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Contents Page: July 1, 2011, vol 7 no 2

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Mike Montreuil

 

Sketches of Banff

We were thirty minutes into the mountains. The four-lane highway that follows the Bow River was small and insignificant against the first peaks that greeted us.

a mountain of lime
being eaten
by machinery

The first turnoff into the town of Banff was missed. Yet, our need to hurry or panic seemed to disappear. We continued along the highway to the second turnoff and entered the town site. A mass of people were in the downtown tourist section and our way to the hotel became slower than expected. We reached the hotel near the first turnoff.

a magpie lands
in the parking lot –
no need for a car alarm

* * *

Even if it was mid-July, there was no need for air-conditioning. The altitude and mountain air took hold of us and from under thick blankets; our first night quickly became morning. I could see other peaks from our balcony as well as the wear and tear of hard winters on the hotel exterior.

a chipmunk and nutcrackers
fight for bread –
the neighbors' good morning

* * *

Our trip to the Columbia Ice Fields awaited us. The two lane highway followed a narrow river valley where the river was still being fed by melting glaciers. Yet, as we drove along, we noticed small glaciers clinging, un-melted, to the north side of many peaks.

driving among mountains
the sun visor lowered
against the view

A scenic stop by the river lured us off the road. According to the sign, we were to observe the river, the ever changing sandbars and the almost vertical slopes of the mountains.

raven walks in front of me –
eye to eye
with the bringer of water

* * *

We took the mandatory tourist tractor-bus ride to the top of the ice field. Our sweaters were not thick enough against the cold breeze of a glacier in July, even if the melt water continued to run towards the little lake at the bottom. Shaking with cold, we took quick family shots by swapping cameras with other families.

changing weather –
a glacier is now
a souvenir store

 

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