Susan's sketchbook log: Banff


"It's a bird! It's a plane!"

Bow Valley from hotelThis is the classic view from the hotel (left), up the Bow River Valley. The Hotel Historian recounted how the original owner, Mr. VanHorne, visited whilst the hotel was under construction and found they were starting to build it so the staff had this view from the kitchens. Needless to say, he wasted no time in getting things turned around.

I certainly was drawn to it over and over again. Even though visiting the river itself meant going down a steep drive and then several long steeper wooden staircases, past the pub (the old golf clubhouse) and down the cart path. On one early morning trip, a British woman was obviously unsure where she was going and was heading toward the pub. "The path to the river is the other way, " I told her, "um.. unless you're really jet lagged and want the pub at 7.30am?"

One evening a Japanese woman stopped to tell me she'd seen three muledeer across the road. I wandered farther and actually found a herd of 18 grazing. I wondered how a non-native speaker knew a word like 'muledeer.' Later, I found out they were actually elk.

A couple days later, visiting the Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park, the Snocoach driver from Montreal called four Bighorn sheep "mountain goats."

Bottom line: never trust a non-local with wildlife identification.

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