I arrived in the Banff area about 4 PM local time yesterday after a short (about 325 miles or 525 kilometers) trip from Coeur d'Alene, which is about 100 miles (160 km) below the Canadian border. The trip through northern Idaho was gorgeous, and served to prepare me for what was in store.
I passed the beautiful, deep (c. 1,150 feet or 350 meters) Lake Pend Oreille, where the U.S. Navy still tests underwater detection devices.
Here is a picture of the Kootenai River Valley just north of Bonners Ferry, about 10 miles south of Canada.
As I drove north on Highway 95, my mind would wander to thousands of years ago, when huge floods, precipitated by the failure of the ice dam containing ancient Lake Missoula, shaped the landscape, especially the Channeled Scablands of eastern Washington (see my earlier post, The Great Lake Missoula Floods). Some evidence now suggests that additional sources in Canada augmented the Lake Missoula waters. Regardless of the sources, the floods were so huge that the effects propagated as far away as my home area, the Willamette Valley of western Oregon.
My 45-year old knowledge of structural geology, learned in the folded Appalachians and much of it forgotten, ill-prepared me for an understanding of what I was about to see. Pretty soon I I was staring at the gorgeous Rockies, a sight that would only become more spectacular.
I even stumbled upon the source of the Columbia River.
As I entered Kootenay (different spelling in Canada) National Park a sign warned me that bears were on the roadway. Sure enough, a few kilometers later I encountered a momma and her two cubs taking a leisurely stroll across the road (Highway 93).
Here is a picture of me in KNP with the Rockies in the background. The view is to the southeast. The next picture is from the same overlook, but to the east-northeast. At this point I am about 50 miles (80 km) from Banff. The drive through KNP was well worth it.
This morning it is overcast. I can see freshly-fallen snow on the lower elevations of the peaks just south of my hotel.
Good week ahead.
"Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice." -- Will Durant