We flew with West Jet and arrived in Calgary. We rented a car at the airport and headed for the city of Calgary. In Calgary, we walked around the city and I stopped to make some sketches from a bridge over Bow River.
After that, we drove towards the town of Banff. As we got closer to Banff National Park, I saw beautiful towering mountains along the way. We stopped at Kananaskis County where there was a nice golf course. It seemed to be a special golf course and Wayne really wanted to stop there.
Wayne had a strong interest in playing golf. He had first started to get involved with golf when he worked as a caddy while he was still a student. He hadn’t had a chance to play golf when he was working, so that was what he mostly spent his time on in his retirement.
There was a beautiful crystal blue river and layers of mountains along the road in Kananaskis. We stopped and I made some sketches.
We entered Banff National Park. First, we drove around to find a hotel. I picked the one that I liked most, and it was a nice hotel. It had a nice bistro next to the lobby where they served breakfast. The room was also nice and the interior was just like a room in a house.
The next day, we had breakfast in the bistro. The waitress was Irish. She was living and working in the area temporarily and told me that there were many Irish people and other foreigners who did the same there. We talked for a while and she was very nice and friendly.
After that, we drove along a mountain road and stopped for sketches in several places. We drove back near the town and I made more sketches of the mountains and Bow River. We passed the Banff Springs Hotel and we went to a well-known golf course that Wayne wanted to see. After that, we drove back along the river and we also drove along other mountain roads to see the Hoodoos. Lastly, we went to Lake Minnewanka. Banff was a small town surrounded by large beautiful mountains.
In the evening, we went to a restaurant for dinner. It was a nice restaurant and there was a real fireplace there. I had a real steak, probably for the first time in my life. I had a baked potato on the side and it was a really great restaurant with great service and friendly, professional staff.
The next day, we headed for Lake Louise. For some reason, many trees on the roads were burnt and fallen down. We stopped at some places on the way and I made sketches.
We arrived in the town of Lake Louse. We drove up a mountain road. There were some hotels around and we picked a hotel called Lake Louise Inn. Then, we went to see Lake Louise. It was a cold and windy day. It was mostly cloudy except for some sunshine in the afternoon. There were a lot of tourists there, many Indians and some Chinese people. I made a sketch of Lake Louise from the closest observation point straight across the lake. It took me a while to finish sketching. After that, we walked around the lake and I made more sketches.
Wayne suggested that we go into the hotel, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and have some lunch. So we went in and sat by the window facing the lake. I had onion soup. The food was expensive but the interior was beautiful in the hotel. We asked the waitress to take pictures of us at the table.
The next day, we had a nice big buffet-style breakfast at our hotel. After that, we went to see Moraine Lake. It was snowing and I could not see the mountain peaks which were what Moraine Lake was known for. However, probably because of the snow, there were only a few people there, so I walked around the lake and made some sketches and spent a long time there.
After that, we headed for Consolation Lake. The entrance to the trail that led to Consolation Lake was just beside Moraine Lake. It was an area that there were warnings about in the guidebook because of bears. There were also many warning signs there. I was a little scared, but I wanted to see the lake so we went.
At the beginning of the trail, we passed a couple who were just coming back from Consolation Lake. They were holding ski poles on both hands. In the beginning, the trail went through a rocky area. The rocks were small, and then it led to an extensive area that was covered with large rugged rocks.
After we walked through it, there was a normal narrow trail in the woods. There was hardly anyone walking there that day. We passed two men on the trail and there was a mother and two small children at the lake.
Consolation Lake was quite small and not as exciting as I had thought. But there were more rugged rocks all around the lake like at the beginning of the trail and it was quite spectacular. I made some sketches at the lake and on the trail. Wayne said that he had never before walked those trails in Banff and Jasper Parks, so it was a fresh experience for him.
Yoho National Park
After that, we drove towards Yoho National Park, which was nearby, in British Columbia. We stopped at Kicking Horse River and I made sketches of the river. Some older female tourists looked at my sketches with curiosity and asked me what kind of paintings I made. I really liked the light blue colour of the river and the water travelling through the rugged rocks until it ran over a large rock and created small waterfalls.
We were there for a while and then we drove to Yoho National Park. There was a peaceful emerald-green lake there and there was no movement in the water. I made some sketches and went back to the hotel. We ate dinner at a restaurant.
The next day, we headed north to Jasper National Park. On the way, we stopped at some nice spots on the Icefields Parkway so I could make sketches.
We arrived at Peyto Lake. It was cold like winter. The mountains around the lake and trails were covered with snow. So we only walked to the first viewpoint and didn’t go further inside the park. We saw the same people every time we stopped at new places because everyone seemed to be going to the same places.
We also stopped at Athabasca Glacier and walked the trail. I was able to climb that hilly trail easily as I had built up muscles climbing the large sandy hill in Tadoussac in September. I made more sketches.