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Mike and Adele Explore the Rockies - 2003

Part 7: Lake Minnewanka

On the last day we were in Banff, we decided to take a tour of nearby Lake Minnewanka.  The lake is fed by a number of springs instead of glacier melt, so it actually has drinkable water and decent fishing.  And it is the only way to see a geological formation called "The Devil's Gap" besides hiking for a week...

Layered Rocks
Some of the layered mountains around Lake Minnewanka.

Craggy Rocks
Some craggy rocks around the lake.

On the ride, we saw a bunch of wildlife, including a mountain sheep and ...

Bald Eagles
Bald eagles!

Bald Eagle Flying
A bald eagle flying!

Interestingly enough, most of the fishermen were hanging out by the eagles, since the eagles always know the best places to fish...

One of the crags around the lake.  Note the dead trees. 

The Canadian government attempted to start some fires to clear out some of the pines and allow the aspens to grow again.  However, winds came sweeping through the Devil's Gap faster than they anticipated, and kicked the fire up.  Originally it was supposed to burn only a 1 square kilometer area around the base of the lake, it quickly grew out of control and burned much, much more than that.  And it burned so hot, it killed all the trees and actually scorched the earth so that it will be a while before trees begin growing there once again.

Cave Mountains
The Cave Mountains, named for the number of caves formed in the limestone.  Guess where the bears live?

Then, finally, we saw the Devil's Gap!

Devil's Gap
The Devil's Gap.  It was formed when a huge glacier came charging down straight across these mountains...  The size is just incredible.

The Lake Minnewanka tour was very informative and a very relaxing way to end our vacation to Banff.

As I was getting ready to leave Banff, I heard about the latest bombings going on the in the Middle East.  And as I stood before these huge towering monoliths formed by the power of nature over time, I thought about what would happen if that conflict was going on here.  First, the area is so beautiful I could understand someone's motivation in wanting to fight over it, unlike the Holey Land.  But further more, standing before such awesome power as an active glacier that is constantly pulverizing a mountain into dust, it reminds us of just how temporary things are on this earth and that no matter how much power we think we might possess, it pales in comparison to that of nature, and I think people would stop and think twice when there is a constant reminder of that power all around them...

I highly recommend a trip to Banff.  If you love the outdoors, hiking, camping, boating, or even just sitting on your ass, it's definitely worth taking the trip!

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