Mountain views, bear spotting and impressive glaciers - a trip to the Great White North is an incredible experience
8/29/2014 3:40:28 PM
|written By : Basabi Banerjee|
We decided to explore the Canadian Rockies in early July this year with the sort of friends one would happily travel across the world. Having lived in Canada for over three decades, they were undaunted by the prospect of making a road trip from Calgary to Vancouver in a hired SUV, notwithstanding the fact that we would be covering a distance of over a thousand kilometres. Subroto and Mithu planned stops at Banff, Jasper, Kamloops and Whistler to stave off driving-fatigue and provide ample time to enjoy the breathtaking sights of Western Canada. True to their hospitable ways, they flew to Calgary a day before we arrived so that they could pick up our hired vehicle before meeting us at the airport.
Calgary, also known as The Heart of The New West, welcomed us in true cowtown fashion with live country performances by weathered cowboys serenading new arrivals as a celebratory prelude to the stampede, a thrilling rodeo exhibition and festival which draws a crowd of over a million every July. We decided, however, to forgo the lesser pleasures of Calgary, home to hundreds of oil companies, and drove out of the city with its vast, flat expanses soon after we had arrived.
Since it was not an urban experience that we sought in Alberta but the more tempting pleasures of enjoying spectacular scenery, we headed first to the town of Banff nestled in Canada’s oldest National park, where we had decided to stay for a couple of days to do an introductory exploration of the famous mountain province whose stunning landscape, varied wildlife, dramatic mountain ranges and sparkling lakes make it replete with photo opportunities.
Making our way to the top of Sulphur Mountain in a gondola, (a cable car) we enjoyed spectacular 360 degree views of mountain ranges, pine forests and, of course, Bow river which originates in the Rocky Mountains and was used for sustenance long before the arrival of the first European settlers. Returning to the foothills of Sulphur Mountain, we had the unexpected pleasure of spotting a solitary elk leisurely grazing in the distance, its magnificent antlers conferring upon it an air of imperiousness. Lifting its head occasionally, it almost seemed to be saying to the small crowd that had gathered to observe it, “I know you’re desperate for a photo- get on with it.”