Yesterday, October 4, was spent with my sister, Linda, in Banff. As she doesn't drive, and has little means to get there herself, Banff was a very different experience. Together we have been to Canmore; that was a couple of years ago, but we did not tour around much. This time as tour operator I made sure she saw it all.
We left Calgary around 9:30 AM. Stopped in Canmore for a stretch, a muffin and a coffee at Beamers. Arrived at the Banff gate around 11 AM. I immediately took Sister to the Lake Minnewanka area; pointed out the Bankhead where GGEH and I climbed the Level C Cirque several years ago. We proceeded to the dam itself and just beyond we found a lookout to get out and take some pictures. Here we bumped into a couple were from Ontario. Linda pressed for where they were from, and to her delight found they wer from Windsor. She had lived in that city for fifteen years. From an additional query she discovered the woman had lived but a block away from her at one time. This delighted Linda to the point where she was still musing about it some eight hours later.
We next travelled over to Two Jack lake. this was a new experience for me. I had some pleasure in capturing some images of Mt. Rundle from a new perspective.
Linda was most fascinated with the Cascade Falls. She asked how wide do you think the stream that fed the falls would be. What heights do you think that is. All good questions that wasn't able to answer. She wanted to make sure that she was able to get a photograph of it. So as we concluded the Lake Minnewanka Loop we came to a spot where I was able to pulll off the road and get a couple of snaps for her from my side ofthe vehicle.
We proceeded through the townsite and I took Linda to Bow Falls. The value of my stock as a brother increased dramatically at that point. I encouraged Linda to take her time getting photographs and just enjoying the scene. I went up the trail that rises above the falls for images. While doing so I encountered a couple of gals who were taking pictures of each other. I asked if they wanted a picture together, and they agreed to allow me to do so. What was neat about this experience was their camera. Although it was just a consumer P&S, it had a neat feature that I am sure is built on face-recognition software. As I set up the shot, two little squares started to immediately line up on their faces so they'd be in focus. I took the snap and gave it back to them. However, I forgot to find out what brand of camera it was I'd used. Darn. I could see how important this camera would be for teenagers (these gals were in their twenties).
Shortly after this event I encounter some older people who were going a little mor eitme to get down the steps. As I patiently followed them I was noticed. One of the party remarked that I could around if I wanted I said it was okay, I was in no rush. I said to her that patience is a virtue. She then added, "that Women have little and Men have none." I had never heard that before. I was amused. I guess that puts me into good stead. Somedays I can out wait grass growing.
I took Linda up to the Banff Springs Hotel. this was new to me as well. But, there really wasn't a place that we could stop and get out. It was a wash in people and busy-ness. It was about then that it started to rain too. So we sort of just cruised by the hotel. Quite an impressive structure.
Linda had been talking about riding the Sulphur Mountain gondola all week leading up to this day. That was our next destination. On the way i showed her the RimRock, and told her about the Upper Hot Springs. We got to the parking lot of the Gondola, whereupon she had an ephiany. Seeing one gondola lurch and do a swing on the cable convinced her on the spot she would not beable to ride on it. She said it looked too frightening and unstable. Hey, that's okay. I probably would have enjoyed the ride myself, but i don't even do the Midway at Stampede. We then had to decide what was next on the list.
Cave and Basin. I had never understood until we toured it that this is where the whole concepts of Canada's national parks began. After the hot springs were discovered in the late 1800's everybody wanted in the action. Concern for the protection of the source of the water drove the federal government's decision to nationalize it, which led to the idea of a public park and a tourist destination for the Canadian Pacific Railway to promote.
Linda at first seemed a little daunted by the approach of the exhibit on account that it was a bit of a climb to get there. She was getting a bit tired. But she tackled it like a good trooper. Once inside she was really intrigued by the whole complex. We toured the cave and spent some time on the deck of what was the original bathing pool.I located the Basin and had Linda join me to admire the colours and the bubbles of the gas rising through the water. I found the "stink" of the sulphur a little much. I was also a little nervous by the proximity of the little children being taken through the Basin area by their parents. There is no guardrail or other kind of protection other than a parents hand that would have stopped a child from falling in. while nothing happened it left me feeling uneasy. I had to leave. Linda was a little more outspoken to parents about the situation than I was. I repeat, I had to leave.Overall , Linda said she really enjoyed the tour.
We decided to help the local economy next by doing some shopping. I generally don't do retail in Banff (well, where can you do wholesale for that matter?) There is not much I cannot get in Banff that I cannot get anywhere else. Except, good rocks and gemstones. I hardly ever pass through the town with out checking out Canada Rock & Gems on Main Street. This time there was anew player on the street, Rock, Paper and Silver. I checked them out too. I thought about getting a ring. I normally don't where rings. But it was intriguing for a moment. Looking a the selection I couldn't decide what was appropriate: an index or pinky ring. The selection in each store was expensive, and I'll just say that was what convinced me to not proceed. I thought about getting a rock to display in my living room, but I reminded myself I hadn't dusted in weeks. So I didn't need another object'd art to collect more dust (for the moment). It doesn't need to be this difficult I said to myself. Let's shop for something that's less controversial. I headed over to Welch's Candy Shoppe.
Oh yes, much easier. Some taffy, some maple syrup, some licroice and can I have some of those sherbert hard candies too? I will not report how much I spent, except to say less than a pinky ring.
I had sent Linda in a different direction. Pointing out some places she may want to try. When we met uup at the car a shortwhile later, she had picked up a few t-shirts for a friend and his wife.
We were now ready to wrap up our visit to Banff. One of the most important reason for Siset and i to come here was not to be tourists. Each year we try to get together a week before Thanksgiving and spend time as a family. She recognizes that I have friends who usually invite me out on Thanksgiving Day. She wants me to enjoy that time (ain't she an angel?). So our time together in advance compensates for actually being away on T-Day. We always try to find an interesting place to have our Thanksgiving meal. It hasn't always worked out. One time Linda picked a restaurant that turned out to be a poolside lounge in Motel Village in Calgary. I would count that as our worst experience.
This day we chose Bumpers. We arrived early without a reservation, and enjoyed a booth. We gave thanks to God for a wonderful year together as a family, and thanked Him for the fellowship we had been able to experience in Banff. We placed our orders (our waiter was quite congenial); I had the Mountain Stew and Linda had a burger. I highly recommend the stew. Not many restaurants serve a stew -- the Montana's chain does in Calgary. I can heartily say that Bumper's stew beats 'em all. It's made with a red wine sauce tha tgives it a bold flavlour. the menu says there soem exotic spices added to the dish. But, its not spicy, just flavourful and in a subtle way. There is a salad bar that is included with each meal. I think it alone was probably enough. I don't think Weight Watchers would have given their seal to the combo. The coffee is good. We didn't need dessert.
We left Banff around 6:45 PM.
I have to state my gratitude to Dick and Ruby Klumpenhower for lending us their Dodge Caravan for the trip. It really made a difference. Linda was comfortable; not something she finds with my smaller Saturn car. The back end gave us plenty of room to bring along her walker. I also enjoyed using the van's cruise control on the return leg of the trip. I was really impressed how the program governs going up and down hills. i will definitely want to have that on my next car. We got back into Calgary around 7:45 - 8 PM. We had a great day.
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