Saturday, July 25, 2015

Day 9 Canada, 29/06, To Chase

Not happy. I hit a key that deleted this whole post. Take two.

There was quite a longish distance to drive today to Chase, along the Trans Canada Highway, which wasn't taking me home. The highway has had a lot of money spent on it, with fencing to prevent roaming animals being killed by vehicles and overpasses or underpasses for them to cross. This is an overpass.

Still plenty of beautiful scenery.

A classic truck stop.

From memory our coach, with nearly fifty people and luggage, had to be under 23,300 kg. We weighed in at just under 23,000.

Avalanches are a regular occurrence in Canada. Many are at the same locations each year so a 'sled' across the road might be constructed, such as this one, rather than having the road blocked and perhaps people trapped or worse. At times large amounts of threatening snow will be just blown up by the authorities before an avalanche begins. 

We stopped at 3 Valley Gap to investigate the recreated historical village and within the site, a round house. That is like a train depot shed with a turntable within.

A tree dating back to the 12th century.

Incorporated into the building.

I was disappointed to not see cars like this all over Canada and the US, well new ones.How could Carol and Mike possibly fit their half dozen in anything smaller.

The historical village was interesting and a longer time to visit would have been good.

That's the round house on the left.

It was magical to see these nectar birds hovering and darting around. There were three of them at one point.

Inside the round house. There were plenty of engines and carriages to see.

Anyone my age will surely remember former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his wife Margaret. He once made use of this carriage, normally used by the Governor General, to travel in Canada. As the train passed by a group of protesters, unhappy with his government's policies, he stuck his finger up at them and they were not impressed. Within the train were a sitting room, a double bedroom with en suite, a room for a ladies maid and another bedroom, a bathroom and an office.

A good use for barrels.

Moving along the highway to Craigellachie, where the last spike was driven in after construction of the trans Canada railway.

A freight train passed by.

Sicamous, the house boat capital of Canada.

An osprey next, I believe.

We arrived at our accommodation Quaaout Lodge, just out of the town of Chase and over looking Little Shuswap Lake.

I had the impression that the lodge was owned by a trust of local First Nation people. It was a nice place and well run, and quite lovely to overlook the lake.

There was thunder and lightening as we trooped across to we knew what not.

No, we would not fit in here.

We could fit in the almost underground native house though. There was quite a lot of information about the First Nation lifestyle but rain came in the central opening, making the wood damp and we were nearly smoked out. We had been standing for quite sometime and people were getting very fidgety.

Quite interesting information, some of which I will remember.

It was then on to a barbeque dinner.

Next morning the rain had gone and we were off to our next stop, Whistler.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Day 8 Canada, 28/06, Banff

After our arrival in Banff we took a wander to the shops and bought a few bits and pieces and were back in time for the hotel dinner. We needed some down time in Banff, so we had only booked one short activity for the the next day.

We were going canoeing. It was a short walk Bow River. None of us had canoe experience but the guide who sat at the back encouraged us and I think steered us quite a bit too.

We hoped to see perhaps a bear or a beaver, but we did not. The scenery was nice but it was very warm out on the river with no shade. People all began paddling enthusiastically but soon slowed down as arms began to ache, my own included. At times some people would stop paddling for a break but no one gave up and burdened themselves at to our guide's surprise, none of us whinged. Apparently there is nearly always someone who will, one who did not quite grasp what is involved in canoeing. Except for rescue boats and park rangers boats, power boats are not allowed on park waterways.

We paddled upstream, so it was an easy return. I suppose the trip took an hour or more. A beaver had built a dam where this creek joined the river. To my own surprise, I really quite enjoyed canoeing. Back home, Bone Doctor has a canoe. I should take it out sometime.

After our paddle, we quenched our thirst with our T & B in an Irish pub, found somewhere for a light late lunch and did bugger all for the rest of the afternoon, which is exactly what we wanted to do.

I fancied a steak for dinner and it was very pleasant sitting out on the deck. Look Gattina, they have copied your outdoors screen viewing box.We later found out T & B were eating at the same time as we were, in the same place, but indoors.

While I found plumbing throughout Cananda and the US unnecessarily complicated, I really did like the toilets. Non of the nonsense that goes on in Australia where toilets will  often need multiple flushes. While they nearly all use a similar action, some are also very water efficient. This is not a great example of water efficiency but some sets used very little. The paper is for demonstration purposes only.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Day 7 Canada, 27/06, To Banff

I was up at 5.30 to see the pink hue over Lake Louise. It was nice and so peaceful, but if it is an effort to get up at 5.30, you would not bother.

Brightly sunlit a couple of hours later.

As you can see, the exterior of the Fairmont Chateau is not so impressive, having being altered so much over many years.

A few photos of the grand interior of the Fairmont Chateau. How nice it would have been if it was cool.

We have stopped off at Lake Moraine. Just another beautiful lake? Maybe the best. I climbed on my own to a high vantage point.

A natural gathering of timber, mostly from trees fallen into the river as erosion undercuts river banks.

A squirrel. So exciting.

Once we had reached Banff, we were straight to the gondola and up to Sulphur Mountain. In front of us were an Indian family of six and in front of them an older western couple. We were called forward to join the older couple. Well, the older couple were at it hammer and tongs. This is going to be a nice eight minute ride, not. 'I am never going on holidays with you again', she screeched. Suddenly it was all over and they started chatting to us and being very friendly. They were from the south of the United States, I forget which state and I am not sure how widely it has been reported here, but the one where the confederate flag has finally been lowered after a massacre in a church. Amazingly we came back with them when we descended from the mountain. Got it now. They were from South Carolina. He asked if we knew much about the state. Not much, we replied, except it is a southern state. I don't know how we came to talk about it, but he explained that most people in the state think that the confederate flag should have been lowered more than a century ago. He asked if we knew what red-necks meant. Yes. It is only people like them who support that confederate nonsense. It was a most enlightening conversation, and if what he said is true, it is another reason to be wary of stereo-types.

We did not see any of Marie's mountain sheep under the gondola but we did come across the delightful little chap up top. I guess it is a chipmunk.

Does she look like an Alvin? 

Unrelated, I asked R if he could smell gas? I meant like cooking and heating LPG. Yes, he said. Maybe there is a leak. Once back down in Banff, I had duh moment, when I realised we were atop Sulphur Mountain, which smelt of........sulphur.

I have a recollection of a blog discussion about a critter that looked like this. Is it an insect or spider?

There a restaurant atop the viewing area. Off to the distance, no Marie, further than close by and with lots of steps, was an even higher point for viewing, an old meteorological observation site. It was too hot to make the effort.

Jane and Lance are thataway.

We are kind of thataway.

The Fairmont Banff Springs. Many of these hotels were built by railway companies to attract tourists. The Fairmont company, with hotels overseas too, seems to have bought up all these grand old Canadian hotels.

Perhaps on the Bow River, certainly in Banff. I just can't recall.

Nice dickie seat.

Fairmont Banff Springs from a distance. Apparently new staff and guests get lost in the maze of rooms and corridors. The saying goes, if you haven't been lost in the hotel, you haven't been there.

The four stalagmite like formations left of centre in the photo are called Hoodoos. We kind of realised we were killing time by driving around, the problem being that check in to hotels in Canada is generally 4pm and not 2pm as it is here.

Another Canadian town means more beautiful gardens. We had really been on the move for a couple of days with minimal down time, but we now have a free day in Banff tomorrow, with only a morning tour booked. We are staying at Banff Park Lodge for the two nights, with air con!