Hiking in Canadian Rockies – Banff and Kootenay

San warned me, but THAT big tourist invasion in Banff and especially Lake Louise, I didn`t expect. It was insane. Rivers of cars, trailers and busses, all over Lake Louise village and both most important lakes: Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. We needed to park one kilometer before Moraine Lake and walk there just to see the lake. And to try to find a spot to make a photo without people πŸ˜›
Moraine Lake
Luckily, we had reserved place in camp (thanks to San :heart: ) so we didn't need to worry about where to spend the night. Because of peak of the tourist season, it was impossible to find a place anywhere and prices in hotels were insane. In shops, too. I mean 4 CAD for a cucumber or 6.5 for a loaf of bread… I mean, really!
Camp itself is surrounded with electrified fence, to keep the bears away. At first I thought that of that as exaggerating, until next morning we saw two 3-years old grizzly bears just 50 meters from our tent :left: If there was no fence, they would be all over the camp… :insane:
Rangers from Parks Canada are on 24 hours duty and they were near the bears in no time, trying to find a way to make them leave the camp area. But they are carrying a heavy artillery: shotguns and big caliber revolvers. I asked one of them if the shotgun is there to scare bears and he told me: "Well, I like to talk first, but…" That "but" represents almost 1000 bears that are killed every year in British Columbia only, because of encounters with people that ends wrong :awww: Fortunately, two grizzly bear brothers were scared and ran away through a back door that rangers opened to them.

one of the grizzlies near the camp
We wanted to go to Sentinel Pass that morning. Groups of at least four hikers rule was on, so we spent some time with one of the rangers near the beginning of trail, talking about the two grizzlies. Ten minutes later, two French girls joined us and we went toward the pass. Even though a trail is about 11km long with elevation gain of about 860 meters, it was not as strenuous as hiking to Burgess Shale. Weather was not as hot and trail is climbing more gradually than the previous one. A view from a pass… well, the photo says it all πŸ˜€
Mount Aberdeen – Haddo Peak – Sheol mountain from Sentinel Pass 2611m
It was another altitude record for me, 2611m above sea (San is still better with 2925m on Abott Pass) and one more chance to enjoy this beautiful surrounding :happy:
In a city of Banff the same thing as in lake Louise – a lot of tourists shopping in centre that could be proud of some of the most famous names in consumer world. We strolled around, checking on some hiking and camping gear but spent money only on food in a local Safeway. Prices were more reasonable and we needed some stuff for next few days. There were too many people there and we wanted to leave.
The plan was to camp in Marble Canyon camp site in Kootenay NP but then, just few kilometers before the camp, by the side of the road we saw this. Mama grizzly with three cubs, feasting with all kinds of berries, going toward the camp.

mama grizzly with one of the cubs; I couldn't get all of them in one photo, unfortunately
Suddenly we felt the urge to go further :whistle: Kootenay NP is more deserted region than Banff or Yoho, and camp site didn't seem to offer much. Besides, we felt a bit tired of previous week filled with hiking. So the next stop was in Radium Hot Springs, that is famous, as the name suggest it, for its natural hot springs πŸ˜€ Also, from Banff's 15C we came to Kootenay's over 30C so we needed some kind of relaxation πŸ˜€
Next morning, while we were drinking coffee, one completely unexpected animal walked into the camp :left:
turkey in a camp
I am not sure if this was wild turkey or just someone's turkey that wondered off the backyard. But interesting one and completely tame πŸ˜€
Next day we camped near Moyie lake and then, after spending some pleasant hour in Nakusp hot springs :whistle: we went back to Vernon.

a group of longhorn sheep, wishing us luck on our journey, in their own quiet way πŸ˜›

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32 Responses to Hiking in Canadian Rockies – Banff and Kootenay

  1. Stardancer says:

    Seems that all the bears in Canada are pretty hungry. You two be careful in your trekking. Kinda scary.Beautiful scenery, though, everywhere you go. Thanks for sharing.:up:

