This is a bit of a travelogue from my first trip to Banff National Park, taking in the beautiful landscapes with Caitlyn and her family. Our trip started in Canmore, and we drove up to Athabasca and back.

On the way, we stopped by Mistaya Canyon, which was probably my favourite experience. The roaring waterfall here has carved cavernous trenches into the rock. The sound is deafening, and the canyon has been left mostly natural, without being marred with safety rails. It's a bit of a pet peeve of mine, but when you take these beautiful places and barricade them behind safety rails, the whole thing feels more distant to me, as though I'm seeing it on a screen. When I can actually wander through the landscape, it feels much more personal.

The next big stop was Lake Loise, with its beautiful blue waters. After being hit with the initial splendor of the central view, I found myself quite enamoured with all the birds dotting the landscape. A particular favourite of mine was Clark's Nutcracker, also known as the Woodpecker Crow.

Next up was Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks, which older viewers might remember from the $20 bill some years ago. One of the most fun parts of this site was the huge rockpile which was deposited by retreating glaciers. As the dark clouds rolled in, this rock pile gave a wonderful view of the forested valley framing Armour Peak.

At the north end of our journey was Athabasca, with it's severe, ominous views under the dark clouds, and the cheery, bubbly creeks of the glacial meltwater. This is the first time I've ever seen subarctic landscapes, with struggling brush and the red scrubby foliage that has specialized to thrive in this barren landscape.

We made our way back south along the Bow Valley Parkway, along the history railway and the beautiful fields of autumn colours.

October 12, 2017

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