It's the middle of June, so you think you can get out and do some of the nce day hikes.
WRONG - You're in the mountains and the trails can still be snow covered. These pictures in Banff National Park were taken on June 12, 2011.
Visitors view Peyto Lake from the Bow Summit, near the highest point on the Icefield Parkway. At this altitude, you are in an are of "Snow Forest", which in practical terms means it can snow on any day of the year.
It's a popular site, and with the many visitors trudging up the hill to see the view of the lake, any snow on the ground will be compressed and become extremely slippery! For those visitors who are not familiar with snow, this can lead to a very unpleasant surprise - a slip and fall!
If you see snow on the trail, make sure you are wear appropriate footware and watch how you are walking, regardless of if you are heading up the hill or down it!
There is considerable debate as to whether global warming exists. Most of the nay sayers are trying to rationalize driving big SUVs, taking 20 minute hot showers, or most likely have some financial stake in the oil industry. But even if there is just a slight chance that global warming does in fact exist, we should all do our best to stem its tide. We are only going to get this one planet, and one time at that so let's try and be nice and share it with the other creatures put here.
As with glaciers around the world, those in North America are shrinking at an alarming rate. Most are a fraction of their glorious selves and those in Banff have not escaped this fate. In fact, if you hike to the Plain of the Six Glaciers, you'll probably need a local to point them out to you. They know where they are since some of the old timers have been doing this hike since they were all really visible!
We may not be able to save them but we owe it the the planet to try. Some day we might be doing a hike called the Plain of What Used to be Six Glaciers. We can tell our kids about the glaciers and how pretty they were. You know kids, they are going to ask what happened to them, right. Next up, why?
Many of the better hiking trails will require you to drive out to a secluded spot where the trail begins. There you can park your car for the day while you're out enjoying the park. Would be theives are well aware of this and that in all likelyhood, you won't be back to your car for hours. Bring you valuables along with you or put them out of site so an not to encourage anybody to try and get inside the car.
The Columbia Glacier is the most easily accessible glacier in the Rockies. There are guided tours that will take you out onto the glacier, either on foot or in a snow vehicle.
No matter how tempted you may be to walk out onto the glacier yourself, DO NOT attempt this!!!! It is extremely dangerous. More than a few people have died by falling into a crevass on the glacier. You need expert guidance if you want to go exploring the glacier. Don't try to save some money by going it alone, it's just not worth it.
This happened at Christmas in the Dominican Republic, but can happen anywhere, that is why I am posting it in all my travel places.
This is something that makes me sick. This is not a place specific concern.
While at the pool I notice a little girl about 2 ? 3 yrs old. She had water wings on and was in water over 5 feet deep. There was absolutely nobody watching her. I stayed within a couple feet of her while with my son. After 30 minutes (I thought her parents would come back) I asked her if her mother was around. The girl said yes and quickly left to run to her mother. (I was a stranger so she ran away). I noticed who her parents were.
My dilemma was this; do I make an attempt to tune her parents into reality??? Or do I turn a blind eye and pray nothing happens ??? I know that if something happened to her, I would feel guilty.
I decided that I would keep an eye out for her. The next day, she was left alone in deep water for over 1 hour while her dad was at the other end of the pool reading a magazine. He looked for her every 20 ? 30 minutes. Her mother was sleeping on a pool chair the whole time.
The following day an announcements was made that parents must watch their kids and not leave them alone in the pool. Guess what??.
A friend of her family walked to the edge of the pool to check up on her?.it took 3 minutes for him to find her. When he did, he said to the father, ?oh she is with my son? (who was about 4 ? 5 years old). He went back to his chair and they ignored the kids for another hour.
PEOPLE WATCH YOUR KIDS?..AN ALL INCLUSIVE DOES NOT MEAN THEY WILL WATCH OUT FOR YOUR KID.
I took the opportunity to speak very loud to my wife (loud enough for the parents to hear).
I mentioned how parents that do not look after their kids in situations like that should have family services take their children away from them. That is neglect as far as I am concerned.
Though the weather was overcast and drizzly, there were still people EVERYWHERE!! This was actually a problem for my whole trip .... lots of people at the places I thought I wanted to see the most .... though I understand this weather meant this crowd wasn't as full as it usually is this time of year.
So, take a chance, and research some options off the usual path of tourists so that you can truly experience the wonder of these parks ...... and avoid the coach filled parking lots at all costs!
* Bring only the minimum amt. of food and toiletries needed. Select well-sealed and less odorous food items.
