Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pictures from Glacier

1: St. Mary's Falls
2: Virginia Falls
3 and 4: Logan Pass
5: Just for fun - Mike and I like to watch Abby grasp her toys with her feet while she plays with them...

Days 8, 9 & 10 - Waterton Glacier and bears

On Thursday (after spending the night in a welcomed hotel in Calgary) we traveled to Waterton Lakes National Park (via Cardston to see the temple). We took a very nice boat tour on the Upper Waterton Lake. This is an interesting lake because it crosses the international border so we started and ended the tour in Canada but visited the States along the way!

On Friday morning we woke up early and drove up the
Red Rock Canyon in Waterton to go bear watching. Mike has a good eye and spotted what looked like a young grizzly right off the road. We were only able to watch him for a minute or so before he went behind the trees. He was probably 30 yards away. As we drove between Waterton and Glacier later that morning, we spotted a black bear off the side (maybe 15 feet). All the park rangers in all the parks have been warning everyone that the buffalo berries have just come on so all the bears are coming down lower to eat the thousands and thousands of berries they'll need before winter. Anyway, after we got to Glacier NP, we drove to visit the Many Glacier area and had a sow and 2 cubs cross the road in front of us and in the Many Glacier parking lot, we watched a sow and 1 cub through the scope for a half hour or so! The count was 4 grizzlies off the road, 1 black bear off the road and 2 grizzlies through the scope - all in the same day!

Saturday was spent in Glacier. It is a gorgeous place! Our favorites were a hike to St.Mary's and Virginia Falls and Logan pass - a very high elevation pass similar to Albion Basin (um...but better) with amazing views and lots of wildflowers. We both would've like to have spent a bit more time here! (I'll add a couple pictures when I get them downloaded.)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Days 5, 6 & 7 - Lake Louise

Happy birthday to you, dad! We hope you had a great day!

On Monday, we left Banff (the town - still in the Park) and drove North to the Lake Louise area. We set up camp and then drove to the Lake. It is hard to describe the colors of these glacial lakes. They are such a gorgeous turquoise color. We drove to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, both fed by huge glaciers that you can see from the lakes. They were both great, but Mike and I both thought that Moraine Lake was our favorite. (I think it is our favorite of anything we've seen thus far on the trip!) Moraine Lake seemed a bit quieter and more secluded. It was beautiful!

These are all at Moraine Lake - Yep, it's real...

Tuesday (in honor of the pioneers!?!?) we drove to the Columbia Icefield. It is a huge icefield (the size of 95 Central Parks) that can't be seen without some serious ice climbing, but the glaciers that come off the icefield can be seen. We actually took the icecoach tour onto the Athabasca Glacier. Pretty neat (and really cold)...

Here we are standing on the glacier and then Abby and I
with the glacier we were standing on in the background

The drive to the Columbia Icefield itself was amazing! There are mountains all along the way with glaciers. It is a breath-taking drive.

On the way back to camp we hiked a short bit to the overlook to Peyto Lake, another glacial lake. Again, spectacular...
Overlook to Peyto Lake

This morning, before leaving, we went to Moraine again and rented canoes. We found 4 great waterfalls high up on one of the surrounding peaks. When we were rowing back to the dock, only 2 of the 4 waterfalls were still "running". It is such a dynamic area that is constantly changing!

Days 3, 4 & 5 in Banff

On Saturday morning, we left Great Falls, crossed the border and arrived in the late afternoon in Banff National Park. The Canadian Rockies are amazing! We set up camp and then visited the town of Banff. (It is a bit different here and I haven't totally figured it out, but within the National Park there is a town that claims a population of 8000+ and shops and restaurants like The Gap, Chilis, McDonalds, lots of local stuff, etc.) We drove past the Vermillion Lakes, looked at some cool birds (loons) and watched Abby play around a bit.

Abby at Vermillion Lakes

On Sunday, we attended the Banff Branch. We got there during the Sacrament song so we didn't hear the announcements so it wasn't until R.S. that I realized that about 75% of the 80 or so people in Sacrament Meeting were visitors. It was also interesting because when everyone in R.S. introduced themselves, there were just about as many Utahns as there were Canadians! It was a great little branch though and I really enjoyed it. After church we drove around town a bit (and saw the great big fancy Banff Springs Hotel built in the 1880s), the Bow River falls (beautiful, beautiful setting) and then walked around Johnson Lake, a few kilometers from Banff. We also visited Two Jack (hello, muffin - the one true Jack) Lake and Minnewanka Lake where we followed 4 or 5 bighorn sheep down the road and then watched 3 or 4 more jump over the guardrail on the dam to
join them.
Mike and Abby from different views around Johnson Lake

On Monday, we took down camp in Banff and drove to a lookout that we had driven past several times but never stopped at. It was a lookout for the HooDoos (funky name for some rock pillars sticking out of some trees). Mike's comment was that the HooDoos are pretty anti-climatic when you compare them to the rest of the view from the lookout. The mountains and the river were spectacular!!

Abby and I at the HooDoo overlook

Friday, July 20, 2007

Days 1 & 2 - Falls, Idaho and Great

Our vacation has begun! Yesterday we got off to a bit of a later start than we had hoped. We stopped at the cemetery for a few minutes and then hit the library for the upcoming book club books and then hit the road. We got into IF at about 8:30 where dinner and Dave and Kaye were waiting for us. We enjoyed visiting with them and with Lara when she got home from work.

This morning we left IF at 8:30 and headed north. Neither Mike nor I have traveled much north of IF unless we are heading in the Yellowstone direction so this was new territory. We stopped in Helena for lunch and gas and arrived in Great Falls shortly after 3. After settling into the hotel, we went and visited the Lewis and Clark Center. (Mom, we are already putting the park's pass to use...) It was really interesting and pretty impressive to re-learn the importance of the Lewis and Clark expedition and exploration. The Missouri River is pretty and the forests we
drove through were great.

We went swimming in the hotel pool (a bit colder than the Park Center and Poole's pools that we are used to), ate Chinese takeout and will figure out a way to get the Harry Potter book on CD sometime before we leave Great Falls in the morning. Can't wait to get into Banff tomorrow!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Blogging Begins

I have decided to blog. (Monica got me thinking about it, and I think this will be a good way to share our vacation with friends and family--and some more after the vacation--so I hope you will enjoy...)

Life is very good for Mike, Abby and I. We are loving watching Abby grow and learn. She is at a great age (almost 9 months) and wants so badly to crawl! She is almost there. She is so curious and fun to have around.