually see grass! – green and mossy on the trees, and grey and green of mossy rocks.  Lovely!  Some of the rivers have melted up tot he surface, so parts are visibly flowing again.

Farmstay
Farmstay
A building
A building
This was the closest town to us.
This was the closest town to us.
Lovely skies while driving
Lovely skies while driving
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Woodland

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Table has melted!!
Table has melted!!

 

It is tricksy though, everything melts a little, then cools and freezes again overnight, so you now have to watch out for patches of ice, where before there was just lovely snow.

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Mt Robson.
Mt Robson.

Today we did the best thing ever, husky dog sledding up a mountain valley… we went with Cold Fire Dog Sled Tours.  They seemed to keep their dogs well, and mostly I think they were the only place around Jasper to do dog sledding.  The dogs all seemed in fine form, all were SUPER EXCITED TO RUN< PLEASE LET US RUN, TIME TO RUN?  IS IT TIME? TIME TO RUN? PLEASE OH PLEASE RUN, RUN< RUN, RUN, RUNRUNRUNRUNRUNRUNRUN….   They all caused quite a commotion when it got close to the time of the sleds leaving, barking and howling and carrying on  Had to hold them back.

All lined up, ready to go.
All lined up, ready to go.
Aaaand we're off!
Aaaand we’re off!

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What was great on this tour, is that they let you steer a sled yourself if you want.  They give you the basic instructions and commands- start, top, braking, parking), and the tour guide rides the sled in front of you, so you are limited to their speed, but you get to steer and command the puppies…It was awesum!!!  I want to go back and do more.  It was so much fun having them all so excited about running, and that you could tell them to stop and go, and steer your little sled, and stop them from pulling you off into the drifts at the side of the trail, (Stop? they didn’t like to stop, you had to put the brake on, and tell them a few times, and if you were stopping for any length of time, put the anchor down, and when we stopped for lunch, they tied the sleds up, so they couldn’t just keep on running..).

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One person drives, one person gets to snuggle in the sled

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We had lunch cooked over a little fire, snacks, and apple cider (Which in Canada is actually just warm spiced apple juice), before zooming off again.  It was great fun 😀

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happy puppies
happy puppies

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Puppie likes to roll on his sback
Puppie likes to roll on his sback
Crazy eyes
Crazy eyes
Lunch fire
Lunch fire

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A river
A river
After run smiles
After run smiles
Lolling tounge
Lolling tounge
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Sled. Stand on the two outer poles, stand on the silver bar or black pad to slow the sled, stand with all your weight on the silver bar to stop, then put the anchor out!

Saw “Warning Moose Crossing” signs along the road, but unfortunately no moose.  We drove on to Kamloops, where we stay the night.

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The thing I am sad about is that I didn’t get tot see the northern lights.   In Grande Prairie, I was finally at a latitude that was high enough to see them if they were just a bit active.  However, they were not active this week.   Incredibly quiet compared to the previous weeks.  Or it was cloudy/snowing, so I couldn’t even see the sky.  Disappoint!

Tomorrow we head for Vancouver, where we sort out the car, then make sure all our belongings can fit into our bags for the plane ride.

Jasper – 3rd March

The cold snap was continuing, and it was again,  freezing.  I cannot stress how cold this day was.  There is no other feeling like the insides of your nostrils freezing!  My phone doesn’t like to operate in this cold, if I take it out for more than a minute, it has a hissy fit and turns off; it won’t turn back on until I have warmed it up again.

Our first day in Jasper we headed up the road, where you drive up a glacial valley, firstly to lovely views back over Jasper, then on to Maligne Canyon, to do the walkthrough.

