Our last day in Banff was bright and sunny with -20 degree temperatures...and that was without factoring in the wind chill. On the bright side, Louise could finally see that big blue Alberta sky that Cheryl had spoken of.
We began our day at the Cave and Basin Springs area. Unfortunately after the summer season, the museum is closed on Monday’s and Tuesdays. However there are a few walks with excellent information plaques around the museum. This was the birthplace of the Canadian National Parks.
We took the higher walk where we could see many of the smaller thermal pools which are the habitat of a very rare and endangered snail that is only found there. Numerous little guppy like fish also swam in the warm waters.
The smell of Sulphur permeated the air. What made it magical was the hoar frost which dressed the trees with a delicate beauty.
Louise had her gloves off and didn’t stop taking pictures until she couldn’t feel her fingers. All of us were feeling the cold so we rushed back to the car. Hiking was definitely out for this day but I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
We went back to our condo, packed up and had a light lunch before heading to the Banff Springs Hotel.
We realized when we got there that they only had the 1pm guided tours of the hotel during the week in the summer; and it’s only on weekends for the rest of the year. Apparently these tours were supposed to be only for hotel guests but I’m not sure how stringent they would be on that.
Missing the tour was ok, because we had another plan. We went up to the massive hallway just outside of the Crystal Ballroom. A few people were setting up for a conference but said it was no bother if we sat at one of the tables in-front of one of the many gigantic windows lining the hall. The mountain view was spectacular.
I pulled out a board game which I just happened to be carrying and we played three relaxed rounds of Sequence as we took in the view and listened to musicians in a nearby ballroom, practicing for an upcoming event.
Stopping to use the opulent facilities on our way out, I noticed that even the bathrooms had stunning mountain views.
We took a curved stairway to the main level, only to discover that it was the place where the famous bride ghost of the Banff Springs Hotel had fallen to her death on her wedding day in the late 1920s. She is said to haunt that stairway and the ballroom above.
We stopped in Canmore on our way back to Calgary where we were finally able to clearly see the Three Sisters Mountain.
I also got a cute picture of a fluffy magpie. These birds as well as large ravens ( or crows?) are so prevalent in the area.
Back in Calgary, we admired the sunset behind the distant mountains and ended the day with a delicious steak dinner at my sisters place.