Fall Foliage Through Domes
Fall Foliage Through Domes
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Banff: Final Day in the Rockies

Flying Through the Canadian Rockies
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I woke up a little late at 8:00 for today that was the day of flying through the Canadian Rockies with two flying experiences.

Our tour today was in the afternoon, not starting until 11:00am. I spent the morning taking a walk over to the train station to start that photo essay where my camera promptly died and I had forgotten to put my fully recharged battery in my pocket as I did yesterday. Then I found a cafe for a muffin for breakfast.

We were the first stop on the tour bus that left at 11:00 and got the front seats for once as we stopped at 3 other hotels before making a our first tour stop at Bow Falls
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Next we started down the Trans Canadian Highway and out to the Kananaskis Indian Reservation at their small new casino and hotel for the main highlight of the day, a 12 minute summit flight seeing tour abroad a helicopter.
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We were strapped in, I luckily got the front co-pilots seat, l and given a headset to listen along with that also canceled out some of the noise from the helicopter.
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We slowly rose up through the foothills to some of the nearby mountains and got some amazing views.
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It felt like a very long flight for only being 12 minutes and at the end I was definitely happy to be back on land, but can now check off riding a helicopter off my bucket list.

We were through there at 2:15 and had a quiet (the tour guide/bus driver turned off his microphone) ride back to Banff for a late lunch splitting a Pizza at a Boston Pizza.

In the afternoon our tour drove up into the foothills, to see the Banff Springs Hotel.
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Next we continued onto the Minnewanka Loop Road. First we saw a male elk that I was finally safe enough away from (in a vehicle) to photograph.
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Then we continued around Two Jack Lake.
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And saw Bighorn Sheep
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Before passing Lake Minnewanka.
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Next we made our way back into Banff to go on our other 'flying experience', a ride on the Banff Gondola up to the summit of Sulphur Mountain. I am used to riding these only while skiing and this was one of the slowest gondolas I have ridden and is only for sightseeing, it does not go up to the top of a ski hill. It, along with the snow coach tours on the Columbia Icefield, are run (if not owned) by Brewester Touring so a snow coach is parked outside the base as an advertisement.
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It was an 8 minute ride up on one of these gondolas (well not the freight one taking the days garbage down the mountain).
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To the top base station
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This was the view:
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We had only 45 minutes before the gondola closed to get us down so I quickly walked over to the Sulpher Mountain Cosmic Ray Station.
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The day ended with an hour trip to the Banff Hot Springs right next to the bottom of gondola for an hour soak in the 9 Degrees C, 102 F. We spent about an hour enjoying soaking in the pool, a nice way to end our stay in the Rocky Mountains.
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To get back to town we walked to the Rimrock Hotel, having to wait about 15 minutes which was fine and gave us an excuse to explore the unique building, for a ROAM bus (using the passes included in our hotel stay) back into downtown Banff where we went for a late dinner to a Tony Roma's (which we also did not realize was a chain, all four of meals in this down were dined at them) whose 'famous for ribs' ribs were decent.

All Aboard the Next Day: Going through the Spiral Tunnels on the First Passage to the West Route

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Last Updated: 8 November, 2011
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