  2. serola says:

    Nice wild life photography :hat:

  3. gdare says:

    Star, bears are hungry all the time :chef: Amazing how they can grow so big eating berries and plants, mostly :left: But then again, look at the elephants :lol:Sami, animals are all around us, we just need to be quiet and watch a little bit. We've seen a lot of white tail deer, too but they were running too fast for me to grab my camera πŸ˜€

  4. gdare says:

    Star, you can imagine, I came from a country where the biggest animal is black bear but I've never seen it in the wild. And from a city where wildlife is limited to pigeons, sparrows, rats, stray cats and stray dogs. Now, living in Canada, I have all the variety of wildlife out on the backyard, so to say :happy:

  5. Stardancer says:

    It's awesome living in an area like that, isn't it? We have bears, elk, deer, and aligators that get really big. Some people say we have Bigfoot, too, but….Well, I'm not saying we do, and I'm not saying we don't. Most of the people who say we do have guns. Big guns. So I'm just gonna be really quiet about that.:whistle::lol:

  6. Words says:

    That's a wonderful sighting of the bears, and so beautiful there. I was at Lake Louise 40 years ago and to be honest can't remember much about it, but I suspect it was much less crowded then. We didn't see any bears, but the scenery is spectacular. I do remember that.

  7. Spaggyj says:

    Wow. Best scenery so far by a mile. Absolutely stunning photographs, too.

  8. gdare says:

    Star, Originally posted by Stardancer:

    Some people say we have Bigfoot

    Some people say we have Sasquatch, but…. :PWords, Banff National Park was established 1886. so I guess it was pretty popular even back in 19th and beginning of 20th century πŸ˜€ This is why permits are needed for every person who want to stop in park. Otherwise, it would be devastated and worn out by now :left:Kimmie, stunning is the right word, yes πŸ˜€

  9. derWandersmann says:

    Gave me a bit of a start, there, with that mention of whitetails … I normally think of that area as populated by mulies and blacktails. Bears are wonderful, and I love 'em, but they're nothing to fool with. Distance is by far the best friend you've got when it comes to bears. I'm always reminded of Ginott's remark about our children: "We are their friends, but they don't know it; they are our enemies, but we don't know it."That saddle completely filled with scree is a caution, for sure; I'd not like to try traversing it. All those mountains are just wonderful exhibits of how the strata are bent and folded in the mountain-building phase, but that's something that only a geomorphologist would get all excited about; to less-obsessed folk, they are merely magnificent.Nice shot of the bighorns, and that turkey is a gem.

  10. gdare says:

    dW, as I always say, having common sense is the best way to protect yourself; we've been watching an documentary about grizzlies in Yellowstone the other day. They are very fast and very dangerous when they attack. No one wants to experience that.Originally posted by derWandersmann:

    Nice shot of the bighorns, and that turkey is a gem.

    Thanks :cheers:

  11. SittingFox says:

    Love the bears :happy: You certainly had a lot of sightings! Grizzlies are often hard to find in the Rockies. But it's disappointing that Parks were carrying lethal weapons. I came across a problem grizzly in Yellowstone and their rangers scared it away with massive firecrakers. Sometimes the only sane move to is temporarily close a campsite and allow the bears to move on. One site in Waterton was closed for good after persistant trouble and that has helped keep grizzlies alive.BTW, it's bighorn sheep and longhorn cattle :)Originally posted by derWandersmann:

    Gave me a bit of a start, there, with that mention of whitetails

    Mule deer are more common in the mountains, but there are a few whitetails around.

  12. qlue says:

    Originally posted by gdare:

    Amazing how they can grow so big eating berries and plants, mostly

    I read once that you can get more calories from plants, hence the reason the largest animals are usually herbivores! :left:Originally posted by Stardancer:

    Well, I'm not saying we do, and I'm not saying we don't. Most of the people who say we do have guns. Big guns. So I'm just gonna be really quiet about that.

