Banff to Saskatchewan River Crossing

Day 8
Saturday July 23rd

Canada Place

Outside all the streams were under repair and empty so they lost all their attractiveness. We spent an hour or so there before heading down the road to the Luxtom museum, an old wooden pallisade fort style building.

Packed up and drove to Canada Place although it was only a few hundred yards away as we would be travelling on from there. Didn't quite know what to expect but it turned out to ba a small history museum with some pretty grounds. There were several interactive exhibits foir the kids, a canoe to sit in and videos of old Canada.

Luxton museum

We arrived before many of the outdoor exhibitions had started so we spent an hour in the museum before coming out for the Indian dancing.

The museum was static displays of the traditional life of the Indians, explaining about eagle catching, sweat huts and with lots of stuffed animals. The whole experience was very dry, written explanations and not very life like recreations holding minimal attention span of children.

Outside we tried our hand at stick throwing , actually a short spear but with a throwing stick which you used to give yourself extra leverage and hence power. We then watched a variety of traditional dancing, the women's was relatively interesting but the war dance looked like they'd been picking up tips from the local geek shuffling away at the school disco.

Traditional - maybe; interesting - no.

As exciting as it gets

After that there were some recitals of traditional stories, but I guess they lost something in translation.

Morraine lake

We then headed off north to the lakes and proper mountains. I had planned to go to two lakes on the way Morraine lake and Lake Louise, however I was given the impression after an hours driving that one would be sufficient and the nearest one would do. This unfortunately was Lake Louise not Morraine lake which I knew to be more interesting. Fortunately Jude was driving and a few miles shy of Lake Louise a signpost for Morraine lake pointed off to the left, Jude decided that that must be the way and I declined to correct her. Afterwards she did declare that it seemed like a long 4km (it was actually 13 to Morraine lake).

On the side track however we came across our first bear, we knew something was up as despite all the warnings every car was pulled over to the side of the road and all the people were out with their cameras.

Morraine lake was busy but the view was spectacular, in sunshine the glacier meltwater is a brilliant turquoise due to the lack of oxygen. On the outlet a log jam had built up which the boys and I scrambled across and then up the cliff face. Only when I reached the top did I realise that there was a bridge and path up the backside of the hill. Jude & I sat and admired the view while the boys scrambled up and down the rocks. When we sat still, away from the crowds, several chipmunks came out to play scrabbling between our legs.

Walking back down the path we saw a trail off into the wilderness but there was a sign up stating that because of grizzly bears people must travel in parties of 7; this made me wonder about the joggers I'd seen running up the road earlier.


Lake Louise

Once back on the main road we headed off to Lake Louise since it was only a couple of km from the turning. Lake Louise is far more commercialised, a large hotel, tarmaced areas around the lake and everything neat and in its place. The mountain backdrop was not as impressive, I guess it's only more famous as it's a bigger skiing area and easier to get to. The lack of sun didn't help and we ended up only spending about 10 minutes here since it was cold and a let down after Morraine lake.



Heading north again we now felt that we'd really entered the Rockies as the mountains towered above the road, and glaciers kept poking their noses in between the peaks. We arrived at The Crossing early evening and were thankful that we'd heeded warning to book early as another couple were trying to get in only to be turned away and told the next nearest accommodation was 50 miles away.

This is our first chalet style accommodation, rows of self contained wooden huts with a central shop and cafeteria. Jude took advantage of the laundry facilities and the sauna whilst we played games. The cafe felt like a motorway service stop but there was no alternative, the setting however was the most impressive to date.


Just somewhere in passing


©2005 Rob Hayward