Monday, 6 July 2015

Whistler to Victoria

Smoke haze from distant forest fires which we first observed yesterday moved across Whistler and 'our' part of British Columbia overnight and today. The smell of burn in the air was noticeable in the corridors of our hotel and turned the atmosphere into a fog-like haze for most of travel from Whistler to Horseshoe Bay and our ferry journey to Vancouver Island for the drive to the Provincial capital, Victoria.

Two Saturdays ago I posted photos from Horseshoe Bay with dazzling views across the harbour to distant mountains and a clear blue sky.

The view in Horseshoe Bay today as our ferry departed for Vancouver Island was very different.

A third ferry is in the murky distance
Chemainus, Vancouver Island BC

We arrived in Victoria mid afternoon and soon started exploring the harbour front to which our hotel is adjacent.

British Columbia Parliament House

The harbour front

Beautiful flower pots all around the harbour front and surrounds

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Sun Peaks to Whistler

An early departure from Sun Peaks. First stop was at another scenic spot but the first signs of haze from various wildfires appeared in the distance.

Kamloops Lake

Another scenic stop later in the day.

Duffey Lake

We arrived at Whistler mid-afternoon. Initial impressions are that this is the Los Angeles (or Las Vegas) of ski resorts. In your face commercialism at every turn.

Whistler Village
Village street entertainment

Our hotel was well located and our rooms well appointed to the extent of providing a full, stocked kitchen, with oven top and even a dishwasher. In addition this was provided in the room, scarcely needed for our stay with 32Âșc heat outside.

Fireplace in each room

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Jasper to Sun Peaks

An early departure from Jasper meant leaving this calm scene at our overnight accommodation.

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
Along the way we passed Elk grazing by the side of the road.

Returning to British Columbia from the province of Alberta we stopped to view Mount Robson (and enjoy yet another comfort stop).

Mount Robson
Then on to River Safari on the Blue River in BC. This may well prove to be the highlight of the holiday.

The safari was undertaken on twelve seater speedboats which first took us up the river, then into a lake with this gorgeous setting;

Engines were stopped at this point replaced by a quieter motor that had us virtually gliding around the lake whilst we searched for wildlife; especially bears. We were all forced into silence lest any wild life take flight from undue noise. There was no guarantee that a bear would be sighted.

But we were lucky!

A bear appeared by the banks of the lake. It never stopped moving. Passing quickly through shadows and light in the forest the bear paused from time to time only to briefly chew on something tasty. The swiftness of its movement, the shadows and light through which it passed and the glare of the sun in our eyes made photography of the bear a hit and miss affair. This photo is probably the best of my crazed silent snapping and proof of our sighting.

A black bear
Our group in three speedboats heading up the river
The guides were excellent in their handling of the boats ensuring everyone had a fair chance of observing any sightings in their subsequent briefings about the bears and their lives.

I  recommend River Safari on the Blue River to anyone visiting this part of the world. It was a wonderful experience.

Tonight we are staying in Sun Peaks.

The small township of Sun Peaks as seen from my hotel room

Friday, 3 July 2015

Lake Louise to Jasper

We departed Lake Louise after breakfast headed for Jasper as our overnight stop.

A couple of stops along the way;

Peyto Glacier
Athabasca Glacier
Driving on Athabasca Glacier
Walking on Athabasca Glacier
Athabasca Falls
Staying tonight at Jasper Park Lodge

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Sulphur Mountain

I'm finding it difficult to keep this blog up to date with the travel. There are is a build up of photos I'll have to leave until the trip is over.

This morning before departing Banff we travel in gondolas to the summit of Sulphur Mountain overlooking the township and part of the overall National Park.

Some views from the summit.

Zoom photo of Banff Springs Hotel where stayed two nights

Returning to the base centre

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

O Canada!

Today is Canada's national day and in Banff the residents (I assume) and visitors are getting into the spirit of things by crowding into the downtown to celebrate. The footpaths are crowded and as I draft this in the late afternoon some thousands of people have assembled on the town's main street to watch a parade.

Our morning got underway as the flag was raised on the hotel grounds with a ceremonial to mark the occasion.

We wandered into the downtown early this morning to have a stroll. It has the look of a theme park or  Disney movie interpretation of small-town USA.

However the town's setting surrounded by mountains is undeniably beautiful.

In the afternoon we visited some attractions on the outskirts of the town. First up hot springs at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site.

Hot springs
Next, Johnston Canyon.

The lower falls
A local squirrel
Finally, scenic outlook from Mount Norgay.

Banff Springs Resort Hotel in the distance
Tonight we have dinner in one of numerous restaurants in the hotel; this one a Germanic/Austrian one apparently.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Must be a full moon

We are staying at the Fairmont Banff Springs Resort. Whoever designed this Disneyland Castle on steroids must have been working under a full moon.

So it was fitting that we were greeted by this sight on arrival;

Moon rising over Banff

The Mountaineer (again)

We boarded our buses to rejoin the Mountaineer at the appointed 6.15am time only to find the train had not yet returned to Kamloops station from its overnight rest place. So, about 11 buses containing the 665 passengers were taken on an impromptu tour of this city of 90,000.

Eventually the train was found and returned to the station for a departure delayed by an hour.

We now faced a twelve hours journey to Banff.

The breakfast menu was as yesterday (see previous post) but lunch was a fresh menu.

Lunch menu
We started to see some mountains with what at first I assumed were snow caps but was told were glaciers.

With optimal train shuffle conditions we might have arrived at Banff as early as 6.30pm but we arrived at 8.30pm.

Arrival at Banff
More to come.