Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Golf Day at Banff

Hi there again.

It is now Wednesday (September 16) - a golf day. We are off early to the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course for our ‘splurge‘ day of golf on this trip. This course is touted as one of the ten best golf courses in the world, cradled in a valley between Mount Rundle, Sulphur Mountain and Tunnel Mountain with each hole located along the Bow River and at the foot of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Again, all the views are awesome - which makes it hard to concentrate on the golf.

Golfing at the Banff Springs GC

Wow - it actually landed in the fairway. What a concept!

We played with two locals - one an 80 year old man who walked the course (and does so 3 times a week) and shoots VERY close to his age and the other a Greek who owns a local Pizza restaurant on Banff’s Main Street! Their shared knowledge of the course must have helped as Gary and I both had a decent round - couldn’t beat the 80 year old, though!

All the golf made us very hungry - so we were off to investigate the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel for lunch. The hotel is the one you see in all the pictures of Banff - and it is just as stunning in person. Although, the views of the hotel from the outside - and the farther away the better - are better than the wanderings inside the building, it is just too much. The views from the patio are stunning (and you can see the golf course) -

On the terrace at the Fairmont Banff Springs

Another beautiful lunchtime view.

Again, this is a hotel built by the RR (Canadian this time) and is named for the hot sulfur springs still used today. The springs were ‘stumbled upon’ by three railway workers in 1883. Their discovery led to the creation of the first national park in Canada - Banff National Park, which today is also a World Heritage Site. It is interesting that the town of Banff sits inside the National Park and has enough private homes to house a population of approximately 8,000 people (about the same size as Park City - no wonder we love it). The primary East-West Canadian Highway (most of the time a two lane road!!) also goes through the park - so to continue any drive on Canada Highway 1 you must go through the park and pay the park fee of $10.

After our photo opportunities, full stomachs and a little shopping - we were on our way to the gondola ride - another awesome experience and incredible views! This was another amazing construction feat - created in the early 1900’s this gondola carried visitors to the top of the mountain to ‘tea’! It enabled the casual visitor to see the views that only the sturdy who hiked up the mountain had see before.

On top of the world - compliments of the gondola.

From the top of the gondola you can see Banff and all the surrounding area - the small rounded mountain in the middle of the picture is Tunnel Mountain - to the left of Tunnel Mt. is the town of Banff - to the right of the Mt. is the golf course and at the foot of the course is the Banff Springs Hotel. If you could see just around the right corner of Tunnel Mt., above the course, you would see Magic perched on the hill in our campground!

Something I learned while visiting Banff and Lake Louise - neither of the wonderful Hotels/Chateaus that you see in all the great winter scenes have a ski area that comes down to the hotel! The Lake Louise ski area is about a mile from the Lake Louise Chateau. Banff has three ski areas around the valley - all about 2-3 miles from the Banff Springs Hotel. So - there is no ski in - ski out here!

After the fabulous overview of Banff from the gondola, we went back into town for a last good bye. It was then time to return to Magic, clean the bus, cook dinner and begin the packing process as Thursday we were on our way to Kamloops.

It rained almost the whole drive to Kamloops - so it was a good day to be in the bus. The drive was fairly uneventful except for one little ‘hitch in our get-along’ - when the windshield wipers quit working in the pouring rain!! And, of course, I (Elizabeth) was driving. It is a good thing Gary is so handy at figuring things out - he had the wipers fixed in about 30 minutes and we were on our way again. There is good news and bad news with our new campground - there is no wonderful view, which we have become accustomed to, BUT, there is internet, satellite and a laundry room!! So - we are set up again, have the laundry done, dinner dishes are done and we are getting this posted to the blog from the comfort of Magic without being kicked off the internet even one time!! AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Tomorrow is a golf day - report on that soon.

Much Love to All - Gary and Elizabeth

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