* Keep a clean camp at ALL times.
Clean up and store food and garbage immediately after meals.
* Keep your cooking items clean. Dispose of wash water and food waste away from your camping area.
* Store food, toiletries, and scented items in bear-proof containers. This may include storing items in an airtight container in your trunk or other location out of sight in your vehicle, although no vehicle is secure from damage by a bear searching for food.
* NEVER keep food in your tent.
* Keep a close watch on children, and teach them what to do if they encounter a bear.
* While hiking, make noise to avoid a surprise encounter with a bear, and stay in the open as much as possible.
* Leave dogs at home when going into bear country. Bears may chase them.
* Bears sometimes bluff their way out of threatening situations by charging and then veering off at the last second. If this happens, do your best not to scream or run. The bear will probably retreat as soon as she has made her point (this is her territory) and scared you senseless.
* NEVER approach a bear. Give it plenty of room to pass by. Most black bears try to avoid confrontation when given a chance.
* Do not run from a bear. Running away from a black bear may stimulate its instinct to chase.
Stand and face the animal.
Make eye contact without staring.
Talk softly in a monotone and back away slowly.
If you have small children with you, pick them up so that they do not run or panic.
If there is more than one person, stand together to present a more intimidating figure, but do not surround the bear.
Give the bear room so that it can avoid you.
*Try to demonstrate to the bear that you may be a danger to it.
Make yourself appear larger, stand up, raise your arms and open your jacket.
Yell at the bear, bang pots and pans or whatever objects you may have with you, and create a commotion.
People who visit bear habitat have a responsibility to the wildlife whose habitat they are sharing. Feeding bears, whether intentional or not, can amount to a death sentence for the animal. More and more communities and campgrounds are adopting a zero-tolerance policy toward people who feed bears and other wildlife.
A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear
In the spring, bears emerge from their dens with one thing in mind: eating. They travel for miles in search of food, guided by a keen sense of smell. A full garbage can or a messy campsite might seem like the Motherlode to a hungry bear, and that's when most bear/human conflicts begin.
The black bear, in addition to being a strong swimmer, sprinter, and climber, is very intelligent. One easy meal from a house, car, or campsite is all it takes for some bears to learn that people and food go together. Once a bear makes this association, it's not a pleasant story for people or bears.
Bears that are accustomed to people can become bold and even aggressive. There are dozens of documented cases of people being mauled, and even killed, by black bears. Although rare, when a bear behaves aggressively towards people, the Parks personnel may need to euthanize the animal to protect public safety.
Even if you are visiting Banff in the middle of summer, always have these things with you: hat, gloves, coat, and pants; especially when hiking. Seemingly beautiful, hot weather can turn cold and rainy or snowy at high altitudes, or the wind can pick up and the day can turn chilly.
What I recommend is a water-resistant wind-breaker or gore-tex shell, and some type of hat. What is best is if it is water-resistant. Even a fleece cap can shed water and keep you warm. Pants that you can zip off the legs and turn into shorts are best, or what I carry for myself is a pair of polyester leggings that I can quickly pull on. A thin fleece jacket, maybe 200 weight, is best as you can layer it under your shell. Last, but not least, pack thin fleece gloves. What I have those stretchy little knit gloves that look like they're made for kids, but stretch over your hands. I buy them at the local Walmart or supermarket for 99 cents a pair, so if I lose them, it's not a big deal.
Another tip I have is when hiking: carry a small collapsible umbrella. It is invaluable to keep you dry during a rainstorm, and if you feel silly in the rugged outdoors with an umbrella, you can pretend you are Mary Poppins.
Today, June 3, 2004, something happened to prompt me to write this tip. Blondie, a female grizzly, was killed by a motorist just past Lake Louise. She leaves behind two cubs to fend for themselves.
Please, please follow the speed limits in the National Parks, for the most part, 90 km/hour; in the "danger zone" near Lake Louise, 70km/hour. This area near Lake Louise to around the Field, BC area, is extremely popular with bears, and the speed limit is marked clearly.
The other wildlife killed in this area is human beings. It is a stretch of road that has been deadly; I'm not sure exactly why, whether people are speeding or distracted and wanting to hurry up to Lake Louise.
Please obey the speed limit and save animal and human lives.
No problem really (see my transport tip) I'm just glad I read the disclaimer after alighting the ski lift..........don't mind losing my belongings ----but my life - no way
Pyramid Lake Road, 5 km from Jasper, Jasper, Alberta, T0E 1E0, Canada
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