I have wanted to visit the Canadian Rockies ever since my best friend came back from Banff when she was nine or ten and showed me pictures of its beauty. Later, at ALDHA Gatherings, I watched various slide shows of people hiking along the Great Divide Trail and I decided that, "Yes, someday that will be me." When Jim and I began making plans for this summer's adventure, of all the possible options, two stood out: Alaska or the Great Divide in Alberta and British Columbia. This year, Canada won. I bought guidebooks and maps, went on-line for ideas and began dreaming of big mountains, turquoise lakes, icy white glaciers . . .
Jim:We left Washington, DC on Aug 2 - flew to Calgary, Alberta - picked up a rental car and stayed overnight in Calgary, then started driving toward the mountains Sunday morning. Yeah - Calgary is on the plains - 70 miles east of Banff. By the time we got within sniffing range of the mountains, we were truly within "sniffing" range - cause the smoke was obvious and obnoxious. We had checked the Canadian Parks fire page before we left, but it turns out the fires were far more serious than we'd been told. Seems the Canadian gubmint (and tourist industry) don't want to scare the tourons away, so they're not telling the world how serious their fire problems are.
Anyway, our plan was to drive to the north end of the park system in Jasper National Park and then backpack and dayhike our way south through Jasper, Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks. Ginny had a list of 24 different possible hikes that she wanted to do - enough to keep us busy for a couple months. We didn't get to do all of them. Yet.