April 19It was an "iffy" day for weather, but
we headed for Kootenay Park all the same. For the most part, the
weather cooperated, although we ran into some rain in the higher
Route 93 took us through Kootenay Park.
The boundary between Banff Park and Kootenay Park fell on the
Continental Divide. We had hoped to do some hiking into the
park, but the amount of snow on the trails made this impossible.
Our feet sank down a foot or more as soon as we stepped off
the packed down area near the road. Consequently, we ended up
at the exit to the park much earlier than we had expected. We
had brought our bathing suits along for a visit to the Radium
hot springs, so we headed south out of the park.
Unfortunately, the hot springs was another
disappointment as the hot pool was closed for repair. The cold
outdoor pool was open, and there were a few hardy souls splashing
about, but we weren't about to subject our thin-blooded Virginian
frames to the shock of that experience. After bumbling about
in Radium for a half hour or so, trying to figure out "what
next," we followed the suggestion of a nice man at a closed
visitor center to take a drive through the "back country."
The back country turned out to be a fairly
scenic drive along the top of a cliff that overlooked the Columbia
Wetlands, the largest contiguous wetlands in North America,
with the mountains in the background. There were "hoodoos"
above and below us. This gave us an opportunity to examine a
hoodoo at close quarters. It consisted of hard-packed sand, sculpted by wind and water. It
didn't seem like a very stable place upon which to build anything!
A walk down a path to the wetlands revealed the recent evidence
of animals, but we didn't actually run into any.
At one point, as we wandered a short
way off the road along a trail (just to see what was back there),
we heard some rushing water. Curious about the source of the
sound, and mindful of the "PrivateDo Not Trespass"
sign, we cautiously edged forward another 100 feet or so. Good
thing we didn't go barreling down the pathit stopped at
the edge of a very deep canyon, from the top of which dropped
a tall waterfall. It was beautiful, but quite dangerous! Sorry,
I don't have any photos of itnot enough light, and I didn't
bring my tripod on that jaunt.
On the way back to 93 from Invermere,
where the back country road eventually lead us, we found a large
band of bighorn sheep on the berm alongside the road. It was
their dinnertime, and getting to be near ours as well. We headed
back to our cozy little cabin near the train tracks.