Planning of the trip
In our house, things are not always going as we planned them. There's often something that gets in the way of our grand plans for a day trip. It can be a laundry list of things that need to be done in the house or the garden. Sometimes it's a simple thing to choose where to go - Banff? Kananaskis Country? Or maybe Waterton?
All that happens until you have a guest in your house who has only one day in the city. All of a sudden, all the travel plans got super clear, and we decided to show our friend some iconic places in the Banff National Park.
Before we jump into the day trip story, let us introduce you to our "old" Ukrainian friend from Montreal - Anya (the red-haired gal in the pictures). She was attending a conference at UofC, and we had only one free day in her busy schedule for this trip. However, she loves nature, and the Banff National Park visit was on her bucket list.
Here's what we planned for one day:
- Town of Banff walk and lunch
As you can see, there are plenty of places on the list to visit. We made it to all of them, yay!
Dead Man's Flats
We stopped for a short pitstop at Dead Man's Flats before getting to the Cascade Ponds on our way to Banff National Park. It's a nice gas station/diner/motel place where you can stretch your legs, get to the washroom, grab a cup of coffee and a sandwich before you continue your trip to the park. You can't miss it, and there's a giant Canadian flag at the entrance.
After getting our coffee, we continued our trip to our first stop on the list - Cascade Ponds. Again, we were lucky, and this time ponds were full of water (a rare thing for the last couple of years). Anya was having a great time running around and photographing ponds and surroundings.
After that, we moved further towards Lake Minnewanka and found out that Johnson Lake was open for local traffic. Again, an infrequent event for those who live here. This lake was closed for local traffic for a couple of years due to some fish disease. We were happy to see the road opened, and we drove to the parking lot at Johnson Lake. We took some photos on the bridge at the lakeshore and decided to move forward to our next stop - Two Jack Lake.
Two Jack Lake
The Two Jack Lake has a lot to offer for a photographer. After usual selfies, we spent some time jumping on the rocks, looking at the reflection of the mountains in water, chilling and watching paddle boarders. It is a great place to bring your family and have a day at the lake or a picnic. Being part of The 38 Photography studio, we photographed a lot of happy couples here.
After Two Jack Lake, we drove to Lake Minnewanka. It was packed with tourist buses and tons of people walking on its shores. After a brief discussion, we decided to take all the pictures from the car while driving by the lake and after that went to the Town of Banff.
Town of Banff
We love the Town of Banff. Its cute streets and one-two-story old buildings have a vibe that is so unique for this town. It's always packed with tourists, so it wasn't an exception this time as well. We were walking the streets, doing some window shopping, taking in the spring sun and enjoying all the beauty surrounding us. We found a great place to grab lunch, with an excellent variety of artisan sandwiches and soups. Check it out; the place is Wild Flour Bakery. Their combo: soup and sandwich are to die for! Highly recommend them.
We stopped briefly at the Fairmont Banff Springs to take a picture of its castle-like building. Then, we stopped for another "must-have photo" - a Town of Banff sign picture on our way out from the town.
Our last stop was at Lake Louise. It was a sunny, warm day, and the lake was only partially covered in ice (it's the end of May, just for the record, lol). The turquoise colour of the water was majestic and attracted a lot of tourists who planted themselves at the entrance to the lake.
We took our time sitting on a deck looking at the lake and ice field, admiring the view and taking pictures. Did I mention that it was a super warm and sunny day? Right. The views of the lake were gorgeous. We decided to take a short hike along the lakeshore and check out the glacier's blue ice up close. Well, close-ish. We all had tons of fun photographing every turn of the path.
The day went fast, and after a while, we got back to our car. We had some hot tea with snacks and got back to Calgary.