Jasper
Jasper
Pyramid Mountain
Pyramid Mountain

We did the little walk down the way, and made our way to where the canyon opens out, and we climbed carefully down into it.  The river was frozen mostly solid, with only a bit of water flowing right near the bottom.  Water had flowed from the walls, and frozen, forming more walls of ice, ice all around!  The floor was super slippery, what with being sheet ice, and parts of the floor had little ice terraces, where water had flowed over the top, but then frozen.  It was very pretty, a bit otherworldly.
I wanted to spend longer down there, you can walk quite a way up teh canyon, but the lack of feeling on our feet made us leave.  The walk back to the car was great, as it warmed us up a bit.

Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon
Whoa, icicles
Whoa, icicles

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Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon

We then drove up past Medicine Lake to Maligne Lake, where we had lunch, then cruised back to town. This is an interesting area: Maligne Lake is a large glacier fed lake, the largest lake in Jasper National Park.  It flows down to Medicine Lake, which was created when the river backs up, and disappears underground.  It flows under and overground, and comes out furthur down in Maligne Canyon, where the walls are covered in fantastic ice sculptures, from the different springs and parts of the river that flow and emerge from underground.

Maligne Lake
Maligne Lake

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Medicine Lake
Medicine Lake

After driving around some of the smaller lakes, we saw a squirrel, and another coyote, this one had some lunch in its mouth.

We watched a few squirrels, then headed back to town to get warm again.

The next day we had planned to drive to Valemont in BC, to get our licences sorted, but we gave them a call first, and I think we can use our NZ licenses for up to 6 months if just visiting.  We are only here for a bit longer, so it seems a shame to have to drive so far and pay money to change our licenses when its only for a month or so.
We ended up with a day and not much to do.  It was snowing, but a wee bit warmer, so we decided to walk the few blocks to town and check out the sights.

Parks Canada, in Jasper
Parks Canada, in Jasper
The cutest info centre
The cutest info centre
A church
A church
Just chillin on mah ice couch
Just chillin on mah ice couch

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You can't see me, behind the couch!
You can’t see me, behind the couch!
Rawr
Rawr
Goat
Goat

We checked out the Den, a little corridor of native canadian scenes set up with stuffed animals.  It was interesting to see, but it smelled a lot like dead animal.

The only moose we saw :<
The only moose we saw :<

We wanted to go to the museum, but that is only open Wednesday to Sunday.  We wandered back home (after lunch at The Bears Paw bakery – delishuz), and started the car with only a little reluctance, and drove to the Athabasca Falls.

"Poor" road condition
“Poor” road condition
Snow!
Snow!

IT was very lovely, another frozen in time falls, with a bit of deep blue in the small patch of water that hadn’t frozen.   We saw some squirrels playing near the car, and I got quite close to one who was just sitting there, eating his little nuts.  Two of them had a bit of a fight while running up a tree.

Athabasca Falls (Athabasca Frozen)
Athabasca Falls (Athabasca Frozen)
A wee bit of the river is flowing
A wee bit of the river is flowing
Slide
Slide
A canyon
A canyon
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I like it when I get to grow ice crystals on my face

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A SQUIRRULL
A SQUIRRULL
This is how we drive in Canada when it is cold.
This is how we drive in Canada when it is cold.

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A quick drive back to home, and dinner at a yum pizza place.  Also, we had dessert pizza that was filled with nutella, a dessert calzone, and it was delishuz.

This is what happens to mayo after it is frozen and unfrozen a couple of times
This is what happens to mayo after it is frozen and unfrozen a couple of times

 

Icefields Parkway

We awoke bright and early in Banff, to a slightly chilly temp of around -30 degrees.  From what I heard, Sunshine skifield was on hold due to it being too cold…. wtf!!!  You know it’s pretty cold, when Canadians close their skifield.  We stopped at the supermarket to get some lunch, then headed north, along the section of road called the Icefields Parkway.  It is not a transit road, it is a scenery/tourist road, maintained by Parks Canada, and it one of the prettiest drives ever.

