Monday, June 4, 2007

Hoodoo who do in Banff? - May 13, 2007

Banff National Park - Hoodoo Trail. From the Trans-Canada, take the first exit to Banff and then the first left onto Tunnel Mountain Road. Take a left turn onto Tunnel Mountain Drive. This very short walk starts at a small parking lot by the campgrounds.

Ok, it happened. I burned out. D and I were planning on doing Grassi Lake, but I just could not get moving. After much debate we decided to be lazy and do a road trip out to Banff. There was a nice little "walk" around the "Hoodoos" on the west side of town, I figured we could give it a try. I wasn't expecting much.

Banff was overcast and drizzly. It was just warm enough that if you kept walking you were okay, but if you stopped for too long, you started to feel the cold. We hit town, drove around Tunnel Mountain Drive and Tunnel Mountain Road for awhile (avoiding downtown due to the Banff Ave construction), debated doing the Tunnel Mountain hike (decided it was too wet -- yeah, I was a huge wuss this particular day), and finally set off for the short Hoodoo walk.

And I mean short walk. We took our time and were still back at the car in about 30 minutes. There are interpretive signs explaining the Hoodoos and how they came to be, but we didn't find them terribly informative or interesting. And the Hoodoos? Well, you're pretty much looking at the best of em here. They're certainly striking, and out of place here in green, overcast Banff, but the novelty ends quickly. Hoodoo are these huge things in Drumheller, where it's dry as a bone and there's lots of dinosaurs around. At least that's how it is in my narrow little world.

All is not lost on this hike however. This walk provides a completely different view of Banff -- a very pleasing one. Even from random places on Tunnel Mountain Drive you can see views of the Rimrock Hotel peeking around Tunnel Mountain, or the Banff Spring Hotel nestled away from the city center. There's also great views of the Banff Springs Golf Course, tucked in between the Bow River and the edge of Mount Rundle. This shot is just west of the golf course, showing the Hoodoos overlooking the Bow, with Mount Rundle in the background.

A number of area peaks were visible from the Hoodoo trail, despite being such an overcast day. I can only imagine what we could have seen on a day when the clouds weren't hanging so low around us. From here Mount Rundle, Tunnel Mountain, Sulphur Mountain, Stoney Squaw Mountain, part of Cascade, Sundance, and I *think* Mt. Bourgeau were all visible. Impossible to fit into one photo with my little point and shoot camera, but here's just one part of the view, with Tunnel Mountain and Bow River and what I believe is the Massive Range in the background.

After so many panoramic vistas, I felt the need to get up close and personal with some budding wildflowers along the way.

That's it. A nice little walk for a misty, grey kind of day. Good to look for if you're in Banff already, but not enough to amuse you for very long while you're out there.

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