Padinago's trip to Canada in 2009

Day 4 - Banff NP, Kootenay NP and Yoho NP, Alberta

Today we plan to drive through two beautiful parks, Kootenay National Park and Yoho National Park. We get up very early so we can enjoy a nice long day.

We leave around 7am. At Castle Junction we take the exit and somewhat later we see a beautiful North American Elk standing by the road. We drive on and croos Alberta’s border to British Columbia which is also the border between Banff National Park and Kootenay National Park. After 7 km we arrive at our first stop, Marble Canyon. We are all alone here. We walk across about 6 little bridges over the canyon. Again a nice memory! In the summer of 2003 there were several lightening strokes here that started some fires in Kootenay National Park. About 12% of the park (approximately 170 km2) was destroyed. When you walk in Marble Canyon you can see what the fire has destroyed. This canyon has reopened in 2007 after the renovation of all the bridges across the canyon. We drive on and have breakfast at a picnic place at the Vermilion River. A bit further we go to the Numa falls and afterwards we enjoy the beautiful nature around us until suddenly… we see our first Canadian black bear! We quickly stop the car (there is nobody around) and take some shots of the bear before he disappears. We are so happy as about 15 minutes later we see again a black bear that lies in the grass. We get out of the car but remain safely next to the car with open doors, as the bear is only 50m away from us. The bear gets up, looks at us and decides to walk away. A bit further we take the exit to visit the Cross River Falls. We drive on a gravel road (Settlers rd.) about 20 kms looking for a trail to the falls. We do not find it and do not intend to just walk around through the woods so we drive all the way back on this gravel road. We cross some large trucks who pass us at high speed which forces us to stop a few times as we are not able to see anything because of the dust. Once we are back on the main road we continue to Olive Lake and a bit further we spot some white-tailed deer. Then we continue and leave Kootenay NP at Radium Hot Springs. We stop at Melting Pot to have lunch and then take the Hwy to Golden. We pass some amazing landscapes and next to the road you can see old and new telephone and electricity poles. The old poles are not removed and used by ospreys and other birds to build their nests on it. In Golden we take the TC1 through Yoho National Park. We take the road to Wapta Falls but this comes to a dead end. Apparently we missed the correct exit. No problem, there is enough to see. As the roads are not indicated very well here we first go to the visitors centre in Field and ask the way to Natural Bridge (apparently we just missed it) and the road to the Takakkaw Falls (highest falls in Canada). The ranger’s face gives himself away and his words even more: “you don’t wanna be there right now!”. It seems that the road to the falls is closed for at least two weeks as the thaw is still going on there with lots of mud streams and rocks all over the road. That is a disappointment as we really looked forward to seeing these waterfalls. We continue our drive back to Natural Bridge, the connection between Kicking Horse and Emerald River. Afterwards we follow the Emerald River to Emerald Lake and a bit further on we arrive at a stop where you can just see the entrance of the ‘Spiral Tunnels’. A courageous act of architecture you really have to ‘Google’… We return across the boarder to Alberta and enter Banff NP where suddenly, across the road on top of the railroad we see 3 bears, a mother with 2 cubs. This makes our day even better. Later we arrive at the exit to Lake Louise and decide to go there again. After a short photo shoot we return through the Bow Valley Parkway towards our lodge. We have dinner at our hotel’s dining room and after dinner we drive to the city to do some groceries for our trip to Jasper tomorrow. We return to the hotel and go to sleep, dreaming of the bears and this amazing nature…

Daytrip approx. 455 km

Wapiti Marble Canyon A Black bear (not so) near Sofie We were all happy to see a bear! Olive Lake Natural Bridge near Field in Yoho NP Natural Bridge near Field in Yoho NP Emerald Lake Black bear and two cubs