Monday, September 1, 2008

Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada (August 8-10, 2008)

Banff NP, established in 1885, is the birthplace of Canada’s national park system and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1883, Canadian Pacific Railway construction workers discovered hot springs on the eastern slopes of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. Soon thereafter, a reserve was created around the springs – primarily to attract wealthy patrons of the railway – and businesses began to pop up. In 1888, the Banff Springs Resort (at the time, the world's largest hotel, now a Fairmont property) opened its doors, thus ensuring Banff’s status as one of North America’s most popular resort destinations for years to come.

Today, Banff encompasses 2,564 square miles of land, stretching from the town of Banff in the south to the Columbia Icefield in the north, with the popular Lake Louise in between. While the park attracts many visitors because of its resort-style comforts and accessibility, it’s the stunning natural scenery that keeps people coming back.

Pristine glacial lakes, swift rivers, green meadows, thick forests and the massive Rocky Mountains make for an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. The park maintains a wide variety of trails, for everything from hiking, biking and horseback riding in summer, to skiing and snowshoeing in winter. And, after climbing a mountain in the morning, hikers can trade their muddy boots for ballet flats and enjoy a leisurely afternoon tea at one of the posh Fairmont resorts. Banff may indeed have the best of both worlds!
Famous Lake Louise, with the equally famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise on the eastern shore, for those traveling in luxury
My humble (and borrowed) tent – only slightly less luxurious than the Fairmont
Afternoon tea at the Fairmont Banff Springs is a decadent affair
The spectacular view from the Fairmont Banff Springs over the Bow Valley
A not-so-subtle warning to campers in Banff
A small bunny is much better to find in one’s campsite than a large grizzly bear


Deb said...

Hi Frances,

Was thinking about you the other day and wanted to drop you a little note. Seems like the adventure is going well. I can't believe you have been traveling for eigth months. You have seen and done so much. What a great trip. I can't wait to get togehther in December and hear all about the trip.

Have fun and be safe!


Deb said...

I was thinking about you the other day and wanted to drop you a quick note. Your adventure looks fabulous. I'm so happy you are having a great time. You literally have been all over the world.

I can't wait to get together in December and hear all about it.

Enjoy your last few months of travel. Take care and be safe!