    Never disagree with someone who's carrying a big gun! :whistle::pOriginally posted by SittingFox:

    BTW, it's bighorn sheep and longhorn cattle

    Either way it's food! :chef::p

  13. gdare says:

    Adele, they closed camp in Paradise Valley, which is relatively close to Lake Louise but camp we were in is huge and they would probably "feel" that financially. Also, one ranger told us they know about these two grizzly brothers and they usually scare them away. I am glad they didn't need to shot them. It seems that yelling worked quite well :happy:Aadil Originally posted by qlue:

    Either way it's food!


  14. Furie says:

    That really is amazing to me. We're lucky to see a cute dog around here but you have bighorns and bear cubs right on your doorstep in Canada. πŸ˜‰

  15. derWandersmann says:

    BTW, did you get a chance to see an example of a Kootenay canoe? It's a unique variation on the "standard" canoe.

  16. gdare says:

    Mik, it was like that when I was living in Serbia. Now, I've seen more bears in two years than I did in previous 42 years :cheers:dW, we spent only 3 days in Kootenay, mostly driving from one place to another. We were a bit tired of hiking and the area was too hot (over 30C every day) for planning. I hope to go there again one day and spend more time exploring. There is one mysterious area my next post will be about, the one I mentioned to Martin a month ago πŸ˜‰

  17. coisart says:

    i wanna see bears too! :p

  18. gdare says:

    :sst: click on a link πŸ˜›

  19. coisart says:

    real bears! :p

  20. gdare says:

    They are real πŸ˜›

  21. coisart says:

    πŸ˜† i mean see them for myself. :p no, not the photos πŸ™„

  22. Aqualion says:

    Mysterious area? Hm… Well, the more we wait the more mysterious it gets, right?;)I' ve heard turkeys are particularly… erm… simple minded. So, it might just have been someone's turkey who wondered off, as you put it, and then got lost, but just hangs on like nothing has happened, because it's too stupid to feel fear… They only remember like ten minutes or so, so it does not know much. Probably.I have a bear at my home. It's the Wordl's most dangerous Polar Bear. His name is Jochum.:cool:

  23. derWandersmann says:

    She doesn't look like a domestic turkey, Dare. We have them up to our butts here, all over the woods, wandering into the smaller towns, and in their mating seasons, the big toms will get aggressive and threatening to people who they consider to be after their harems. Which kinda goes to show how smart turkeys can be. Sigh! I don't know about other folks, but I've personally been able to keep my sexual passions for lady turkeys under control.

  24. gdare says:

    Martin, I just can't find enough time to check on the photos and make a new post about it. Too busy. But hopefully soon.Originally posted by Aqualion:

    It's the Wordl's most dangerous Polar Bear.

    :insane:dW, as I said, I've never seen a wild turkey before so I will take your word for it :up:

  25. MirabelaTM says:

    Beautiful pictures Darko :up: Especially the one of lake. I see you had a pretty adventurous vacation :up:

  26. gdare says:

    Glacier lakes are one of the most beautiful parts of almost every governmental or provincial national park. They are just stunning because of their colour and surrounding.Thanks πŸ™‚

  27. thaodp says:

    Now I can't say which place you and San share with us is more beautiful because each time I come to your page, I see something new and wonderful. Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

  28. gdare says:

    You are welcome, Mit. Glad you liked it. And nice to see you on OC again, you are not here very often πŸ˜› And me neither, have been busy for last month or so :cheers:

  29. AnitaMargita says:

    Beautiful landscapes and very nice photos of them. :up:Congrats for the altitude record! :cheers:

  30. gdare says:

    Ana, thanks :cheers: I hope to go on even higher altitudes in the future :up:

  31. AnitaMargita says:

    Did you climb from the sea level/foothill or you drove to some point and than started climbing? :)Originally posted by gdare:

    I hope to go on even higher altitudes in the future

    :up: :up:

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