Whiskey Creek

Here you’ll find travel reports about Whiskey Creek. Discover travel destinations in Canada of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

14 travelers at this place:

  • Day12

    Banff - The arrival

    September 7, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    Well today we have said goodbye to Revelstoke, been shopping, driven through smoke, hiked to an amazing waterfall, seen a natural bridge, emerald lake and finally stopped at Banff for the night and a beer. At the moment we are sat chilling before going for dinner, but it has been a day of wows. Sadly the smoke has affected some of the scenery but not everything so that is all good. We have however seen some amazing road signs and the biggest trucks that I have ever seen.... so here are a few photos of the day.. PS I have to confess, its only taken me four days but I have had a glass of chardonnay and actually liked it, the second one however was not so good... There may be more than one posting of photos... Exploring Banff tomorrow.Read more

  • Day10

    Bound for Banff

    September 1, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    Another early start this morning took us out of our rather too warm cabin by Emerald Lake into a very brisk morning. It was still overcast, so the sharpness and clarity of all our photos is diminished but we could see the fog rising from the still and very chilly waters of this glacier fed lake. There was no sign of the loons, a type of water bird, that had honked and hooted throughout the night. They are quite elusive to see but completely unavoidable to hear. The sound is a booming noise that lifts off the surface of the water and bounces around the snow covered mountains surrounding us on all sides. I would very much like to have seen one.

    This place was quite isolated and lacked some facilities that are considered normal in most places these days. This would not have troubled me if I had been forewarned. There was no internet in the cabins and intermittent electricity for charging our devices. I had just enough battery to go to the main reception and send out the blog when I got up in the morning. It took three goes to get it sent. During the day Ross' phone gave up and also his camera. I had charged my phone and camera earlier and so was ok. Not so for my tablet device which struggled.

    Anyway, we got through it and are happily ensconced in out hotel toom in Banff, reeling after yet another enormous meal. I could not eat half my main course and did not even try dessert! In the film "Philomena", the main character goes to the US in search of her son, but her neighbour had seen something on the tv about large portion sizes in America and warned poor Philomena about them. The poor woman was constantly concerned about portion sizing for the whole film. I find myself echoing these sentiments.

    There were one or two things I left out of yesterday's blog. Here is one. Why is glacial melt water so remarkably blue? The many rivers and lakes we have seen with this dramatic colour indicate that it is not an isolated matter. I know I have seen it elsewhere as well.

    Well, it turns out that it is the suspended fine dust powder in the water from the grinding of the ice against rock at the base of the glacier. These dust particles, called rock flour, have a small electrical charge which means these tiny particles repel each other like magnets do and so remain suspended in the water, not settling to the bottom for some considerable time. The ultraviolet light from the sun is reflected from these particles creating the vivid blue colour of the water.

    The next burning question was, why there are so few trucks on the roads. There are thousands of RVs but almost no heavy transport vehicles, except for logging vehicles. The answer is trains. They have huge trains that roll along quite slowly on the very busy lines. Some trains, carrying nothing but containers, will go for 240 carriages, many of them double stacked. Fifteen minutes further down the track you see another train of similar size carrying tankers. It is quite amazing and the roads are relatively clear. There are still trucks but they tend not to be large and are certainly not as frequent.

    Now, for today. Our first stop was at Lake Louise. This is a major resort and very crowded. The Fairmont hotel is uber posh and stands directly opposite the huge glacier that comes down the mountains at the opposite end of the lake. The view is amazing.

    We were particularly lucky and our tour director kept saying "Oh my, oh my" as he looked towards the glacier. I had whipped out my camera very fast because I could see what had caught his breath. A tiny pocket of sun had hit the walls of the mountains and they shone against the otherwise cloudy skies. The sunlight kept moving around picking up different facets of the rocks casting shadows and sparkling. The only tricky thing was ensuring no pesky people stood in front of the camera and struck a stupid pose. Let's face it, pouting at the camera does not make the glacier and the Rocky Mountains more interesting, nor any less important. These stupid people mock it by their inane posturings. I got some great shots. Hopefully they will print up well. It was certainly beautiful watching colours move around the faces of the mountain. We were very lucky to have seen it.

    As I was wandering away from this scene I heard a Chinese voice say "beaver!". I looked down and there it was. Nothing like a beaver in fact, but a decidedly cute little critter nevertheless, about 30 cm from nose to tail. We later discovered it to be a ground squirrel. He bounded around and scuttled among the rocks by the water's edge. He was completing his last forays into the district to gather food for the winter. I actually filmed him! Not too much later we saw another cute little critter scurrying along. This one was different. Slightly smaller than the first, he was another kind of ground squirrel. Neither should have been out hunting at this late stage of the season, we were assured.

