All 50 Road Trip-May 30, 2018, Day 19

(click here for today's pictures)

Kalispell, MT to Banff, Alberta, Canada

Today was the day that we were to head back towards home, instead we just turned the car due North and headed to Banff, Canada. A few days ago I was looking at the map and mentioned that we were close to Banff. Robby immediately said that it was on his bucket list. I reminded him that I had never heard of Banff being on his bucket list. Actually, I had never heard of Banff at all. 

Everyone slept great last night after our late night of swimming. Robby was up first and went to have breakfast while I was in the shower. As the kids put on their clothes, they trickled to breakfast while Robby loaded up the room. We let Whitman sleep as long as he could. He stayed asleep until we were loading up the cart and ate his breakfast in the car.

We loaded up the car. It looked like it had rained a bit last night, but the weather was pretty pleasant. The drive out of Kalispell included a dirt road so we did question the google maps for a good 20 minutes. Thankfully, we were soon on a little highway headed towards Canada.

The kids watched a movie first thing this morning while Robby and I admired  the scenery. We stopped once for gas, and then again for a potty stop further down the road. The Canadian Rockies were nearby us on most of the drive but we didn’t have to drive through them which was nice. 

After crossing into the Canada, I quickly one very important difference between te US and Canada. Their rest areas! They did have plentiful rest areas, but they consisted of a trash can and a porta potty. Seriously, the Canadians could learn a few things from us. Another thing that we noticed yesterday, while in Montana, is that there aren’t too many people out and about in these parts. We have driven miles and miles without seeing anyone. And what is with the cell phone coverage in these parts? Why can’t our phones work even though there are mountains near us? We have struggled with having decent cell service most of the day long.

We soon made it into Kootenay National Park, which was our gateway to Banff National Park. There were two cliffs that we had to go through on our way into the park. Then we immediately saw the Radium Hot Springs. 

We drove just as slow as we could on the drive in hopes of finding a bear. This was through a part of the road that there were bear signs everywhere along with warnings not to stop. Sure enough, we eventually found ourselves a bear. We never did stop, but we turned around at least 2 different times to get a good look at the bear. Now, we did also get a good look at a fool climbing out of his car to take a picture of the bear.

At that stop, we also saw the results of a loud noise that we heard earlier in our drive. It sounded like a rock had hit our window and sure enough, a large crack later appeared. It is already big enough that we will probably just have to have our window replaced. 

We found another picture perfect picnic spot near Vermillion Crossing in the middle of the park. We had passed the bear area, but we still kept a vigilant eye out. The boys played some football but since we were near a river they didn’t risk it too much. 

We did notice the Kootenay NP lodge. Now, Robby has a pretty long list of NP lodges that he wants to return to, but this one certainly would not be on the top of the list. Their Visitor’s Center was more like a highway rest stop/information center as well. In the US, our Visitors Centers are a destination. Not surprisingly though, this one didn’t have a film to watch about the park. 

It was only a bit further when we stopped to take a quick walk on a short trail. It was called Paint Pots. We aren’t really sure why it was called Paint Pots except that the bridge was cedar red, the evergreens were bright green and the creek was a beautiful green and blue. Tonight we did discover that we didn’t make it to the paint pot area. The pictures that Robby saw on his phone was reminiscent of Yellowstone’s Paint Pots. However, I like my red bridge, green trees and blue water idea better.

Back on the road, we came across a sign that “moose next 2 km.” We did our best to find those elusive moose but yet again, we came up short. It kind of spit rain on us off and on some of the afternoon. It didn’t take too long before we made it into Banff National Park. 

We were soon right at the doorstep of our hotel for the night-Lake Louise Inn. The kids were delighted to find that we are in a condo. There is a loft upstairs with 3 beds, a bathroom and a chair. There is also another bedroom with bunk beds and another bed. Robby and I weren’t quick enough grabbing our bed so we are in the murphy bed in the living room. That is fine with me because there is a fireplace. Even though it is fake, I have still stood in front of it warming my backside. It is cold up here, and we are just wearing our shorts today. 

After we explored our condo for a bit, we soon headed off to see Lake Louise. Now, it is very, very pretty, but I do think that Avalanche Lake from yesterday was just a pretty or maybe having to work for the view (5 mile hike) made it better than driving up to the lake. We took pictures there and explored the hotel.

The hotel was built by the train company to give people a destination. It is still working. Robby said that rooms there were 700 a night. The signs said that if you weren’t guests, you shouldn’t come in. The kids were moritified when Robby just blew right by the signs, and we all headed in. It was nice inside but didn’t compare at all to our National Park lodges.

Next up, we drove to Lake Moraine. It was also beautiful, but this time I was chilly. There was a huge rock boulder pile nearby that everyone was climbing up. I had read last night that from the top of the rock pile, it is called the “20 dollar view” because that view is on the Canadian 20 dollar bill. 

Robby sent the kids to climb up the boulder pile and away they went. Reagan was holding his phone so she was in charge of the pictures which were beautiful. It took them a long while to climb up there and even longer to climb down. 

While they were climbing, we took some pictures and even had Whitman take a picture for us. Whitman thought he was something else being able to take a picture with the big camera. He became quite bossy telling us how to stand. When he finished, we had a good laugh about the picture being crooked. Later he told us that some “photo people take crooked pictures.”

From there, we filled up the gas tank and then back to the hotel to find supper. Robby ordered a pizza from the restaurant at the hotel. There are very few eating establishments open around here-like pizza at the hotel or nothing. We didn’t want our crackers and cheese for our meal just yet so pizza it was. While that was baking, Robby checked out the washing machines. 

We had some yummy cheese and sausage pizzas for supper along with some chicken pasta. Afterwards, everyone had some cookies and coke. It was around 10 when everyone went to their beds which is the earliest the kids have been to sleep in weeks!

Robby just walked into our room with today’s laundry. When he came in, he had me go back out just to see how light it is. It is 10 at night and is crazy light out there. You wouldn’t need a flashlight out there at all. Pretty amazing. 

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