Thursday, 21 April 2011

Back to a warmer climate

I've just emerged a little prunish from the hot tub back in that lovely hotel in Summerland. It was a much needed soak after the long drive back from Banff today. The water was scorching, far hotter than the hot springs or the hotel tub in Banff. I'm now the colour of a plum!

The tub is outside, overlooking the lake and the reed area which is a natural sanctuary for all manner of wildlife - birds and ducks congregate in the water and trees while a little muskrat does laps end to end.

We were joined by a whole girls soccer team, obviously enjoying some free time away from their coach, dive bombing in and out of the pool and screaming like no one was listening. Just as I was about to hold one of them under, a couple of older women and an old man got in. One of the ladies started talking to us, asking about our trip. It turned out she was from Dusseldorf but moved here to Vernon, about an hours drive away, forty years ago. She said she was amazed by the country the moment she stepped foot in it and just never left. She still had a german twang, barely noticeable now over the Canadian accent she has unwittingly developed over the years.

On the way out of Banff today we spotted a small herd of bighorn sheep licking salt off the side of the road.

Yesterday we took a five hour walk around the outskirts of Banff town centre. Within minutes of starting the walk, Paul spotted something up ahead. I hadn't even got my camera set up yet! We followed it into the woods and managed to get a better look.

It was a lone coyote. At first we thought it was a wolf, but I noticed it had a bad leg so after the walk, we took our photos to the visitor centre to report our sighting and they identified it as a coyote. Apparently wolves have much longer legs, shorter tails and bigger shoulders. Sightings of both are equally as rare in that area.

The loop took us along the river and then up through the forest via various frozen lakes and brooks. I kept getting really strong whiffs of sulphur which I blamed on Paul... until I saw a steaming pool of hot water coming out of the ground and realised where the stink was coming from.

We were constantly looking out for wildlife, but nothing else was playing. There were plenty of foot prints; wolf, coyote (the same one we'd seen by the river - there was a drag mark after each print where he was limping on his front paw), deer, elk, hare, moose but no sign of life, not even a sound.

We eventually came across a red squirrel eating an acorn. He didn't seem to mind us being there and even smiled for the camera.

On the way back, I took this photo of a man kayaking up the river - just a tiny dot on the landscape in comparison to the towering mountains behind him. You don't really get an idea of the scale of those hills until you have something to measure them against.

Location:Banff / Summerland, Canada


  1. That coyote looks just like the ones that live around here, they walk right along our fence, looking to see if any of the chickens are out. Jack and Maggie have to chase them off at times. It sounds like your trip is going well and soon you will be not far from us when you stay your night in Victoria. xo

  2. Kat--it all looks so beautiful! I'd love to visit Canada. Have a wonderful rest of your trip! xo, Cassie

  3. Sharing your news and pictures with my brother Kat - he's enjoying your updates. So glad you are enjoying your time in Canada xx