Banff Vacation Day 9

Banff Vacation Day 9

On our last full day we were growing weary of the constant chill outside (and Sam was starting to get a cold) so we made a point to walk through the inside of the Fairmont, then visit the Bow River parking lot and called it a day.  Between those things, we visited the only Mexican restaurant in town, which actually wasn’t too bad. They fried the chile rellenos so the outsides were still crisp, which is how preferable to the mush that you…

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Banff Vacation Day 8

Banff Vacation Day 8

Another townie day. We went on the brief (and very windy) tunnel mountain hike then revisited surprise corner after dark. Taking photos of the Fairmont proved difficult with wind gusts blowing up from the Bow River. The only way to stabilize the shots was to hold the tripod. You don’t hold a piece of metal outside for more than a few seconds in negative twenty degrees. Looking for a calmer place to take night shots of the town we drove…

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Banff Vacation Day 7

Banff Vacation Day 7

Our goal on day seven was to head northwest into Glacier National Park, but we never quite made it. Our drive to the first destination, Wapta Falls, took us on increasingly more snowbound roads until we arrived at the trailhead only to find it blanketed with snow too high to walk through. We reluctantly started to turn around. And got stuck. In a replay of our Iceland adventure, we scooped out the snow with our hands and feet and worked ourselves…

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Banff Vacation Day 6

Banff Vacation Day 6

Our drinking habits caught up with us on the sixth day. We decided to nurse our headaches by staying in town (and indoors). An ancillary driver of this decision was a snowstorm descending on Banff that would have made any hiking or sight seeing difficult. After a short visit to Cave and Basin we walked along the main avenue and did our souvenir shopping. We later visited surprise corner for (supposedly) the best view of the Fairmont. We warmed up…

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Banff Vacation Day 5

Banff Vacation Day 5

On day 5 we drove east toward Calgary for the first time, seeing the mountains we’d missed in the dark on our way in. Past Canmore the mountains start to slope down into hills, but just on this last spate of the Rockies the Canadians long ago decided to start carving away at the rock. The result is an unpicturesque processing plant with a man-made lake on one side and the machinery terraced side of Grotto Mountain on the other….

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Banff Vacation Day 4

Banff Vacation Day 4

Today Sam joined me for the sunrise. Yesterday I mentioned briefly how the food in Banff is underwhelming. This morning we ate breakfast at Coyotes Southwestern Grill. Sam liked the Huevos Rancheros, but I found a big blue wet string in my pancake butter (after already putting a knife to it). The waitress explained that they keep the butter next to the wash rags. Uh-huh. Excellent. That was the last straw. Or string, as it were. We mostly stayed out…

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Banff Vacation Day 3

Banff Vacation Day 3

Sleeping early with vodka dreams woke me up earlier than normal. I snuck out to catch the sunrise on the lake with fresh batteries. I wasn’t the only amateur with a DSLR out there on the ice trying to catch the fleeting vermillion hue the lake is named for. When the sun came up proper and my fingers could no longer feel the shutter button I ran back to the Chevy and picked up Sam to find breakfast in town….

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Banff Vacation Day 2

Banff Vacation Day 2

On our first full day in Banff, also Christmas Day, we had breakfast in the tiny town at the only open cafe. Since the weather forecast made it seem like few days would be as clear and sunny as this one we took the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain. (A video of the ride up for our friend who is afraid of heights) Outside the restaurant and gift shop at the top there is a short path to…

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Banff Vacation Day 1

Banff Vacation Day 1

On the first day of our winter holiday holiday we flew to Calgary. It’s always strange visiting the cold again. In a few more years I’ll have spent half my life in California, and I still think I’ve got some of that midwestern ice in my blood. Then I visit a place with ice and I turn into a shivering mess. We broke through the clouds after dark in Alberta, approaching a landscape that looked built into another layer of…

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Faith in facts

Faith in facts

Saturday night I read David Masciotra’s column. It summed up my thoughts on the election-or rather the reaction to it-better than anything I’d read in the month since. There are more than a few salient points David makes that have been completely ignored. We (the so-called “liberal elites” on the coasts who shop at Whole Foods) may have bubbles, but they’re smaller, and acknowledging the conservative bubble should be different than validating it. Distilling the article ( you should read…

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