We stopped at all the places that were open.  It was very, very cold, but it was perfectly clear and sunny, which is what we wanted.  I will not go on about each place (hey look, another mountain!), but I do of course have pictures of each mountain.  Well, most of them.  There are more pictures than words in this post 🙂

Wildlife bridge
Wildlife bridge
A pretty range
A pretty range
Castle Mountain
Castle Mountain
Crowfoot Mountain
Crowfoot Mountain
Crowfoot Glacier
Crowfoot Glacier
Bow Lake
Bow Lake

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My favourite bits were:

Weeping wall – an ice covered wall, frozen and blue.  We stopped here for lunch, next to a very pretty little river.

Sasketchawan River
Sasketchawan River
Mount Wilson
Mount Wilson
Alexandra River
Alexandra River
Weeping wall
Weeping wall
Cirrus Mountain
Cirrus Mountain

 

Mistaya Canyon – very pretty!  There was a raven sitting at the edge of the pull-out, and his feathers were fluffed out all over his feet, I assume to keep them warm.  He didn’t want to move when I got close, but he eventually did, and looked a little put out.

A raven with fluffy feet covers
A raven with fluffy feet covers
Mistaya Canyon
Mistaya Canyon
Mistaya Canyon, Mount Sarbach in background
Mistaya Canyon, Mount Sarbach in background

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A small creature
A small creature

Athabasca Glacier – the glacier has retreated quite a way, but you can walk up almost to the face, to the frozen pool of water that sits in front of it.  Down one side you can see the exposed glacier, a beautiful deep blue, with layers and lines.  It was hidden away, most of the glacier is covered in snow.  On the walk up, there are lateral moraines (scree piles), tall on either side, and you climb up a terminal moraine.  Occasionally, the bedrock pokes through, and it is sleek and smooth to touch, slippery to walk on if wet, and you can see the lines scratched into it, from when the sheer mass of glacier was moving rocks across it.    The glacier is part of the Colombia Icefield, which is over 300m2, and feeds at least 8 glaciers.   It was pretty.  They had plenty of signs telling tourists not to try and walk on it, as people fall in to crevices and die.

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Handstand
Handstand
Glacier, ta-daa!
Glacier, ta-daa!
Glacial scrapings on rock
Glacial scrapings on rock
Lateral moraine
Lateral moraine

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Athabasca Glacier
Athabasca Glacier
Dale rolled down the hill
Dale rolled down the hill

 

 

Wild coyotes – Dale spotted one walking down a river, so we screeched to a stop, and jumped out to watch it.  It trotted down the river, peed on a rock, then continued on its way.  We spotted another one crossing the road in front of us further down the river, and we stopped to watch that one too.

Athabasca River
Tangle Ridge
Athabasca River
Athabasca River
Athabasca River
Coyote on the Athabasca River
Athabasca River
Athabasca River
Athabasca River
Athabasca River

There are around 100+ accommodation places that are guesthouses, located in the basement of peoples houses, in Jasper, a bit like in Field.  It seems to be a good way for people to make a bit extra from home.  Warm and snuggly, if no view, and we found a relatively cheap one for our few days in Jasper.  It was nice to have a lounge and space to ourselves.

The Badlands. Friday 28th Feb

We got up, briefly examined some shops, and then headed north.  Once out of Calgary, it was straight roads and flat, flat, plains for a couple of hours drive.   Flat As!  The road you could see stretching out in front of you for ages and ages…..  Flat plains, very little in the way of trees or fences, just flat snow covered flatness.

Acme!  Should see the road runner soon
Acme! Should see the road runner soon
Blowing snow
Blowing snow

Cruise control was a great thing here.  As we were driving, the wind was pushing snow across the road in a thin veil, it looked pretty cool, but kinda crazy driving through a horizontal snow curtain.

