Day 20: Searching for wildlife in Banff

Day 20 Tuesday, June 4, 2013

WOW! Everywhere we looked we had another WOW moment. Blondie and I didn’t have to go far before we had our first wildlife sighting of the day.  A group of five mule deer were grazing on the plants around some of the empty campsites.

The clear sky opened up the views to the mountains all around us.After breakfast Henry, Blondie and I hiked on the Hoodoos Trail. The trail winds atop the mountain with views of the Bow River Valley below and mountains above. The sounds of the Chickadees had us searching the tree tops. Ravens flew above and perched in the trees.

Two park employees worked on planting grass seed along the trail. They gave us a great recommendation on where to look for wildlife. We took their advice to drive along  the Lake Minnewanka Loop. Minnewanka rhymes with Willy Wonka.

I packed a picnic lunch and off we went in search of Big Horn Sheep. We stopped at the Cascades picnic area at the beginning of the drive where we were serenaded by the sounds of the ground squirrels as we ate and enjoyed the spectacular mountain views all around.

At one of the overlooks we saw what is left of an old coal mine. There was once a village where the workers lived. When the coal mine was shut down they moved the entire town! Some of the buildings are now in the town of Banff.

The beautiful turquoise Lake Minnewanka is a popular recreational area with a swimming area, boat docks, and a boat ramp.  Surrounded by the craggy Canadian Rockies it is a beautiful place and many people were out enjoying the nice day.

After a stop to enjoy the lake we continued our drive which took us across the dam. With the lake to our left and rocky cliffs to our right we stopped at a few more overlooks. In hopes of finding Big Horn Sheep I looked up the cliffs as we drove along. As I was looking up Henry spotted a herd of Mountain Goats in the road. They quickly disappeared down the embankment but not before Henry stuck the camera out the window and got a few photos.

Two Jack Lake was our last stopping place along the drive. It is a smaller lake with a hiking trail.

Our last stop was the town of Banff to visit the post office for post card stamps and a bank to convert some US currency to Canadian. Banff is a picturesque village with it’s main street lined with shops and restaurants and of course, magnificent views of the rocky mountains.

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