Monday, 8 July 2013

Canada Hols - Kootenay National Park

Thursday was a cooler overcast day. We left Radium to drive up Kootenay National Park, eagerly watching for walks/sights on the way. The first was Sinclair Canyon, 1.5km along the road. Given the lack of signage in Canadian Parks, we really thought we had missed it, and then suddenly there it was. The first parking to go and see it was on the left-hand side of the road, across double yellow lines, so, of course, Darryl would not go. It seemed very strange, and we then thought we had missed it, but further up was the parking for those driving on the right (of course no signage back in the cutting, and I saw several cars illegally cross the double lines, thinking they would miss out). I walked back and took some film and photos. The Radium Hot Springs sounded great, but I was terribly disappointed to discover they were almost a Resort – a full-sized swimming pool, cafe, and $6.50 for entry – so we passed on that.The next place we wanted to stop was Olive Lake, but that walk was closed due to bears. Following that was a really spectacular lookout, (that we came on suddenly as it wasn't on the map), but we missed the sign & turn for the next walk. After that was Dog Lake. We went on the walk, which had two suspension bridges. Just before the second one Darryl noticed what looked like dog-prints in the mud beside the river. The 2.6km walk to the lake was quite enjoyable, and while there we heard woodpeckers. Back near the start, we came on a National Parks Ranger who said she was shortly going to have an information session and “Wildlife Detective” activity. We quickly had lunch, and then she had set up furs of bear, coyote and wolf, and antlers from Moose, Elk and a Big-horned sheep. She also had lifesized paw prints of most animals. Then she took a group of us on a walk, looking at all sorts of clues to the animals in the area, prints, black bear scratch marks on trees, scats, bones, etc. Eventually, we just had to move on and were lucky enough to see a small herd of Mountain Goats, including kids, who had come down near the road to lick the white soil. They looked pretty scruffy as they were shedding their winter coats. The Paint Pots walk was closed due to a washed-out bridge, but the following Marble Canyon was very popular. The area leading up to it had been burnt out 10 years ago, and although sad to see, there is a lot of regeneration happening. On the road we also saw White-tailed deer grazing, and another black bear crossing the road. Finally we ended up in Banff for the night, staying at the King Edward Hotel.

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