Canada & Alaska

Michele & Stephen's trip in 2012

The Rockies (Part Two)

The Rockies continue to impress. Even when a little cold. Below is a small sample of lakes and mountains ...

Peyto Lake (glacier-fed - hence the blue colour) in Banff National Park.

Moraine Lake, also in Banff National Park.

Louise Lake ...

... has the advantage of a rather splendid hotel at one end, with ...

... great views and ...

... fine deserts (as well as afternoon tea).

Whilst walking round these popular lakes it is easy to forget that you may have unwanted company in the form of black and grizzly bears. Although the only animal we saw was not a great threat.

For the last few days we have driving on the Trans Canada Highway, and for most of this time we have been close to the Trans Canada Railway route. At Kicking Horse Pass there is a very impressive piece of railway engineering.

The best route over the pass has a gradient of 5%, which is not much for a road, but is very very steep for a railway.

The solution to this problem is two spiral tunnels within the mountains.

This reduces the maximum gradient to a tolerable 2.5%.

The photograph on the right shows a single train, more than a kilometer long, with four engines. Two at the front, one in the middle and one at the rear.

Even with a scale model to look at it is hard to work out exactly how the two spiral tunnels work!

The Takakkaw Falls (below) are impressive and well worth the 14km detour as long as you are in a reasonably short vehicle and not towing a trailer. Lots of people in large rented motorhomes visit them.

At the start of the road there is a small sign saying "No Trailers". Then after a couple of kilometers you come to this innocuous looking sign.



Lots of people must ignore the sign until it is too late.

What the sign says is that if you are driving anything longer than 7 metres you are not going to make it round the next two bends!

What you told to do is reverse down the central section of the switchback.

Of course there may well be other vehicles coming the other way reversing up the central section!

This is how to do it in a big bus!