Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Day 8: Relocation cruise to Johnston's Canyon Campground

Some cheerful encouragement at the start of the Johnston Canyon trail. 

Today is our last full day of this particular trip.  The boys are ready to be home.  To be honest - I will be glad to be home, too.  That said, we have been blessed to travel so much these last two years since the arrival of the Gypsy Wagon.

Our relocation cruise took us a whopping 28 kilometres/17 miles west from Banff towards Lake Louise.  Johnston Canyon Campground is more like a regular BC Provincial Park - large separate sites in a forest grove with no services.  That is OK, this is more like real camping and the Gypsy Wagon can handle dry camping for at least 5 days before we need a power boost.

We lucked out in Site 65 as it backs onto the trail that runs along a small river. It is surrounded by tall trees and is relatively private.  Some of the interior sites in this park are small with many neighbours. There are few bushes and shrubs in the middle of the park as the forest canopy is tight making it a little more like group camping.

Our afternoon consisted of reading, checking out the river, a short cycle around the campground and later a stroll to the Lower Falls of Johnston Canyon.

This is a short, highly popular walk.  Many RV's, cars and motorhomes litter the sides of the Bow Valley Parkway near the entrance to this natural attraction.  Our campsite is located directly across the street so we missed all of the parking craziness - this Mama had a plan.

Tonight we had "let's clean up the fridge" leftovers which suited everyone fine.  And, because our site is long and level we will be able to make a fast morning get away since we did not have to unhitch the trailer.  Nice!

Home sweet home, here we come.

Site #65 at the Johnston Canyon Campground near Banff is a keeper. 

Lower Falls, Johnston Canyon. 

stink eye: noun. a facial expression of distrust, disdain, or disapproval. 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Day 7: And, we have a bear! Bow Valley Parkway and Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, AB. 
On our last full day in Banff we were getting a little bit discouraged at the lack of wildlife that we have viewed. So far, some female Bighorn sheep on the road up to Mt. Norquay has been it.

Our strategy included driving the Bow River Parkway from Banff to Lake Louise.  No. No wildlife for us. We ended up in Lake Louise and decided we might as well go up to Moraine Lake which we had not yet done on the days that we were camping in Lake Louise.

Well, if a handsome black bear didn't step out of the forest and amble across the road right in front of the truck on the way up to Moraine Lake.  There was no time to get the iPhone unlocked and my Canon had the long lens on which is no good in low light. So, we just screeched and looked. OK, maybe I was the only one screeching.  Before we knew it the bear was gone.

Moraine Lake was another easy teenager tourist stop as you just jump out of the car there it is!

Dominic had googled skateboard parks and had his heart set on the park 25 km east in Canmore. Off we go to Canmore!

We faithfully stopped at many of the pull-outs but there was no wildlife to be seen today.

First World War Internment Camp memorial. 

We passed the train and then it caught up to us again. 

Really, there was a black bear in there.  Somewhere. 

Now that the camera is out . . . the final approach to Moraine Lake.

No filters - just super blue. 

Good times with the goof-balls. 

Since we did not have our cameras ready for the real bear, this one will have to do. 

Side trip to Canmore for Dominic. 

Approaching Banff from the east one last time. 

Monday, 22 August 2016

Day 6: Calgary - Red's in Ramsay Lunch Delight

Since we knew the weather was going to take a turn we drove to Calgary today. Hitting the road early we popped into the Tim Horton's Drive-Thru in Canmore before heading to the Calgary Zoo.  While the Zoo was pleasant we do not need to visit another zoo for a good long while.

The highlight of our day, lunch at Red's in Ramsay.  One word - delicious!  Yelp for the win.

Our view heading out of the Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court. 

Calgary Zoo - great for kids under 10. 

Mind you, that did not stop Dominic. 

Domo's Putin impression. 

Whom might this be?

African Crowned Crane with young. 

Alex regards the peacock. More like, Alex stocks the peacock. 

Illuminasia: Lantern and Garden Festival at the Calgary Zoo. 

Alex took a pass on the butterfly gardens - long traumatic story. Dominic and I enjoyed the plants and butterflies. 

Yelp for the win. Excellent restaurant.
Red's in Ramsay. 
Build Your Own Burger.

Red's Steak Sandwich with sauteed onions and mushrooms. 

Crepes Florentine. 

A dreary day in Calgary.

Oh, a poutine truck!!!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Day 5.5: Where the Sheep Are - Evening Drives Near Banff

Female Bighorn sheep with young.
Mt. Norquay, Banff, AB. 

Sometimes adventure happens after dinner, too.  Hence, the Day 5.5 bonus edition of the Gypsy Wagon Adventures.

We took a short drive along the Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive which passes Two Jack Lake and Lake Minnewanka.  This 13 km loop had several lovely look-outs with easy parking and captivating mountain and lake views. We did not see any wildlife along this route.

After, we headed up to the top of Mount Norquay to experience an unobstructed view looking south over the town of Banff.  I had read that this was a great way to get a free view instead of forking out big dollars to ride up the Sulphur Mountain Gondola.  I've never been up the gondola; however, this view was stunning and we were treated to three sightings of female Bighorn Sheep with babies.

Two Jack Lake off the Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive. 

Alexandre wanted to touch the water and Dominic was getting into photography.
Lake Minnewanka. 

A pair of Golden-mantled ground squirrels were flitting in and out of the rocks. These ones were not so over-fed as the ones by Lake Louise. 

Finally, some really, truly, wild, wildlife! 

Looking south over the town of Banff, AB from the Mt. Norquay access road. 

They are still posing for me.