John & Anne Wiley

2012/09/20

To Banff

Unlike our flight North up the valley, heading home we flew the extra few miles down to see Banff and then back up the valley to follow the road over to Invermere in the next valley. As we passed the place where we’d joined the valley toward Jasper from Golden, the weather started closing in.

2752 Weather Eye

2752 Weather Eye

My weather eye and backup planning was on high alert as I saw the dark clouds ahead (right side of the pic) and ensured that it stayed bright behind (left side). I watched for lightning and listened for the static it makes on the radios. I kept track of airports we could nip into if we needed to land and wait for the weather to pass. Still, our path to Banff was good so I kept going. Before long the weather that had been just off to the left of our path was behind us, and the beauty of this wavy ridge near Banff rewarded our cautious alertness.

2777 Wavy Ridge

2777 Wavy Ridge

Soon we rounded the bend into Banff and saw the grand old lodge in the storm shadow at the base of the scalloped ridge gleaming among the clouds.

2790 Old Banff

2790 Old Banff

I think of this as “Old Banff” because I imagine the lodge was the original (and still the most powerful) attraction. We passed to to fly over the town, off to the left outside this pic. It’s a more ordinary largish alpine tourist town. There’s a pretty lake and miles of forest dotted with cat’s eye ponds like this.

2800 Cat's Eye

2800 Cat’s Eye

Then we turned back toward the lodge for a closer look, and on the way got a look at the other side of the scalloped ridge. From here it looks more like all the other sheer cliffs in this part of the Rockies.

2805 Scallop Spine

2805 Scallop Spine

As we passed the lodge, a splash of sunlight hit the tip as if to remind us what a great place this would be for a special retreat, vacation, wedding, or just to enjoy spending a lot of money.

2812 Banff Invitation

2812 Banff Lodge Invitation

After we flew the couple of miles back up the valley, at the turn toward Invermere we saw Louise’s sister. When we passed the actual famous Lake Louise on the way to Banff a few minutes before, it was hidden in the mists of a light rain and in deep shadow from a cloud so I didn’t bother trying to snap it. Besides, the glacier that once made it so special has retreated so far up the valley it’s a sad carcass of the postcard image. This one’s a little higher, and the glacier is still nearly down to the lake.

2825 Lake Un-Louise

2825 Lake Un-Louise

I was glad we saw this one, because it gave me a chance to share a snap that somewhat simulates a major attraction in this part of the Rockies. A place where major forces of nature and facets of geography combine to soothe the soul.

So now I will post this and return to celebrating the birthday of my favorite person on this planet, refreshed by this continued review of one of our favorite places on this planet. Happy Birthday, angel. 🙂

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