If you ask a Calgarian their favourite part of living in Calgary, I can confidently say that the majority of Calgarians would say “the mountains.” I know the mountains are not in Calgary, but the fact that they are essentially our back yard, makes them a very good reason why Calgary is awesome. Did you know that the Rocky Mountains are the youngest mountain range in the world? I always think of the Rockies as teenagers, which somehow makes them endearing. I love the mountains.
We were heading west on Highway 1. First stop: Goat Pond. I first learned about Goat Pond in an acoustic ecology class when my professor made the bold statement that Goat Pond has the best echo in the Kananaskis. I am not an echo expert, but when I first yelled over the water, towards the mountains, at the top of my lungs, I was pleasantly surprised with the almost perfect repetition that came back to me. Today, we were lucky. The water was absolutely still. Not even the slightest ripple. It looked like a mirror. It was stunning! We stood for a while in the sun and let it warm our faces.
Next stop: The Banff upper hot springs. After paying our way in, we donned our swimmers and waded into the warm water. What a view! Perched on the side of the mountain, and fed by natural springs, the upper hot springs are a majestic place to go for a soak. One of my favourite aspects of Banff is the number of people from all over the world in one place. The hot springs are no different. We heard languages and dialects from everywhere!
Our last stop: The Rimrock in Banff. Just around the corner from the hot springs, sits this beautiful gem of a hotel, where we enjoyed both our fairly-priced beers, and a stunning mountain view.. A curling rink a few stories down, caught our eye. We asked our server if the rink was open to non-guests and she gave us the good news; yes! With the warm weather the ice was not entirely frozen, making it almost impossible for the rocks to slide. We did our best, and laughed that our best wasn’t all that good.
The sky turned and it began to snow. We hopped in the car and began our drive home. As we passed Canmore on the highway we saw about 20 elk just hanging out in the clearing near the road. Stunning views, natural hot springs, beer, curling, AND wildlife?! Thanks for the day trip to the mountains, Calgary!