Alaska, the Last Frontier - Summer 2012 travel blog

Minnewaka Lake panorama

another view

Fairmont Hotel


another view

Lake Minnewanka

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Bow Falls

A drive from the flat wheat fields and grain elevators of southern Alberta brought us through the last metropolis we will see for the next few weeks - Calgary. An expressway loop around the city is not finished and the traffic was slow and heavy as we had this final urban experience. After spending a few months in the emptiness that is Alaska, we might appreciate seeing all those place to spend money, but today we just wanted to get past it all.

West of the city the Rockies came into view. The weather is unsettled. On one part of the road the rain was heavy enough to use the windshield wipers and we wondered what scenery the clouds were obscuring. Then we would round a curve and the sun and blue skies highlighted magnificent peaks. And then the clouds would loom and we even had a little sleet. The sun would come back and the temperature would rise 15ยบ. Crazy!

Memorial Day is not celebrated in Canada, so we have the campground pretty much to ourselves. The views outside of every window in the motor home are amazing - and then the rain clouds come and hide them again. Since the sun doesn't set until 9:30 here, we had time for a little photo safari around Lake Minnetanka after the motor home was parked. We have vague memories of taking a boat tour on the lake and just might do so again. A drive through the town of Banff brought us to a magnificent hotel - the Banff Fairmont. One night staying at the Fairmont costs about as much as a tankful of diesel for the motor home. As the railroad was built through the Canadian Rockies, the men in charge also built destination hotels so the folks from back East would have a reason to come here and nice places to stay. Around here there's a great view or waterfall around every curve in the road. It will be great to have four nights camped in the same spot with time to explore it all.

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