Banff, Banff NP, Alberta – A wolf on rails

First we get to Banff information centre this morning. The village itself is proper, pretty, and touristy. And expensive. Even the tourist information is commercial. The info material included to the entrance fee is poor compared to the other parks. If you want to know more, you have to ask well-directed or research or – that’s the goal – buy one of the offered hiking guide books. It is still June and not yet high season, so we can ask the ranger many questions.

She sends us first to Johnston Lake that we will hike round. The mountain lakes get their beautiful turquoise and emerald dye from glacier mud that were deposited thousands of years ago. There is mixed woodland around the lake, and above conifer wood up to the timberline. The peaks are snow covered even on the southern slopes. The panorama touches everybody.

Along Minnewanka Road we go to Two Jack Lake and Lake Minnewanka. In the area between the two lakes Rocky Mountain Sheep are said to stay. We were not disappointed: Directly beside the road royal rams, ewes and lambs are leaking minerals. We were told not to leave the car not to make them get used to humans.

In the south just off the park we find a night site at a lake. It is one of these places you don’t want to leave any more. Blue-green water, light green trees, grey mountains, and white snow. On the other side of the lake there is the railway line where every now and then a freight train passes. We don’t want to trust our eyes. A four-legged animal plods along the rails. A glance through the binocular offers the whole truth: It’s really an adult wolf with brown fur that carries out its patrol. Trains transport and lose often grain that attracts small and wild animals; game handed to the wolf on a plate. Only minutes later a beaver swims over the whole lake in our direction before it disappears in the thicket. We are in paradise.

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