Tag Archives: banff

Tunnel Mountain Hike

A couple months ago, a hiked up Banff’s very popular Tunnel Mountain. Although originally known as Sleeping Buffalo due to its appearance, the mountain receivedĀ its current name duringĀ the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

The surveyors assumed the easiest path would be to follow the Bow River, and in this case, constructing a tunnel through this mountain which was beside the river. CPR was furious at the idea, and instead found a route north of the mountain that actually shortened the overall railway and saved CPR millions of dollars. Continue reading

Family Visit 2011 (Banff & Lake Louise)

In June, I officially completed my Master of Science in Computer Science at the University of Calgary. To mark this occasion, my family came out from New Brunswick (by car) and North Carolina to Calgary.

This post is my first in a series. I haven’t had much time to update my blog yet this year, but I plan to do this more frequently since I now have quite a growing backlog of photos to go through!

Our first trip outside to Calgary was of course to Banff and Lake Louise. This beautiful vista is a popular photo spot on the way to Banff.

My parents.

Beautiful downtown Banff boasts an impressive mountain backdrop.

My mom and my uncle.

The Banff Springs Hotel.

Me with my family in front of Lake Louise. There is still some ice covering the lake, but most of it is gone.

Me and my uncle.

A bird was seemingly quite eager to pose for photos. What else can you do besides relax beside Lake Louise?

Banff iCORE Summit

From August 20th to 22nd, I attended the iCORE Summit in Banff as one of the students to represent the Interactions Lab. The lab is partially supported by iCORE, and a summit is held yearly to discuss various topics. This year’s theme was security, which proved to be interesting. Accomodations were provided at the Banff Centre, which was an arts centre that has begun to host events for scientific venues as well.

For me, this was also an opportunity to experience Banff in summer time, and take photos!

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Banff’s main street is instantly recognizable to all who have been to the town before. Not visible in this picture are Banff’s city buses. There is actually 3 bus routes running regularly!

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One morning, there was heavy fog and cloud cover. It began to break apart slowly revealing only sections of a mountain in the distance.

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Getting around the Banff Centre was difficult due to the construction of a new building in the centre. The construction workers have the benefit of having the best view of the whole centre, though.

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The Bow River offers many beautiful vistas with mountains in the background.

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This is the same spot on the river looking towards the town, and its bridge.

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Usually, streets are assumed to be two-way unless otherwise stated, but Banff decides to indicate this using two… one-way signs. Cars travelled in both directions on this street.

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The iconic Banff Springs Hotel.

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Provincial flags at the Banff Centre seem to create a mountain slope of their own.

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In this shot, the infamous Hoodoos are visible, which are the rock formations in the middle left part of the photo.

Banff and Lake Louise

On the Monday holiday, I went to Banff and Lake Louise with some new friends.

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Our first stop was the Johnston Canyon for a short hike. It’s a beautiful area.

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A beautiful shot of a very small waterfall.

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This is a larger waterfall. In order to see it, you must walk through a very low cave!

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Three layers seem to converge and lose their depth in this photo.

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This is Lake Louise. Because of the weather, it was hard to get a good clear shot. However, with some retouching, this photo gained a mystical quality!

Banff, Alberta (Part 2 of 2)

And now for part 2 of Banff. I will begin within what is the most breathtaking view, in my opinion.

Now THIS is beautiful. This view is in the opposite direction of Banff, with other snow-capped mountains in the distance. Many of my pictures are from this similar view, just at different angles.

Proof that I was there! I am standing here near the top of Tunnel Mountain. Taking my photo was a traveler from an Asian country I will not name here. As I did for most people I met, I asked why he was travelling to Canada. His response? “I want to try weed!” This is certainly the most hilarious and perhaps most honest response I could have received. Apparently people are hung for smoking weed in his homeland. I didn’t get his picture or name though, so if you’re some foreign police force wasting money on cracking down on this, don’t ask me for help!

The beautiful Bow River runs through Banff. In this shot, you see the river in the middle, mountains in the distance, and a still-snow covered shoreline in the foreground. Even without lush greenery, I think seeing remnants of snow is a benefit.

The True North Strong and Free! Seeing Canada through the eyes of a tourist without politics gave me some sense of pride. Places like Banff are what people in other countries see about us in tourism brochures. I think this is a good thing too. Banff is a nice place with tourism done right. The main attraction, the mountains, is free for anyone to use. Your enjoyment of this place is not limited by the amount of money you have.

When I arrived at Banff, it was almost dark. Since I only had about 24 hours here, I didn’t want to waste one night, so I toured the small downtown at night. Driving this motivation to roam about was the fact that the room at the hostel was a complete mess with garbage all over the floor left by previous occupants. So there I was in downtown Banff at 9 PM. Most things were closed, but a fudge shop was open. I bought a block of fudge which turned out to be $10. Ooops! But it was good anyway!

When it was time to return to the hostel, I asked a bus driver when the next hostel bus would come. It was a little while, so I decided to check out the grocery store. Well, I missed the bus. So I asked the first bus driver who came along when the next bus was, and he recognized me. He told me the next bus wouldn’t be for an hour. He felt bad, so he says “Oh what the hell, this is Banff, hop on” and he took me where I needed to go anyway even though it wasn’t his actual bus run. This is what I call hospitality.

That’s all for my trip to Alberta.

Banff, Alberta (Part 1 of 2)

Visiting Banff was my first time really travelling since Europe, and it felt good to see a new place, especially one within Canada.

As you probably know, Banff is a beautiful but very small town located in the Canadian Rockies of Alberta. It is very popular with tourists, especially Japanese tourists. Even though this is not a peak time of year, the town was buzzing with people of multiple nationalities and tour buses everywhere.

The people living here are very friendly. After getting off the bus from Calgary, I stood at the side of street trying to locate my hostel on the map. Within minutes, a very nice lady driving a pizza delivery car stopped, got out, and asked where I was trying to go. When I got lost again (minutes later), I checked my map again, causing yet someone else to ask me if I needed assistance, even calling a taxi for me. The hospitality didn’t stop here, but more on that later.

In this photo, you can see many nicely decorated shops within the mountains in the background. Aside from the natural splendor, this town derives its character from maintaining a unique architectural style in its buildings. They haven’t sold out or destroyed this uniqueness in the name of “progress”. Saint John, are you listening?!

This is part of the trail I went on going up Tunnel Mountain. The total distance of the trail is 2.4 km, one way, with a total elevation gain of 800 feet. The map guide identifies this as a “moderate” hike. The views of the surrounding mountains proved very rewarding.

Here you can see many mountains and the town of Banff below. This picture unfortunately doesn’t do it much justice, but the view is quite spectacular in person. In the distance, somewhat obscured in this view, is the highway coming from Calgary.

It was hard to get bored of looking at these mammoth creations of nature. The only time you see anything like this in Saint John is when you look at an Alpine bottle.

Another shot of the mountains. Trees cover the valleys between the mountains, with small pathways in some areas for the train tracks and roads to sneak through.

In my next post, I will post the rest of my Banff pictures that are my favourites, and make a larger set available in my gallery. Check back soon!