    It was not isolated though, because on our way to Banff we called in to a gondola that went up Sulphur Mountain. After we had had a good look around, we sat in the leeward side of the building, away from the snow inspired wind and watched some more ground squirrels gathering up food for the winter. These ones were harder to photograph. They are very quick and the tourists kept disturbing them. This just sent them underground. They were very cute though.

    More wildlife surprised us today. In the forest by the side of the road, I saw a moose. We had sped passed before I could photograph it, but I felt confident that it was nevertheless, a sighting. About ten minutes later our tour guide yelled "Moose! Moose! Stop the bus. Moose!" The bus came to a screeching halt. I was just about to take the picture when the bus jolted, the moose scarpered and I took a great picture of the back of the seat in front of me. Another missed opportunity. The tour director was very excited. He had not seen moose in the park for a great many years. It was indeed a privilege to see such a creature even if I have no proof of it. I have now seen several elk, quite a few deer, (many in suburban gardens) ground squirrels and moose. Let's not forget the local bird called the magpie. Nothing like our magpie except for being black and white. This creature has a long tail and a boring call, not at all like our majestic bird.

    When we got to Banff we went shopping. I had shown Ross a picture in which the back of his head was very clear. He was horrified to find out he had a bald patch. ( He'd never believed me when I had told him.) He immediately went out and bought himself a beanie. I have tried for a long time to get him to wear one and he had always refused. Perhaps I should have used the camera earlier! This time he did not buy a lime green one. He was disappointed he could not get it in Richmond colours, but that seemed unlikely in Banff! He gets a fix of footy regularly enough from his fellow football mad travellers. They are all so happy chatting about their teams.

    You may recall the excursion to the glacier where Ross neglected to wear his long johns, had to buy a new jacket because his really good one was in his case and he was too cold and his dress shoes were too slippery so he got back on the bus? Well, today, he did it again. He did not wear his long johns and failed to bring either of his warm jackets on the excursion up the gondola to the top of the mountain that was well over 7600 feet. It had an arctic blast coming through the long valley. I told him he was not allowed to buy another jacket, (he admitted this would be pushing it) so he spent his time conquering the great indoors while I took on the icy gusts for some shots down into the various valleys that met at this point. The cloudy skies meant that none of them was particularly good. There was a rather spectacular mirror bear statue awaiting me at the exit to outdoors. Maybe Ross had it right. Anyway, now he has a beanie that he can leave behind.

    I teased him this morning, before the jacket fiasco, saying that he had come back to the breakfast table saying he was going to get fruit and he came back with rice bubbles. Then he said he would follow it with toast and came back with a full cooked breakfast. When I drew his attention to all this, he did say that perhaps he succumbed to the suggestable too often and wasn't really good at thinking things through. I wonder if, when we go canoing tomorrow, he will remember to wear clothes suitable for drifting down a glacial river and that he has set aside some dry warm gear if he falls in the drink. That is extremely unlikely of course, but I will be sure to let you know if he forgets his jacket and beanie.
    Read more

  • Day11

    The Bow of Banff

    September 2, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 6 °C

    So nice to have a day when we weren't getting our bags out early to scramble onto the bus in order to see all the sites we need to see in a day. Today we got a sleep in, get the washing done and have breakfast over by a leisurely 9.30 am. Then it was a chance to repack the bags with our clean clothes and plan our day. Our big plan was to keep it simple. Our one organised activity had been planned and booked beforehand and that was to float down the river in a raft. What a glorious, peaceful and stimulating hour. I felt like Mole on his first boating adventure with Ratty.

    Our oarsman was from South Africa and one of the many young people who come to Banff to work in the tourist trade. We were told that sometimes as many as 60% of young workers in Banff will come from Australia, followed by other countries in the world and finally the Canadians. There is a special promotion that encourages this seasonal work and that it is very popular. It is great for the young people who work hard, party hard, get their bonuses, then move on to new destinations where they do it again, until they decide it is time to go home.

    This young man was remarkably strong, steering and paddling a boat full of people down a fast flowing river, the Bow River, showing us the sites and telling us tales for an hour and then repeating it all again five times a day. His lunch, toilet and breathing breaks occur in the eight minutes between trips when the raft is transported up the river again and then put back in the water. The river runs too fast to paddle back up, so they do it by road vehicle. He does this every day while he saves up for his studies in adventure guiding. He told us that last year he had done the unit on rock climbing. This is not really his thing but it is a requirement so he did it. They were on a rockface that was deemed extremely safe when a tree uprooted itself high above and crashed down the side of the mountain. It missed him by inches. The man beside him was critically injured, helicoptered out, but died later in Calgary hospital, and the leader of the group had his spine broken. Scary!

