Day Eighteen

It was a rainy day here in Banff, but we still made the best of it! We started out with a quick breakfast before trying to make a game plan.

We had walked by the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies yesterday and thought it could be a good place to check out. It was a really great museum. They had a mix of artwork and heritage items. We started with a walk through one of the art galleries before heading into the heritage gallery. It had exhibits on the First Nations people from the area, early mountaineers, the railroads, early tourism and skiing establishments, and the history of the Banff Centre. We also checked out the Founders’ Gallery, which features the work of the Whytes, an important family to the early days of Banff.

After the museum, we went to get some lunch at the Rose and Crown Pub. The food was delicious, and their chicken pot pie really hit the spot on a cold day like today. We definitely have plans to go back later this weekend!

It was time for just a little bit of shopping after lunch, specifically to accomplish one of my pre-Canadian departure goals: getting a Hudson Bay Company blanket! Angie had said it would be my graduation present, and after some serious thought I settled on the caribou throw. I can’t wait to snuggle into it! We walked around town for a bit more before making a quick stop back at the hotel to change and have a bit of ice cream before driving out to one of the trailheads we wanted to hike to see if it was dry enough to try.

We drove out to the Tunnel Mountain Trail. We’d read in a few places that it was a great place to get pictures of the whole town of Banff, because there are great views of the valley from the summit. It was pretty dry, so we started up the mountain, happy to see that the rain had kept a lot of people off the trail — the most popular in the park — for the day. It was an easy hike, and the views were definitely worth it. One of my favorite things were the two red Parks Canada adirondack chairs that were at the top of the mountain, positioned so anyone sitting on them would have a great view of the area. I think there may have been a similar set of chairs placed somewhere a little off the trail back at Old Fort Point in Jasper as well, since I remember seeing something that looked like red chairs in the distance at one point on that hike and was asked by another hiker if I’d seen red chairs anywhere. If these adirondack chairs are something in all the parks, it would definitely be fun to go on some kind of scavenger hunt for them all!

On climb down the mountain we saw more people than on the climb up. It also started raining again, so our timing was perfect. We went back to the hotel, grabbed our swimsuits, and walked across the street to the Banff Park Lodge to use their whirlpools and steam room. It was really nice to have a good soak after a somewhat chilly day of hiking and I can only imagine what it will feel like tomorrow if we make it to the hot springs!

After our spa time, we went for a quick dinner, then back to the hotel to crash for the night and rest up. Tomorrow we’re meeting Megan to go out to Lake Minnewanka, and we’re also hoping to get out to the hot springs!

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