Another day another adventure herein Banff. Today we started out by seeking out a hostel that was once an old train station in the Bankhead Boomtown. It was relocated when the mining town was closed back in the early 1900s. We found the station and read the sign and headed off towards Lake Minniewanka and the Lower and Upper Bankhead trails. We loved our walk learning about the old coal mining town. The walkways were dusted with coal so it brought a historic feeling to the hike. The boys enjoyed all the old machinery (brought in for historical reasons as the originals were all removed when he town was shut down). We were equally fascinated by the wild rhubarb growing everywhere. We learned it was grown by the Philipino and Japanese workers for food and it gradually is taking over the landscape. The boys loved the old coal trains. This train was from the town of Canmore from their mining operation. The wildflowers and rhubarb made a very breathtaking view in the fields.
Next we drove over the Minnewanka Dam and learned how the lake was naturally raised and below it was a town that was once in existence. Apparently you can dive here and see remains of the old town. The water was so frigid we didn’t imagine many people did this! We pulled off at an overlook to find about 15 big horn sheep and young grazing in the roadside grass. We watched them and the tourists! Some people ran right up to get photos. The boys were secretly hoping to see someone get gored! We moved along after a few photos from far away.
After the lake loop we opted to go see the scenic overlook at Norquay. We heard it was an amazing view. It did not disappoint! The boys discovered more red chairs and more big horn sheep! We relaxed for a while and headed the rest of the way up the tight switchback road. At the top we found a ski resort. We got a good deal on tickets for the chairlift and headed up. Everyone got to ride by themselves! Emmerson loved this opportunity. We watched ground squirrels playing below and kept a keen eye out for other wildlife. This is a corridor for migrating animals and also home to a grizzly mamma and her two cubs and a cinnamon black bear! At the top we learned about the Y2Y (Yellowstone to Yukon) Wildlife corridor and how Canada and the US are working together for wildlife.
In the evening we picked up Dad and wandered downtown and enjoyed some Beaver Tails. Emmerson made it a 4D experience. He was coated with Nutella! Breighton was not as messy but still quite a mess.
Our final day was spent tidying up, doing laundry and relaxing. We grabbed lunch in town and then headed to the Eureka Banff Escape Room for some family fun. We opted for the Warden’s Cabin (the hardest level). We had a blast working through puzzle after puzzle to escape through he cabin to the woods and eventually find the treasure! We successfully managed there room and Mom even are a bag of bacon flavored crickets to buy us a little more time. Dad was an ace at the puzzles and kept everyone working. Mom teamed with Emmerson to solve half of the puzzles and B teamed with Dad. It was a lot of fun and we cant wait to try another room someday.
Our Banff adventure wrapped up nicely and we are off towards Kootenay National Park next to explore the Radium Hot Springs area for only a few nights.