Canada | A Winter Walk in Sulphur Mountain, Banff

Is is too early to talk about Winter? 😁

Living in the tropics, this season has always been a wonder for me. Because I’m not always exposed to snow, I  don’t think about the mess it makes, how annoyingly cold it gets or the hard tasks associated with it.  I always think of it from a magical perspective, like how children  associate Christmas with Santa Claus and gifts. 
A visit to Banff, Canada in 2017

In 2017, I walk up a snowy peak for the first time and what an awesome first time it was, visiting one of Canada's best national parks, Banff! Though I’ve done short winter hikes around the parks in Toronto and Montreal a few weeks prior, standing on top of a mountain,  looking at surrounding mountains , immaculately covered in snow felt even more surreal.  From my vantage, giant white frosted cakes appeared before me, but instead of feeling hungry at the sight, I was filled with awe. 

with Jan on Sulphur mountain

What made it even more memorable was I got to do it with one of my best friends and her family who I haven't seen in about 10 years (maybe more!).

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This is where we walked to get to Cosmic Ray station.

There are two options of getting to the top of Sulphur mountain, one or both can make you sweaty, if you're afraid of heights. Traveling with two active little ones, we opted to ride a cable car. While it's a  convenient option, having acrophobia doesn't make it easier, I had to  keep my focus on the views so as not to get daunted by the heights!  My mom's friend had it worse and kept her eyes closed the entire way. 

From the cable car station, we walked another 500-meter on a boardwalk to Cosmic Ray Station, a historical landmark on Sanson Peak.While riding the cable car, we saw people taking the hiking trail. It looked really fun  (needless to say, challenging) to walk closer to the trees. I'd have to reserve that for a return trip. 

Along the way, I read an information signage about the white bark pines in Sulphur mountain, a species of pine trees that grow at a high elevation.  Due to  disease, and climate change, its numbers are rapidly declining.  In 2012, it was listed as an endangered species.  While Banff is a family-friendly, touristy destination,  I appreciate that there were signages like these, making visitors  aware of these type of issues. 
Say hello to  the Canadian Rockies!

There was a building near the cable car station which had the restrooms, restaurant and souvenir shop. My friend's kids joined an activity and made Christmas cookies while we adults went around to take more photos like this beautiful bear. 

the kids making Christmas themed cookies. :) 

Other than sightseeing and hiking, there are tons of other activities and places to visit in Banff National Park.  Do visit Parks Canada website for a more comprehensive list of things to do and updated travel information. 

One of the things that kept me sane in this long quarantine was revisiting old travel photos. This day trip from Calgary  to Banff was one of my favorites.  As I wait for travel to be more safer, I shall look back to past trip with fondness, enjoy the mundane and move forward with hope.