Moving Day! Time to travel from Glacier Park, Montana to Banff, Canada. Our alarm woke us up at 6:00am (to be fair, all this waking up early has not been as painful as one would expect, because of the 2-hour time difference for us. Waking up at 6am Mountain Time is the same as waking up at 8am Eastern Time, which is about when we wake up at home anyway) because we had to leave our bags outside our room by 7am. I was done packing before Joe so as he finished up, I went downstairs and took pictures of the sunrise (because besides being pretty, let’s face it – how often am I awake to see a sunrise? There had to be photographic proof of the event, right?)

Reflection of the sunrise in the etched glass door of the hotel

It's WAY too early for me to be up

OK yeah, it's early but that sure is pretty!

I met Joe downstairs and we went to the dining room for breakfast. The buffet seemed to be less appetizing with each day and since we’re not “breakfast people” anyway, we had just a half grapefruit (me) and a really bad honey bun (Joe). Even the coffee was particularly bad – old and burnt. Yeah, the hotel may have good dinners and great views but the breakfasts are just plain ol’ not good. Oh, and the regular breakfast menu? Same stuff as the buffet menu, but with a’la carte prices.

We loaded onto the bus and were on our way by 8:05am. We drove for two hours or so and made a quick “stretch your legs” stop to see Chief Mountain, which is said to be a very holy place for the Blackfeet Nation.

Chief Mountain

We arrived in Canada around 10:45am and, after taking care of the “crossing the border” stuff, we were allowed to come out of the bus to take a group picture in front of the International Peace Park sign (Waterton Glacier is the Canadian side of the protected natural area that Glacier National Park is in the US. The two countries work together to make the International Peace Park).

The US/Canadian Border - they maintain the clearing in the trees for miles

Welcome to Waterton Glacier!

Back onto the bus and about 20 minutes later we arrived at the Prince of Wales hotel, in the town of Waterton. After a chance to pee and see the gift shop, we got to listen to Chris, a worker who gave us the history of the hotel. It was an old lodge built, once again, so people could see the beautiful sights of the mountains. It was named after Prince Edward (who, by the way, never visited it) and is only open 100 days of the year (just as with the other hotels in the Glacier Lakes area, it gets WAY too much snow during the non-summer months so it’s only open from early June to mid-September). The hotel also has 2 ghosts in residence – oh joy.

Outside the Prince of Wales Hotel

Inside the lobby

View from inside the lobby

Chris (doesn't he look like Tom Hanks?)

When Chris was done, we were offered lunch in the hotel’s dining room. We had salad and/or butternut-coconut soup for appetizers, then I had a tuna salad (greens with seared tuna on top) while Joe had a buffalo burger with fries. Our table mates were Judy (she was going stag – her husband had to stay home for work reasons at the last minute) and Tim the bus driver (who is Canadian and gave us a little information about the part of the country he lived in). Dessert was a choice of brownie or cheesecake – Joe and I got one each and split them.

Eating in the restaurant

My lunch

We had time to take some more pictures of the view outside and few minutes before loading back onto the bus, someone in the tour saw 4 more bears WAAAY off on a nearby island – so that brings us up to 9 bear sightings.

Our traditional "Sharonesque" poses

The town of Waterton. Population: 2,000 in the summer, 100 in the winter. 425,000 visitors per year.

BEARS! (black dots on the shore, in the middle of the picture)

Because we were able to finish eating in a timely manner, we were able to make a quick stop at an area in Waterton that is not usually part of the tour – the Cameron Falls water fall. VERY pretty! 10 minutes later we were on the road again…

In front of Cameron Falls

Two more hours on the road (I slept through a lot of it) and we stopped at the Bar U Ranch, a historical site that covered the history of ranches, cowboys and Natives in the area, which included a 20-minute pit stop.

The Bar-U Ranch

Joe's artistic photography. Don't the plains look like something out of an Olan Mills picture?

Back on the road, 3 (or 4?) more bears were sighted – we had obliterated the previous Adventures by Disney bear sighting record!

We arrived in Banff at 5:30pm or so and when we arrived at our hotel, the Banff Park Lodge, were handed off to Taz to show and tell was what was available at the hotel (they had internet access! Who CARES what else they offer???) Once Tiffany & Geraldine had our keys in hand, we were encouraged to go to our rooms until our luggage arrived (it only took a few minutes) and to come back down to the Terrance Lounge & Dining Room at 6:15pm for dinner.

Our hotel, the Banff Park Lodge

Taz

The view as you enter the lobby

View on the left as you enter the lobby

Room pic #1

Room pic #2

We arrived at the dining room a minute or two before 6:15pm and sat at a 4-top, once again with Kari and Chris. Dinner at this hotel was just awesome. I started with a salad “bowl” made out of cucumber and stuffed with greens, with grapes, pecans, cherry tomatoes and duck on the outside. For our main course I had a chicken  breast stuffed with cheese, while Joe had a salmon dish. My dessert was a dish of ice cream with a cookie (we had the option of a kids’ dessert and I took advantage of same).

The Terrace Dining Room

Appetizer (we thought the cucumber "bowl" was very clever)

Joe's main course

Sharon's main course

Dessert (kids' dessert)

When we were done with our meal, we began the arduous task of laundry. Woo hoo! We had checked with the hotel before we left home and discovered they did indeed have a laundry room, so we planned that in our packing – have clothes for (roughly) half of the days we would be away and do laundry (roughly) halfway through. We’ve perfected the system in the past (pack the Tide and the fabric softener, only bring darkish clothes so we don’t have to do more than 1 or 2 loads and don’t have to worry about dark stuff bleeding onto light stuff, bring enough undies for the whole trip so we don’t have to do an underwear load, etc.). As it turned out, the hotel had TWO laundry rooms – one on each wing of the hotel. Unfortunately, there was only one washer and one dryer on each wing. More unfortunately, the machine on the “other” wing was broken. And since, of course, the washer drum was tiny, we had to do it in 2 loads. The dryer was nice and hot though, and there was an automatic soap dispenser so we didn’t have to use our little boxes of Tide.

We were done in a little less than 2 hours. By this time it was after 11 so after putting our newly-laundered stuff away, we went to bed.

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