We saw a few oil wells, just pumping away in the middle of nowhere, in peoples paddocks.  We travelled over the prairie until we came suddenly to a gorge, where the road dropped down to a river valley.   We stopped in a town called Drumheller for lunch.  The town is filled with model dinosaurs, in varying shades of paint. The whole Badlands area is in a valley, carved out of sedimentary rock by rivers.  You can see the layers in the rock on the walls of the canyons, and for the most part, they are striped and vividly coloured.  Reds, browns, black layers of coal.  The area was known for its coal mining, and we checked out a river and a suspension bridge. From the looks of it, people had been driving up and down on the river on their snowmobiles.

No swaying!
No swaying!
River becomes snowmobile trail
River becomes snowmobile trail
So. Cold.
So. Cold.
A bridge, used in the mining days
A bridge, used in the mining days

It was lovely weather in terms of sun and blue skies, but the temperature was a bit chilly, and we were reluctant at times, to get out of the car.  Dale didn’t want to be in any photos, he mostly wanted to stay in the car.  Which is fair enough, in -25 with windchill (I think a windchill warning was issued, in some places, something silly like 10 mins till frostbite in exposed places). It was a: jump out of the car, run to the place, take a quick photo, run back to the car, turn the heater up High).

There are formations called Hoodoos, pillars that have formed, usually topped by harder sandstone, where the earth around it has been eroded away, leaving a flat topped pillar.   The area is also rife with dinosaur bones, and I think they have pulled the most intact dinosaur bones from that area than any other in the world.

A hoodoo
A hoodoo
More
More
Chilly hoodoos
Chilly hoodoos

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Formations
Formations

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We checked out some hoodoos, and then the massive fiberglass t-rex that they have at the info centre.  You can walk up inside it and look out over the town.  We also went to check out horse thief canyon, which is very pretty, and then horseshoe Canyon just before the sun went down, then we drove back to Banff.

Dale is bravely standing on the foot of The Biggest Dinosaur
Dale is bravely standing on the foot of The Biggest Dinosaur
Rawr
Rawr

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oh hai!
oh hai!
Alberta seems to be flat.
Alberta seems to be flat.
Horse Thief Canyon
Horse Thief Canyon

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Sunset over the plains, such delicate pastel colours, so cold and pretty.  It is currently -28 out, but windchill is a ***, I’m sure it makes it more like -40, which is just ridiculous, and just popping outside the car to take a couple of pictures is an ordeal!

We are travelling directly west, the sun set in a fiery golden ball.  The sky behind is turning blue-grey, the snow covered fields stretch out in all directions, flat as far as the eye can see. They seem to glow, reflecting the aqua of the sky above.  IN front,the sky descends from dusky blue through aqua, pale teal, blue-green, a touch of yellow, orange, and then salmon and coral at the horizon.  I love this time of night in Canada, just after the sun has set, the light seems to linger for such a long time, everything looks just a little bit softer.  In Field, with the mountains, the sun would set, and there would be a mix of blue and yellow lights reflected off the sky and surrounding mountains.

Sun going down across the plains
Sun going down across the plains
Wind driven snow
Wind driven snow
More plains
More plains
Squirrel pary
Squirrel pary

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On the road again… 26th Feb

Wednesday we woke up pretty sore, but rolled out of bed, and proceeded to pack and fully clean the house.  It was still freezing out, but by lunchtime and packing the car it was pretty warm in the sunshine.

We said goodbye to everyone, took a last walk to the hostel, a last hug of Yogi, and headed out of town via dropping off the recycling and rubbish (on the way to Revelstoke, we had our rubbish in the car to drop at the bin on the way, so it wouldn’t be sitting in the house for 3 days, but it was early in the morning, and we forgot, and ended up taking it to Revelstoke, not ideal!).   A last view of the elk by the railroad tracks, then our final wait for the train to finish crossing the tracks.

A very sunny last day!
A very sunny last day!
Of course, a train, and elk to see us off.
Of course, a train, and elk to see us off.