    He pointed out some very interesting things to us as we floated along. Alongside the river grows a silvery shrubby tree called the Silverberry. It is rather unremarkable. It is slow growing and very fibrous. The local first nations people made their bows from it because it bends well while still staying strong. They taught other bands of indigenous peoples in their regular powows and there was a lively trade in the wood. It is this bow wood that named the river, the mountain valley, and the region.

    He also had us turn back towards Banff to see a small mountain. It was called Tunnel Mountain because the early white developers wanted to put a tunnel through it for the trains. This upset the local indigenous people for whom the mountain had spiritual significance. It could, like so many other similar disputes, have ended in bloodshed and the removal of the traditional owners. However, a Methodist (?) Minister who had lived among the locals for a long time learned of the significance and set about trying to achieve a suitable compromise. He succeeded and the train line did not cut through the mountain. The indigenous people called the mountain Sleeping Buffalo and if you look at the picture of it you can see the big head on the far right, the massive hairy hump behind his head and then the trailling off of his body towards his hind quarters. I prefer this name much more than Tunnel Mountain.

    To thank the cleric for his fine work they named the largest (not tallest, but longest) local mountain, Mt Rundle after him. I agree. A fitting reward for a fine conciliator.

    This brings me to an explanation that made a lot of sense. If a mountain is named for a feature of the mountain, such as Sleeping Buffalo Mountain or Sulphur Mountain, both nearby here, the adjective precedes the noun of the word "Mountain" as all adjectives in English should. If, however, the mountain is named after a person, such as Mt Rundle or Mt Robson then the person's name follows the word Mountain. A very sensible and satisfying device for nomenclature.

    Our wildlife sightings grew again today in very satisfactory ways. No more elk today but we were told that the 27 hole golf course than runs alongside the Bow River (it brought sighs and gasps of pleasure from the golfers in our shuttle today as we wandered through it to get back to base) becomes a major battle ground for male elk in about two weeks' time. By that stage the elk will be in full rut and in order to demonstrate their prowess and defeat other antlered males, they need a clear open space. They fight for supremacy on the greens and fairways, churning up the ground by raking it with their antlers and charging at each other. The ground staff get very cross at having to patch up the fairways before play can commence each day. I suggested they should sell tickets and get their money that way. It may yet happen. Players also have to watch out for bears, both black and grizzly, who wander across every now and then from the forested side. Apparently it can be quite unwise to go searching for a lost ball with many near misses for the golfers who have not noticed the huge bear next to their golf ball. I noticed quite a few roanberries growing between fairways on the course and roanberries are a big favourite with bears. At the moment they are bulking up for winter and so are deeply attracted to the fruit.

    What we did see today, first padding along the rocks on the far side of the river in the distance, then later, in clear striking beauty and trotting towards us were two coyote. As always, the raft could not stop and, had it done so, might have scared the beastie off, but we took definite sightings and definite bragging rights. Just as we got off the raft and were waiting for the second raft to arrive and disgorge its passengers, I happened to glance down to see a really beautiful dragonfly at my feet. It stayed still long enough for me to capture its brilliant colours and translucent lacy wings. It was a striking blue colour. I was very pleased with the pictures of this one.The dragonfly also appears frequently on some of the totems but I can find no explanation for it yet. I must look further.

    I also need to tell you that we passed a limestone rock formation called the Hoodoos, standing like Halloween sheet-draped ghosts on an outcrop beside the river. The river valley is U shaped, denoting its glacial origins, as opposed to V shaped which indicate fast running water carving through rock and earth. The river shifts its path regularly as bits of the river become clogged with the rocks brought down by the glacier, and then the water must find a new path. Sometimes these will be washed away in spring and sometimes the course of the river will be irrevocably changed and move off in a different direction. As we are now at the end of summer the water level is as low as it can be. Our raft captain said that he thought the river had dropped two inches (5 cm) since yesterday in some places because the clearance in some areas was much less. He also pointed out where the water would regularly rise to, when the Spring melt brought down vast quantities of melted snow and ice. Much of the lower sections of the golf course disappear under the overflow and the width of the river, instead of being just ten or twelve metres across would be thirty or forty metres and a raging torrent. With mountains as high as 12,000 metres all around us, glaciers above the permanent snowline can produce a lot of water. We learned that it takes 50 metres of snow to make one metre thickness of glacial ice so that makes it very dense and loaded with water for the melt.

