A Travellerspoint blog

Lake Louise and Banff

sunny 28 °C

A fond early morning farewell to Gavin and Chris and we were off on the most challenging part of the whole trip - up and over the Great Divide. The drive to Sicamous was through beautiful, green valleys and past the idyllic Mara and Shuswap Lakes

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We broke our journey again at Revelstoke, just before the big climb up to Rogers Pass (at 1330 meters). Jeni was driving as my mountain "phobia" has kicked in again! As is happens, I could have driven to the pass but the descent was another matter especially after the town of Golden where there was the infamous Park Bridge across Kicking Horse Canyon. The highest pass was Kicking Horse Pass near Field at 1,627 meters

I was very disappointed with the Trans Canada Highway - there were very few lookout points and no warning of pull-ins for slower vehicles (like us); you just had to hope you saw the pull-in in good time and swerve over, usually with a bloody great truck behind. And despite what you read, a lot of the highway through the mountains is one lane each way

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We arrived at Deer Lodge in Lake Louise in late of the afternoon, quickly unpacked and then strolled the 5 minutes down to the lake. I must admit I was a bit underwhelmed - of course it is beautiful but no more beautiful than dozens of other lakes I've seen around the world including Lake Mara that we stopped at on the way here

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Early, the following morning we went back down to the lake and did the Lakeside Walk. At the end of the lake, we considered walking on to the old tea rooms but even at 10am it was much too hot for walking (85F) so we didn't

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We then tried to drive up to Moraine Lake but the drop-offs we too bad for me, so we turned back and headed off to Banff along the 48 km Bow Valley Parkway, a scenic and slower road. I thought it would actually be quite crowded as there were hundreds of cars at Lake Louise but it was just about deserted. We stopped at several places along the way including Johnson Canyon and the Internment Camp Memorial where hundreds of mainly Ukranians were interned during the 1st World War. And, we saw a a very large elk

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The best thing so far about Banff is the patio bar at the Banff Springs Hotel. The rest of town is just a shopping mall

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Posted by kforge 08:42 Archived in Canada Comments (3)

Vernon - for 2 days

Tours of the area

sunny 24 °C

Early Tuesday morning, Gavin brought out an old camera case - inside was the Zenit I had sold to him in 1967! He still uses it despite the fact that it weighs a ton

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Gavin and Chris drove us to the nearby Kalamalka Park (near Rattlesnake Point) situated on a peninsula jutting into the lake on the opposite side to Chris and Gavin's place. The water didn't feel too cold but only children were swimming (why is it that children can tolerate cold water?)

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After a short tour around Vernon we headed 22 kms up to the Silver Star Mountain Ski Resort. The village sits at 3,700' and the top elevation is 6,200'. After a coffee at the only cafe open, we noticed an interesting poster on the doors - Ash Grunwald was going to be playing in Vernon in a couple of weeks. Perhaps not such a strange thing, as apparently a lot of the staff in the ski resort are Australian and New Zealanders

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On Wednesday, Gavin and Chris took us on a tour of 3 exceptional wineries. We started at the Gray Monk Winery, then onto Mission Hill Winery and finally the Quail's Gate Winery. Each of them had grape varieties that I had never tasted before and they were all excellent especially the Siegerrebe and Pinot Auxerrois

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We finally called into the town of Kelowna on the Okanagan Lake to meet Gavin and Chris' daughter Jenna and to have a very good meal at Earl's overlooking the marina and lake

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Posted by kforge 07:13 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Vancouver to Vernon in the Okanagan Valley

To see Gavin and Chris Bett

semi-overcast 22 °C

An orderly and punctual exit from Vancouver. Then followed a 7-hour drive to Vernon via Hope (which has none), Merritt (which has even less) and Kelowna, punctuated by amazing (and terrifying) vistas and some of the longest downhill descents we've ever seen. Canadians drive very fast and appear to have nerves of steel. We got a view of 3,286 meter Mt Baker in Washington as we drove near Chilliwack

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We arrived around 4:30pm at Gavin and Chris' house which commands a majestic view of the Kalamalka Lake - Jeni stared at it while I re-introduced myself to Gavin, as I'd not seen him for a few decades

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Posted by kforge 07:56 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

Vancouver - Last Day

Football and Gardens

sunny 28 °C

Happy Fathers' Day Canada

We started the day by watching Australia's unexpected victory over Brazil in the Women's Word Cup

Jeni then trotted off to "The Dr Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Classical Gardens" in Chinatown. The walk was even longer than the name. Was it worth it? - the jury's still out on that, but the effort was rewarded with green tea and tiny cakes

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We then individually pounded several kilometers of hot pavement to meet up at the FIFA FanZone not far from BC Stadium where Canada were to play Switzerland. There were a couple of thousand in the big-screen marquee, all dressed in red and white which happily covered both teams, The stadium itself drew over 53,000 fans, a Canadian record for any sporting event

From there we had a foot-slog back to our local bar for a farewell ale and wine

Posted by kforge 17:06 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

Vancouver - Kitsilano Beach

Miles of beaches

sunny 23 °C

We drove over the Burrard Bridge and in a few minutes we we parking near Kitsilano Point. We took the car as we wanted to have a good look around this area - from Kitsilano to Point Grey. We drove along coast stopping at Kitsilano Beach, Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks Beach - at each beach we stopped and walked a couple of kilometers. Just about every beach sport was on view except for swimming as the water was still too cold. The suburbs around here looked very affluent

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Although the first European explorers in the Strait of Georgia were the Spaniards Juan Carrasco and José María Narváez, who sighted Point Grey in 1791, the Spanish Banks were named in commemoration of the meeting of the English under George Vancouver and the Spanish under Galiano and Valdés in June 1792. While Vancouver's maps do not show the bank, Galiano's charts of 1792 and 1795 do. The Hudson's Bay Company came to call the area Spanish Banks for these reasons

Posted by kforge 13:10 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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