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It wouldn’t have been the same, leaving Field without having to wait for the train…the trains are kilometers long, and travel slowly through Field, usually stopping for a bit – I think it is a place where they switch shifts/drivers etc, and if you need to cross the road, you just have to wait till the train has passed.  It usually takes 10-15 minutes for the whole train to pass, and so many times in or out of the town, we have encounterd the train.  They also toot a lot if the elk won’t move off the tracks.

Anyway, after the train had finally left, we zoomed our way out of Field, and headed down to Banff.   The day was amazing, clear blue skies, and not even the thought of a cloud.

Mt Rundle, Banff
Mt Rundle, Banff
Mt Rundle, Banff
Mt Rundle, Banff

We drove to Banff, where we stopped at the hot pools, and soaked until we were thoroughly warm, then drove on to Canmore, where we had delishuz curry for dinner (we haven’t had curry in many weeks, gasp!).

A snow baer!
A snow baer!
Hot pools
Hot pools
Cascade Mountain, Banff
Cascade Mountain, Banff

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Then on to Calgary in the Very Dark, on the 110km max roads.  The road was pretty straight from when it left the Rockies until it arrived in Calgary, and it was quite pretty to come up over the last rise and see the lights all spread out on the plains.   It was a little scary to drive in a big city at night!   Especially as the biggest towns we’ve seen in the last 6 weeks have less than 8000 people.

We made it to our backpackers – we are staying at Wicked Hostel, and it’s pretty good for a hostel.  The only bad thing really is the noise, otherwise, they supply breakfast (pancakes!), towels, comfortable beds, free internet, nice showers, and good shower mats.  Important things, these.

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We have two irish room-mates, arrived from Ireland 2 days ago, who seem lovely, but one has the most broad accent, and it is fun talking to him, but I think I need a translator…

 

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(Even More) Powder Days, Part 2. AKA ALL THE POWDER

We worked the weekend, Craig and Kim went away, leaving us to look after the hostel.  We worked till Tuesday, then got up early Wednesday morning, and headed up to Revelstoke.  We planned carefully, what with crossing a timezone, and being aware of roads that were closed for avalanche control.  We made it to the mountain by 10am, which is not too bad, only had one delay with avalanche control, though the roads were slow, as they were all firm packed snow.  As we approached Revelstoke, the piles at the sides of the road got quite large.  There is one section of road, through Roger’s Pass, where the road is often covered by tunnels, which are in the paths of avalanches, so that part of the road is protected.  The road past Revelstoke was closed, so there were heaps of trucks lined up before the town, waiting until the road opened.

Snowy roads
Snowy roads
It starts to clear a little
It starts to clear a little
Trucks waiting to get through.  We got to drive past them all
Trucks waiting to get through. We got to drive past them all

I don’t really have much to say about Revelstoke, except that it was amazing.   They had over a meter of new snow in the week before we arrived, and it snowed 5cm every night, and 12cm during one of the days.  We were still finding freshies on the third day.

Excited about powder
Excited about powder

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It cleared for a bit of a view
It cleared for a bit of a view

Revelstoke has quite a decent vertical drop, a truck ton of snow, and lots of snow laden glades.   My very favourite place was the Powder Monkey Glades, where the trees were nicely spaced, but in places the snow was so deep and foofy and lovely.  We spent much of our three day visit in amongst the trees of the numerous glades, swishing and twisting and trying not to hit trees.  I loved it.  Best snow days ever.

Zoon
Zoon
Some of the terrain was a bit steep
Some of the terrain was a bit steep
I loves the trees!
I loves the trees!
Another view
Another view
Swoosh
Swoosh

They had some interesting names:  Iron Gladen, Glades of Gnarnia, Powder Monkey Glades, Glades of Glory.  The other interesting thing is that you don’t really go out of the ski area boundary here.  There is plenty in the boundary to keep you entertained, but going out of it means you get charged a lot if you have to be rescued, and apparently they have had a few people this season being stuck out all night because they were not found.  Cliffs, and cold.

