Just a friendly reminder (because I think some of these photos I've been posting are quite good), all of my photos belong strictly to me and are copyrighted. This means you may not take them. Okie dokie?
This was the beginning of our big hike/kayak day. We started off with good intentions of hiking in the morning and kayaking in the late afternoon, but it ended up being so cozy with our coffee and our breakfast in the trailer in the morning that we didn't even set out until noon. One of the best things about holidays is the lack of any type of pressure to be anywhere at a certain time, right? So the plan was to hike to Bow Glacier Falls (not to be confused with Bow Falls in Banff). The lady in the Lodge's coffee shop said it would take about an hour to get there. It ended up being a beautiful day, a wonderful hike, and took about 1.5 hours to get there. Maybe we were walking slow, or stopping lots for photos, but again, there were no time constraints. The only thing I didn't like were the amount of flies and bitey-flies. If you're going to hike here, bug spray helps, and wear proper running or hiking shoes. The later 30 minutes of this hike is walking across very uneven rocky ground, so wearing sandals isn't really a good idea. Here we are along side Bow Lake, not far into our hike. The falls can be seen in the middle-left side of the photo.
This photo is quite accurate as far as the color of Bow Lake. It's really quite beautiful. Along the hiking trail at this point, the water dropped off very quickly. I have no idea how deep the lake is, but it beckoned Thor to dive in. He didn't though.. but it was tempting.
This happy toad (or frog?) had the perfect habitat and it showed. I almost stepped on him, but Thor pointed him out to me. The amount of flies and bugs here would be more than enough to sustain this fellow. He was about as big as one of my hands, though I didn't pick him up. I think he's cool looking.
About half way to the falls, you have to start this somewhat breathy little stair climb where the stairs were huge and uneven and difficult to traverse. But once you are at the top of them, you get a much better view of your goal. Be careful not to fall when you are walking on this dusty and somewhat slippery dirt, like I did. Thankfully, I stopped sliding and didn't fall into the canyon on the left side. From here, it looks like the falls are the top of that mountain, but there's a lot more to it hidden just beyond sight.
Finally we made it to Bow Glacier Falls. Off in the distant distance, is Bow Lake and a small horizontal tan line. That's where we started from. It's actually quite a hike. I'm not sure if it's because of my synthroid or what, but I don't have the stamina I've had in previous years.. which sounds weird considering I had cancer then and don't now. But the meds need to be right, and I don't think they are yet. Anyway, round trip this took us 4 hours. I was dog tired when we were just about back at the Lodge.. dog tired.
But being at the base of the falls was so worth the hike. I do totally recommend making a day of it. The mist off the falls is refreshing and even though there are other hikers, you don't ever get the sense that it's over populated. Everyone is smiling and happy, and really enjoying their accomplishment. This whole mountain wall has several falls all around coming out of it. I counted 5. You can see 3 here. The big one looks dwarfed in this photo.. which is why I took the photo coming up...
I think this might be my best photo of the trip, actually. I thought the kissing chipmunks might have been, but this one I just love. You can totally see the power and size of the falls here. This girl was really putting herself at risk, and would have had to get across slippery wet rocks in order to sit here. I hope she stayed safe.
We got back to the Lodge and I bought a coffee.. a much much needed one, and then Thor and I went to the picnic area of Bow Lake, where we could sit and dip our feet in the water as we ate our sandwiches, before launching the kayaks. For a while I didn't think I'd have enough steam to kayak, but it was totally the right way to end the day. We kayaked for over an hour and then when we went to shore, we decided to change into our swimsuits and jump in. It was incredibly cold for swimming in, but I managed to submerge myself and then it was ok. I had to be greatly encouraged to dunk myself though.. Thor was great as he chanted "Do it, do it, do it!!" until I actually did it. He snapped a pic of me standing with my towel after my dunk. Imagine, the deep alpine forest and crystal clear glacial lake smells, the blue skies and emerald waters, the sounds of the birds chirping at the water's edge and the slosh of the paddles moving through the water, the feeling of the slight breeze on your skin and the sun when it wasn't hiding behind a cloud. Peacefulness and contentment.
Banff touristy stuff was next on the agenda...