O Canada, O Canada...
Trip Start May 09, 2009
96Trip End Ongoing
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The drive from Kootenay takes you right to Banff National Park. Banff and its cousin park, Jasper, to the north are in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. The views of the mountains and their glaciers are phenomenal and the lakes nestled in the mountain are an incredible teal blue color that we had never seen before. The color is a product of light refraction on glacier "flour" – the glacier grinds rocks to a fine consistency like flour that is suspended in the water.
Banff and Jasper are different from American National Parks in that the cities of Banff and Jasper are part of their respective parks. Consequently, you have the nature opportunities combined with towns with the civilized amenities you don't usually get in a US national park. It is as if Jackson WY was located inside Grand Teton NP and in fact, Banff is very similar to Jackson, although not nearly as wealthy and pretentious (sorry, Jackson, but it’s true!).
We have experienced some sticker shock while being in Canada. Not even considering exchange rates, prices are much higher for just about everything – campground fees, gas (over $4 gallon), food. Our budget has taken a serious hit, but it has been worth it to experience the Canadian Rockies.