Warning sign
Warning sign
Many of the trail names were neat
Many of the trail names were neat

They had a run called Lemming Line, where you have to walk a few minutes up over a ridge, but you get to drop down into a bowl, and the snow is ridiculous.   Once in the bowl, you drop down through trees, and then cruise through glades for quite a while before you hit the bottom of the lift.  The good thing about the bowl (or bad) is that you have to go in a roundabout way to gt back up to the top of it… you have to drop down to the bottom of one lift, catch that up, then traverse a few kms across and slightly down the mountain to get to the next lift, catch that up, and then traverse back across to the top of the bowl.  So you can’t just ride it over and over and over until all the freshies are gone.  Which is why they weren’t all gone.

The trees at the top of the field were all super snow encrusted, pretty much white all over.  On Wednesday, we were doing a bit of a trek to reach the edge of the field (a run called Hot Sauce), and Dale saw an Ozone windsock.  He thought that was interesting, and I said it was probably because they kite up this way.  Then I turned around, and lo and behold, there was a guy just above us unrolling his kite.
On closer inspection, it wasn’t a power kite, but a glider thing.  We helped him get it up, he had skis on, and the kite was attached to him with a harness, and two steering handles.  The kite only sat a few meters above him.  It took a couple of go’s, but once he had it in the air, he pretty much just took off, and soared above the field and off into the distance.  It was awsum.  Hopefully he landed ok, we didn’t see him again.

Hike to the freshies
Hike to the freshies
A paraglider
A paraglider
Another view
Another view
More hiking
More hiking
Helping get set up
Helping get set up
And he is off!!
And he is off!!
Zoomzoom
Zoomzoom

Thursday was the best day, with so much snow, and zooming through trees; very exciting, as you had to commit to your turns, you had to turn this way then that way, and error usually ended up with you against a tree.  The amount of snow made the really steep slopes relatively easy to navigate, and a few times we stopped at the bottom of a slope, to look back at the almost-cliff that we had just dropped down.

Where did my snowboard go?
Where did my snowboard go?
I loves the trees
I loves the trees,and the fluffy snow
Branches
Branches
loves trees
loves trees
These tiny cheeses are individually wrapped in wax, they are so cute!
These tiny cheeses are individually wrapped in wax, they are so cute!

Friday we were ridiculously tired, but as we already had lift passes we felt the need to go all day, and I think this was our longest day, as we also had to drive 3hours back to Field.  Ridiculously tired and sore, after 3 full days of boarding.  But it was fantastic.

We stayed in a new little Hostel called The Cube, which (was in the shape of a cube!) was right in the middle of town, near to food, supermarkets, and board waxing shops.  It is quite a good hostel, the rooms are pretty private, the beds are very comfortable, and you get your own heater and tv.   The only downsides was the soundproofing, and the door rattled a bit when others were closed.  But it was a good place to crash out.

There is also an aquatic center in Revelstoke, and we got a pass from the backpackers to go.  It was interesting, swimming around in comfortable temperatures, while you could see the snow softly falling outside.  The aquatic center also had a hot tub, and 2 types of sauna, all of which we tried out.

View on final day
View on final day
River in the distance
River in the distance
Heading home
Heading home

Banff, Canmore, Edge of the Rockies. Tues 29th

We worked Tuesday and Wednesday, but I woke in the early hours of Wednesday wanting to barf, and that continued the day, with me feeling lethargic, nauseous and weak.  I mostly sat on the couch and watched media, while Dale did the work.  Luckily there wasn’t too much to do.
I was feeling much better on Thursday, but still wasn’t 100%, so we took it easy, and went on a driving day trip past Banff.

 

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Banff Mountain
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Pretty rock layers

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We stopped in Canmore for lunch, in a lovely bagel bakery.  Delishuz.  Picked up some cheap previous-day bagels to put in the freezer for later.

Delishuz local beverages
Delishuz local beverages
Canmore
Canmore
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Caution!

