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Trip Report Trip Report - Banff & Jasper - Early Agust 2014

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Very soon after returning from a trip to Yellowstone with my daughter and granddaughter, I left for Banff & Jasper with my daughter.

One of the attractions for the casual visitor to Banff & Jasper is the amount of roadside scenery available to those not interested in venturing too far from the car.

I'd been to Banff and Jasper twice before. I expected to see a little more wildlife. Maybe it's because I brought the wrong horseshoe. No bears or bighorn. Maybe the result of the wildfire.

I'll list some of the sights and comments.

Lake Minnewanka Road. Cascade Ponds near the start of this road provided it's usual beautiful views though the first morning was a little too hazy. On previous trips I had always seen bighorn and/or ewes along this road. Tried several times but no luck.

I drove up and down Mt Norquay several times. Once we saw a coyote jog past us, a short view of a couple of deer before they scampered off and a goat who cooperated and did a few minutes of posing.

Our first morning at Moraine Lake provided us a crystal clear view of why this is among the premier sights in the area. However, our hike to Consolation Lakes was a bit of a disappointment. Pretty much the whole hike was in the woods and at the end we were presented a valley full of large boulders. I assume that had we traversed the boulders, eventually we would have seen the lake.

I finally got nice views of Lake Louise. Very nice but not nearly the views of Moraine Lake.

We did the Plain of Six Glaciers hike. Most of the trail is out in the open providing excellent views of the scenery. I think I'm getting a bit old for elevation hikes. I made it to the tea house but it took a while. A hike well worth the effort.

We drove to Yoho N.P. for part of an afternoon. Takakkaw Falls are definitely worth the drive. I find that too many water falls in the area have viewing stands or bridges built blocking the view of the falls. Not this one. There are several places giving excellent views.

Emerald Lake. A very nice lake with surrounding mountains. A classic national park view. No large crowds but also not void of visitors. A good mix.

The only rain we encountered on the trip was on and off rain the day we drove from Banff to Jasper. The negative was that we had a lot planned for this drive. The positive was that we had the return drive to do some catching up. We never got to hike any of Wilcox Pass or Parker Ridge.

On the way up we hiked to Mistaya Canyon. Very nice and definitely worth the time and minimal effort.

We made a quick stop at the Icefields visitor center but continued up.

We hiked Beauty Creek. A very nice hike along the canyon with multiple waterfalls. It started to thunder and rain before we got to Stanley Falls.

Maligne Road. Last year I was able to photograph a mother black bear and 3 cubs. No bears this year. I drove down this road a few times. On my last attempt I came across a female deer beside the road. She cooperated and posed for a few minutes until she decided she wasn't being paid enough.

Maligne Canyon was ok. Not more since the views just aren't there.

Angel Glacier is beautiful. The trail down to the lake is posted as closed. The sign is largely ignored. I think if the viewpoint was move a couple of hundred yards further (not necessarily down) more people would pay attention and obey it.

Old Fort Point. I expected this hike to provide more open scenery. Had I realized that it didn't I would have taken the short, steep climb up to the top of the Point rather than the much longer hike. Still, great views from the top.

In Jasper we did manage to see a group of elk and some deer.

On the way back to Banff we hiked Beauty Creek again but still couldn't find Stanley Falls (I don't think). We were time-restricted so eventually stopped.

We spent some time at Athabasca Glacier. Far from the most beautiful but very accessible.

Peyto Lake overlook. Popular for a reason. Spectacular views of the lake below and its color.

Photos of the trip can be seen at:
www.travelwalks.com

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