Saturday, August 22: Banff
During breakfast, I found that the battery in my P&S camera was dead, so I had to throw it on the charger. I could not find my spare battery. I might have left that home.
We loaded up stuff for the day, and then drove to Banff. We aimed for the upper overlooks for Bow Falls, but there were a number of road closures due to (what we later found was) a bike race. We ended up driving to some sort of Arts Center, and parked in their garage. Then we had a hike down the road to get to the overlook.
It was close enough to freezing that the car was warning me to watch out for frozen roads. That puts the temperature somewhere in the low 30's.
The view from the upper overlook was not very impressive. We really wanted to be in the lower overlooks on the other side of the river. But walking to them would be rather a long walk, and then we would have a really long walk back to the car.
The closures were due to end at about the current time, so Amy stayed at the parking lot, and Mike and I hiked up the hill, got the car, and then picked up Amy. We then drove around to the lower overlook parking lot.
This was much better for viewing the falls, except that the water was in the sun, and the far side cliffs were in the shade. This made it almost impossible to get a good picture.
We then drove to downtown Banff, and drove around until we could find a parking spot. We wandered around until we found the visitor's center and got a hiking map. We also saw a poster for a “lantern tour” of the Cave and Basin.
We wandered around until we found a place for lunch. We ended up at one with a Cajun theme. Afterwards, we drove a few miles further north to the Johnson Falls. Actually we tried, but the exit we wanted was closed. Perhaps due to another bike race?
We continued up the main highway, stopped at a rest stop, and took some pictures. Then we continued further up, until we got to the next place where we could connect to the road to the falls. We hoped that the closure didn't go as far as the falls, but apparently it did. There was a line of stopped cars waiting to go in. Fortunately for us, that closure was scheduled to end in only a few minutes. So we waited for a very short time, and then the vehicles started to move.
The trail to Johnson Falls was very easy, and so it was very popular. We bypassed the lower falls and continued on to the upper falls. It was amazingly organized at the end. People queued up waiting their turn to go the end of the walkway, take some pictures, and then leaving to make room for the next people.
We hiked back down, stopping at the lower falls. The line here was longer. It went over a small bridge and then through a small tunnel in the rock to a place to view the falls. I got some good pictures while waiting on the bridge. Then I waited for my turn. Overall, the view from the end was not that great. Particularly with the mist from the falls, and the waiting crowd, I didn't even bother with trying to get a tripod picture from there.
At the start of the trail Amy and Mike got an ice cream cone, but I didn't feel like one.
We took the scenic way back to Banff, stopping at a number of pull-outs for pictures.
When we got to Banff (maybe around 5-6pm?), there was still too much sun on the Bow Falls, so we parked at downtown and wandered around looking for dinner. We eventually ate at a Thai place.
After dinner, we went back yet again to the Bow Falls. Everything was in the shade, but Michael didn't want to take pictures. So I went out and took some quick ones.
By then it was getting very late, so we drove back to Canmore and the hotel.
I had to get my key card redone, because apparently the magnet in my iPhone case had demagnetized it.
Back in the hotel room, I found that the battery for my P&S was apparently working again. OTOH, I found that the hyper-drive didn't have a good battery. Even plugged in, it started to upload my flash card, but then it complained that there wasn't enough juice in the battery. I'll have to charge it overnight and see if it works then. If it doesn't, then I'll be in trouble once my flash card fills up.
I was just charging stuff, writing this up, cleaning filters, and the calling it a night.
It was strange in terms of weather. I started out the day with my heaviest fleece, a down vest, and my soft-shell. It was almost freezing. By the end of the day, I was hiking around with a tee-shirt and my soft-shell unzipped.