Saturday, August 21, 2010


We just returned from a vacation in Alberta to visit Banff and Yoho National Parks.

It was quite a wide range of weather. First a couple days of rain, then brilliant sunshine and temps in the 70s, and then continued dry weather but very smoky as a result of wildfires far to the west. But we at least had several days of clear weather to see all the amazing peaks and glaciers. The smoke only lasted two days and then the sunshine returned.

We took Mika along because dogs are allowed on National Park trails up in Canada, unlike the States. The hiking worked out well, but dogs are not allowed in eating areas in Canada, even outside on patios, so Mika got more hotel room time and car time than we expected.

We stayed in the town of Banff three days and Lake Louise four days. Both are inside the park and very scenic, but the town of Banff definitely is more exciting and has many more restaurants to choose from. Lake Louise is more relaxed and closer to more intense higher elevation hikes. We did some short hikes and canoeing while in Banff, and then some longer hikes near Lake Louise.

On one of the sunny days we started at Moraine Lake and climbed up to Sentinel Pass, 7.2 miles round trip and 2300 feet. The pass was at 8500 feet and looked out over several valleys, with many peaks and glaciers visible. Another day we started out at Lake Louise, hiked up to a tea house on the shore of Lake Agnes, and then continued up a rock formation called the Beehive to another even higher lookout, and finally back to the shore of Lake Louise.

This vacation was definitely the most I have hiked in a long time, and my feet held up okay.

Canoeing near the town of Banff:

Shore of Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park:

Sunrise at Lake Louise:

Mika, very sad about watching us eat dinner on the patio from afar:

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