Day Twenty Three: Free Day

After recovering from my shock and awe at the amazing sights from the bus tour the day before, we had a free day to do whatever we wanted.  I wanted to sleep in, so I did.  Then I got ready and decided to drive back to the Kootenay Valley viewpoint.  We had passed it when traveling from Fairmont to Banff, but couldn’t pull over due to towing our trailers.  It was quite a drive back there–almost two hours, but the views from this place went on forever.

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Pano from my phone. This valley is awe inspiring.
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Also from my phone.
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And final shot from my phone.
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You can see forever here.
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The mountains, the sky, the forest. Amazing.
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I could sit here for a long time, just staring at the view and contemplating the universe.

As I drove back, I came upon an area of the park that normally is accessible, but was closed at this time due to bear activity.  While Banff and the other national parks in this area are enormous, they also have a lot of traffic.  The TransCanadian Highway runs through here.  To cut down on animal and human carnage from vehicle strikes, the government built an 8 foot fence around the areas traversed by the highway.  All of the exit/access points have cattle guards in the road and gates; they can easily shut off access to anyplace they want to.  There are animal over and under passes built into the system.  It’s really amazing, and I didn’t see any dead road kill anywhere.  Which is amazing when you think about how much wildlife lives here.  It’s a truly great system, and certainly saves lives and a lot of money.  I didn’t take a picture of an overpass on this day, but have one coming up.

Anyway, the closed gate still had a few cars parked at it.  As I passed, I realized there were bears there!  I did a u turn when it was safe, went back and spent a very pleasurable twenty minutes or so watching two bears munching in a meadow beyond the closed gate.

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Black bear! These two were not full grown. I think probably adolescents, as no mama was nearby.
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How cute is he? Much cuter with a fence between me and him, for sure.
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They were munching on dandelions.

I drove to Canmore, a town just outside of the park, to get diesel and supplies.  However, the stores were so crowded I didn’t really buy much of anything.  We had a trip log meeting at 6 pm; I got back just in time for this and then hit the sack.  We needed to leave early the next day to make it to a group activity as we traveled from Banff to Jasper/Hinton, Alberta.

2 Replies to “Day Twenty Three: Free Day”

  1. I can’t remember if we talked about this during clinic or not, but we learned quickly in Alaska that whenever you see 2 or more cars pulled off the road (like the cars at the gate today), stop and check out why they are stopped. We saw so much wildlife we would have otherwise missed if we hadn’t followed this advice. 🙂

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