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We wanted to see if we could easily find the edge of the Rockies, and we definitely did…the mountains just kinda wind down to flat, then you come out from between two mountain ranges, and there is just flat ahead of you.  It was a lovely day, so this clear winter blue sky just stretched out ahead of us.  There was some forest, but a lot of farmland too, even though it was covered in a layer of snow.  Not as much snow as in the rockies though, the piles at the side of the road were little, and you could still see the fenceposts, and there were horses grazing in some of the paddocks.  I guess they get less rainfall there?

The edge of the rockies
The edge of the rockies
Horizon!
Horizon!

Once out in the open, the speed limit turned out to be 110km/h, and there were signs saying “Aircraft Patrolled”.  Dale was amused, as was I, as he had thought they were signs only in movies, not irl (in real life), so it was interesting to see.  We didn’t test out their resolve, however, and we stayed within the speed limit.  There were also many signs warning of wildlife on the roads.   I guess it is not like NZ, where the biggest thing you might hit is a wallaby.   Elk probably make a slightly bigger dent in your car.

We didn't test them..
We didn’t test them..
Ponies
Ponies

There are places along the highway between Field and Banff, that have large bridges across the road, and I couldn’t figure out what they were for for ages, I thought perhaps they had put in overpasses in case they needed them in the future.. but they have trees on them, and are quite wide, and I think they are bridges for the wildlife to cross, so they don’t get squished, and it’s not so stressful for them.

We eventually turned back and headed back to Banff, saving the visit of Calgary for another day.   In Banff, we stopped at the Cascade Waterfall, which was frozen solid, in majestic spray over the edge of the rock.  There is a walk to the base of the waterfall, but we didn’t bother, as it would have been hard to distinguish between waterfall and snowbanks.  We did help dig out an aussie, who had got her car stuck in the snow at the side of the road…I think she didn’t realise she would sink into it when she drove on the edge.. Not much snow in Melbourne to base her experience on!

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Cascade Mountain
Cascade Falls
Cascade Falls

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We headed into Banff, it was a lovely clear day, with epic mountains all around.  We drove through town, past the ice rink, and the cute little shops, and the ice wall that had been put up in town, and drove to Surprise corner, where we had a bit of a view from the top of Bow Waterfall.   We wandered a bit, nearly slid off small ledges that had sheet ice under the snow, and generally decided it was too cold to do much, as it was about -15.  Chilly.  Face started freezing.

Banff
Banff
Ice climbing wall in Banff
Ice climbing wall in Banff
The river above bow falls
The river above bow falls

We drove back around to the other side of the river to view the falls from the bottom, and guess what?   Mostly frozen!!  It may seem boring to read about all these frozen lakes and waterfalls, but I love it.   Water that was flowing, is mostly stopped, or at least diverted.  I love seeing all the ice hanging from rocks, waterfalls literally frozen in time.  All pretty and deep aqua and blue.

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The Fairmont, Banff. Very Fancy.
Bow Falls
Bow Falls
Chilly hand
Chilly hand
Bow falls
Bow falls

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At this particular waterfall, I think a fair amount of water was still flowing under, and one point over the far side it hadn’t totally iced over, and there was a bit of a crack, with mist/water vapour rising from it.  I am unsure why it does this, and couldn’t find anything on the internet, perhaps cause I don’t know what the process is called.  It can’t be melting, as it was freezing out, and not getting any warmer. I know mist rises above the river on some days, my best guess is that the flowing water reacts to the cooler temp of the air or the ice around it?  I know sublimation is when ice changes straight from solid to gas, without being a liquid, so perhaps it is something to do with that?  If someone could explain it for me, that would be great!

Anyway, after checking out the frozen waterfall, pretty river, and trying to read the signs in French, we hopped back in the car, headed into town to do our groceries, then zipped off to home.  The thermostat in the car hit -22 degrees c, and home was the best place to be.