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Day 9 : Sunday 3rd October 2004

Banff

Today was earmarked for a discovery tour of Banff. I had been here a couple of years ago, but only passing through on the way to Calgary and I had only stayed a couple of hours, so I was keen to see what Banff really had to offer. Unfortunately, due to last night's excesses and my other friend's jet lag, we didn't really get going until about 10am .

Our first visit was a trip up the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain. The views are simply breathtaking. A short walk along a guided pathway leads you to a summit where there is a meteorological base station. After a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and hash browns (are you spotting a pattern here? ) we headed down the mountain and off to a waterfall (Bow Falls) we had seen from the summit, situated just behind the remarkable and venerable Banff Springs Hotel.

The falls were lovely and we just spent a lazy hour walking along the river bank taking in the beautiful scenery, crystal clear blue sky and fresh mountain air.

After our walk, we headed to one of the lakes we had seen from the summit. The very amusingly named Lake Minnewanka. We had hoped to take some kayaks out on the water, but unfortunately all the hire places were shut, due to being out of season. There was a guided boat cruise, but at over CAD 30, it really didn't appeal.

As we made our way back to the car, there were a number of deer (probably not deer at all, but you will have to excuse my ignorance of various animal species - I'm hopeless at classifying these things!) milling around, but they soon ran off when someone let their dog off its leash .

Lake Minnewanka is formed by a dam at one end and we drove over this to reach Two Jack Lake. Not much to see here, although there were some scuba divers who came out of the depths returning from a dive - almost scared my friend to death, she thought she'd seen some kind of lake monster at first!!!

We returned to Banff townsite in the late afternoon and decided that our last trip of the day would be very much more relaxing! We decided to try out the Banff Hot Springs. The water comes out of the spring at a natural 47C and has to be cooled for bathing. It doesn't feel like that when you're in it though and we could only stand five minutes at a time, but it was very pleasantly relaxing.

Later in the evening we went out to find a place to eat. We discovered a small pizza restaurant, which I would highly recommend if I could remember what it was called! I think it was Guido's Ristorante, but I'm not entirely sure! Following this, with all of us feeling tired, and with a long day ahead tomorrow, we turned in early for the night.


Banff Gondola

Bow Falls

Lake Minnewanka