    This afternoon we wandered into town for a light lunch. We thought savoury crepes might do it until, coming to the end of our ham, cheese and spinach crepes, I decided to have a little party. I told Ross that I was going to have a waffle dessert. He stressed that nothing else would pass his lips. I knew that line and didn't believe it. This morning, as with all other mornings, Ross swore he was going to have a small meal of healthy fruit and came back with a cooked breakfast groaning on his plate, again. So when I ordered my wafffle and heard his protestations about how I was going to have to eat all I ordered, I knew what was going to happen. My waffle arrived and I set about adding the toppings. First, there was raspberry frozen yoghurt, then chocolate, then toffee, then cookies and cream. After that I added strawberries, raspberries and bluberries, followed by chocolate covered raisins, smashed m&ms , crunchy granola, and a couple of other sprinkles, then some chunks of cookie dough, brownie and nut bar. Not being finished yet, I added toppings of caramel and hot chocolate and sour cherry toppings. The waffle was then weighed and I paid just under $20! I brought it back to the table where I suggested Ross could take my picture. I then took his and invited him to have a taste. There was no holding him back. Rarely have I seen food go down so fast. It was a funny moment or two. When he realised he had scoffed well over half, he stopped, feeling somewhat ashamed of his reversal of intention, but as I steadily finished off the rest he kept pointing out bits I had missed and how it was best to eat it. Clearly he was still eating it in his mind, even if it was not passing his lips. It was a fun meal, never to be repeated.

    Now here is another interesting factoid. Cars, buses and trucks must turn off their engines when they come to a stop. If it is just traffic lights, they can leave the engines on, but if they have stopped to let people on and off, they must turn off their engines. This is to reduce the carbon monoxide exhaust fumes polluting the air. Everywhere you go there are signs exhorting drivers to turn off their engines. No idling allowed. I really approve of this.

    I know that many of the legislations here might seem a little like social engineering, but most sound really sensible and helpful to the community. There are strict rules about health care that insist that wealth should not earn the wealthy any better care than the poor man and housing assistance is provided for those who come to work in distant places. I respect that. I think the Canadians really do have the right idea on so many matters.

    Anyway, I have now finished writing my blog for the day and it is not midnight and I am not propping my eyes open with toothpicks. It is nearly 6 pm and Ross has just finished off the second load of washing for the day. We will have bags full of clean clothes ready for the next leg of our journey. Tomorrow, we start early to get to the train station to catch the Rocky Mountaineer. This will be two days, stopping overnight at Kamloops, then finishing the next day in Vancouver. We have another break, then we head into US territory and up into Alaska and the boat trip. Another adventure on the way.
    Read more

  • Day4

    Johnston Canyon and Banff Gondola

    July 30, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    We woke usual 6ish aiming to make an early start to head towards Banff and go first to Johnston Canyon, an easy walk to a couple of waterfalls. I had read it gets very busy, both parking and the train itself, so we wanted to get there early. Managed to pack everything away and get some breakfast and left hotel at 8.15. Followed highway 1 to Banff and went through the gates to the National Park (we had our passes so could go through the fast lane). We came off to the 1A at Banff and followed its for 20 minutes or so. The speed along here was 60 or 50 km/h so it was a gentle drive - we followed a sightseeing bus. Got to the car park and ther main one was about half full at 9am. Some nice toilets which we used then we began the walk. It was a smooth path, often cantilevered over the edge of the canyon (Tash thought a bit like a safer version of those scary paths you see on YouTube in China). The lower falls were about half a milky walk and we got there in about 25 minutes with lots of stops for photos. The canyon was cooler being out of the sun so we were glad we brought jumpers. At the lower falls we queued to go into a little cave that got you very close to the water - just about worth the 5 minutes or so wait. Chatted to a Canadian couple who recommended Maligne Canyon in Jasper as bit less busy and still nice.

    We headed off to the upper falls. Kids were beginning to moan about the walk but we carried on and got there in about half an hour. Upper falls were 1.5 miles walk. Lots of people stopped at the lower falls so this was less busy. The track just ended in a bridge suspended over the river that gave you a view towards the upper falls, maybe 3 or 4 houses high with two streams coming down. You only got the best view right at the end of the bridge walkway so if it got busier later a real queue would develop here too we thought.

