The Canadian Road to Banff: Kananaskis County

Leaving Waterton National Park, we took backroad highways and ascended into the Canadian Rockies. Once again, I was struck by the sparsity of other vehicles. But I was also not reasonable enough to agree with Mrs Bear that we should fill up the car with fuel before setting out. For furure reference: An underused road means a lack of services. We had 100 mile range to spare, but why push it ??

As we climbed into the higher passes, we started seeing signs to watch for wildlife on the road. While these kind of signs can usually be ignored, evidently that is not the case in Canada … We started seeing mountain goats by the side of the highway … A few miles later, they ( not the same flocks) were in the middle of the road, in no particular hurry, as if it was THEIR road.

I noticed that some were drinking water, from a storm earlier that morning, that had collected water in the lane divider ruts in the middle of the road. I found this perplexing because there was a river just off the road … Why don’t they just go and take big gulps?? But the lives of mountain goats are not so simple. I recall a ranger in Alaska telling us that their mountain goats live their lives within a fragile elevation balance. They spend most of their time above the tree lines at elevations unreachable by wolves. But they must descend periodically to feed and drink, which makes them vulnerable. This made me wonder whether going to the river to drink might present a danger. So they lap up little road puddles after a rain. Once again, only my speculation.

The Kananaskis Valley is a vacation destination on its own. While the primary lodges are only 45 miles from Banff, the area boasts craggy mountains, a beautiful river, and many streams running from the high snowpacks to alpine lakes.

We stayed overnight here before driving into Banff the following morning. The drive north was short enough to allow us to get out on the trail to view the river valley before following a stream upward into the mountains.

This final stop provided a great preview of the Canadian Rockies among moderate vacationing throngs before beginning our headlining destination tomorrow.

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