2002 Canada Trip

Thursday, September 5



One peek out of the back window of the tent trailer told the whole story: another day of overcast and gray. But another day stuck in camp was not an option.

We slept in late and had a leisurely breakfast before embarking on a motor tour of the Trans Canada Highway in Banff National Park. As we headed north, there was some hope that we might find some blue skies somewhere.

Our first major stop was along Bow Lake. Like many of the lakes in Banff, it had the tell-tale turquoise color that hints of its glacial origins. Even on an overcast and gray day, the color was evident. As we looked up the lake toward its inlet, we could see the Bow Glacier that carved its basin and ground the rock to make the glacial flour that colors Bow Lake today.

Bow Lake & Lodge Bow Lake
Bow Lake Bow Lake

Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake was the next stop. This is a very popular viewpoint overlooking an incredibly turquoise-colored lake. The hike to the viewpoint is just steep enough to get your heart rate up and to bring out the altitude acclimation excuse. The viewpoint was crowded with Japanese tourists, even on such a dismal day.

The braided stream that feeds Peyto Lake carried brown silt and dumped it into the lake. At the inlet, it was very obviously brown, but it dissipated into the turquoise green as it moved farther into the lake.

Shortly after leaving Peyto Lake, we reached the Waterfowl Lakes viewpoint. It wasn't the Waterfowl Lakes that drew our attention, but the pyramid-shaped peak of Mt. Chephren. The water was choppy and clouds still filled the majority of the sky, but we could see the potential for an outstanding photograph in good weather. This would be a planned stop on our early morning itinerary when (if) the weather cleared.

Although we continued up the Trans Canada Highway and then the Icefields Parkway, the weather continued to deteriorate until there was no reason to continue. We had driven over a hundred miles and seen mostly clouds, rain, and snow. We saw places that showed promise for good photographs if the weather clears, but nothing that would make today's photos more than an exercise in camera operation.

As we neared Banff on our return home, we were treated to several rainbows. There was a curtain of light rain that seemed to keep moving ahead of us creating a series of double rainbows. We stopped three times to shoot the rainbows in different locations.

Although they don't show up well on the digital camera, they were very striking and seemed to photograph well with polarizers on our regular cameras.

Waterfowl Lake Rainbow in Bow Valley
Waterfowl Lake Double Rainbow in Bow Valley

The one double rainbow that arched toward a sunlit peak seemed to promise a significant reward for our stopping to photograph it.

Thursday night in the tent trailer included sound effects created by rain, hail, and thunder as the storm moved around the mountain on which we were camping. All evidence is pointing to Friday being a repeat of Thursday's weather.