    Then headed black and encountered a busier trail with people coming the other way. Arriving back at the start we just caught last breakfast order at 11 in the cafe before it shut for an hour, reopening for lunch at 12. I had an omelette (green onions and ham, very tasty) Sam and Tash had steak, Ed wasn't that hungry so he had the fried potatoes and some steak from then others plates. We hit the shop for fridge magent and a cuddly beaver and wolf. Then back to the car via the toilets again - ladies were being cleaned, which meant a huge queue for the disabled ladies one. Not great timing right in middle of day when crowds were huge. Car park was full, as was the overflow one when we drove past and people were parlayed all the way along ther road for probably a mile or so, so definitely good to get there early.

    Sat nav was troublesome as no mobile signal, but got one when we reached Banff outskirts and found the hotel. Room wasn't ready but we parked there and walked into town, about 10 minute walk. We had coffee in Starbucks, then bought some souvenirs, including Christmas decorations form tthe hritsmas shop. Banff was much busier and more touristy than Canmore. Lots of slightly tacky souvenir shops bit like an English seaside resort. But also sone designer shops, like Fjall Raven and Lulu lemon that all meant something to Tash.

    An ice cream shop had a huge queue, but we went into a sweet shop that also sold it, with some unusual flavours (I had scoop of male nut and of tiger (orange and liquorice strip like a tiger). Very nice in the heat. Was after 3 now so walked back to hotel, room still not ready. Finally got into it at 4, had only just been finished. Had panic when checked gondola tickets, I had thought they'd were for any time after 4.30, but looked like they were for 4.30. The car park up there was showing as full so we were committed to the bus, with the next one at 4.37. Hotel key card gave free bus travel, so all we could do was head for that and hope gondola would be ok. Bus was on time and took about 15 minutes to get there. Went to guest services who said our print outs were our tickets so just join the queue. They were boarding 5.00pm, and we were just allowed through to join the queue and were on board our 4 seater about 10 minutes later. Panic over. The gondola went fast and summit was very high. Sam was not keen on it and held on tightly to Ed. Views were obscured a Benoit Buu smoke from the forest fires. We got to the top after about 5 minutes. The complex at the top had 4 levels, open viewing on top which we headed to first and took lots of photos, coopting others into taking us in return for us taking them. Parks Canada have a red chair scheme where they put red chairs in odd places on hikes etc for people to find - there were two up here which we had obligatory pics with. Next level down was a discovery section, with lots of interactive exhibits. We spent a few minutes talking to a chap behind a stand with an elk, deer and cougar skull. He talked about the wildlife and Ed was fascinated as always. Cougars can attack and kill an elk, hunting alone. Out the window we saw our first Mountain Longhorn sheep - looked more like a goat and we heard many people calling them goats. Other exhibits which were good fun included tying knots, which we think we managed correctly, compass directions, lifting heavy backpacks and footproints and poo of various animals. The grisly paw print was huge, definitely wouldn't want a swipe from one of those.

    It was time for our 6pm sitting. A lady from Yorkshire seated us and our friendly waitress brought water and menus. We had some nice Canadian Rose, with 3 scallop starters and pork belly and egg for me. All tasty. Main courses took ages to come, maybe because of them taking extra care with Sam;s dairy free. We both had bison (aka buffalo) steak, Tash had seafood medley (which didn't come out singing a selection of show tunes) and chicken supreme for Ed.They were all decently when they arrived. None of the desserts inspired us and we headed down. The food had been good but spoiled by the delay in getting it. Was decent value when compared with price of a gondola ticket on it's own.

    Kids got t shirts from the shop and me a magnet. Gondola down had no queue and we got our photo taken, which came out nicely. At the bottom the bus was 6 minutes away so week timed. The indicator board was accurate, better than the lack of ones in Putney now.

    Room wasn't air conditioned in bedrooms, just fans, though was in the lounge area. All told Canmore hotel was nicer and cheaper, but being in Banff in the National Parl comes at a premium.
    Read more

  • Day3

    Banff Hotel Rundlestone Lodge

    June 12, 2016 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C

    Da wir vor dem Einchecken noch etwas Zeit hatten, ging es erstmal in einen Supermarkt in der Nähe. Wir deckten uns mit Getränken und Obst ein und waren beeindruckt von den riesigen Portionen, die hier verkauft werden - wer möchte nicht eine 4000 ml Eispackung in seinem Gefrierschrank haben? :)

    Nach dem Einchecken waren wir in ein Restaurant, das uns das Hotel empfohlen hat und verputzen einen Burger. Danach sind wir wieder um 21:30 todmüde ins Bett gefallen.
    Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Whiskey Creek

Join us:

FindPenguins for iOS FindPenguins for Android

Sign up now