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17 August

Sulphur Mountain is the viewpoint over Banff. It can be accessed by gondola which climbs from about 5000 ft to 7300 ft. We took the car to th gondola station and walked up the zigzag path. This was OK for Beryl and me but it was new ground for Amy who is not a walker. Still we took it very steadily and she made it to the top encouraged by seeing children much younger than her doing it and also seeing the gondola station receding into the distance. She was certainly proud of what she had achieved and was looking forward to bragging about it to her siblings. It also came at some cost in blisters.

The top was pretty well packed. There is a viewing tower (stop for ice cream) and then a boarded walk which climbs another 200 ft to Sansom summit. There is all sorts of wild life to be seen. Bighorn sheep (as in the banner above) are the dominant feature; they seemed to appear from all directions. There are also chipmunks, ground squirrels and Clarks Nutcracker, a bird with a spectacular flight. The real interest however is in the views; spectacular views in every direction.

The reward for the climb is that you get to go down in the gondola free. That was fun.

We went to Cascade Gardens for lunch. This is very like an English park which a lovely display of flowers around the descending stream. That was nice and relaxing. The park also features the national park administration and a tepee. The guy who looks after that and explains the display inside is campaigning for native land rights.

We spent the afternoon walking on the trails around Vermillion lakes which have another wonderful view across to Mount Rundle. I spotted a heron from the car. It was fishing so that I stopped to watch. I thought it would fly off when it saw us; it seemed to think about this but didn't and we had 10-15 minutes of entertainment watching it stalk for fish.

Tea at the chalet and a wander around Banff  in the evening, buying postcards. I also got a Rocky Mountain screensaver for my PC. The great shame was wanting to look at it but knowing that I couldn't until the holiday was over.



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