It is time to say goodbye to my son and his amazing cute and clever dog! I am already looking forward to my/our next visit in this isolated part of the Kootenay Rockies.
We decide to take a different road, back towards Banff and Calgary and just see where we will end up on our first day. From Kaslo we drive to Balfour, where we take the (free) ferry towards Kootenay Bay. It takes around 30 minutes from one side to the other and we fully enjoy the views on this sunny day.
Our first stop is Cranbrook, where we grab a coffee in the lively shopping street. According to the signs we are pretty close to the US border! In Creston it is harvest time; on every corner of the street pumpkins are sold! Creston valley is one of BC’s prime agricultural regions. Grapes, peaches and cherries are growing here in abundance!
We decide to stay in Kimberley for the night (in a simple, smelly, but spacious apartment) and drive to Banff the next day. There, we will spend two nights in the cozy Hotel Fox & Suites. From Kimberley we follow the road to Invermere, where we take some time to explore the town. It is so much colder here in comparison to the Creston area. We are surprised to see the deer just wandering beside the street!
It is fun driving in this part of Canada. The roads are perfect, barely any traffic and the light over the mountains changes every minute.
At Radio Hot Springs we follow the narrow canyon highway 93 towards Banff. Suddenly snow is fallen and some goats are crossing!!!
We make twice a stop on Kootenay Highway 93. First at Numa Falls; there is a small parking place off the road from where you can walk towards a bridge. There is also a hiking trail starting from the other side of the bridge.
Our second stop is at Marble Canyon and Tokumm Creek; a small path will bring you via a few bridges higher up and here the river splashes deep down in the gorge.
Just before we enter Banff, we have a last stop to enjoy the view over the lake.
At the end of the afternoon we arrive at our hotel and enjoy a nice meal in town. The next day brings us to Johnston Canyon (this time we bought our Banff National Park ticket online!). The canyon is very popular by visitors from all over the world. We walk the trail from the Lower Falls to the Upper Falls and beyond, but we leave the last track to the Inkpots for next time!
From the Falls we drive to Lake Minnewanka, where I went on a boattrip a couple of years before. This time we just hike along the shores of this serene glacial lake. Most tourists are gone and we appreciate the stillness of the surroundings.
Our last day, we will spend in and around my favorite place Canmore, where I was house sitting in 2015. A lovely town, situated along the Bowriver, with plenty of wildlife and hiking trails! I want to show my partner fascinating Grassi Lakes, just outside Canmore. It is a nice moderate climb up the mountain, together with many other visitors, but still worth it! We wait for the sun to rise above the mountain; once the sunlight starts shining in the crystal clear waters, sparkles start dancing!
In the afternoon we hike along the Bow River, explore the town and have a late lunch outside on the main street. We both fully agree that Canmore is more relaxed and less touristy than Banff. Next time we will stay in Canmore for a night or two!
After lunch, we go for one more hike along the other side of the river. We notice some Elks by the river side. Suddenly, we see a herd of Elk (Wapiti) on the local sports field! They even roam in between the houses. There must be around 60 all together…..The rutting season (from September until mid-October) has started. Male Elks can behave very aggressively, as they herd females for breeding. We better stay on a safe distance!
It is getting late and time to say goodbye to Canmore. We still have to drive to our airport hotel in Calgary, as our flight leaves tomorrow afternoon. These last two weeks have been an amazing adventure. We do hope to return soon, to the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Canada!