It had been a long time since my last visit to this small but touristy mountain village, and returning felt like a brand new experience. With my step-sister Lindsey having taken on a sales role with Discover Banff Tours (http://www.banfftours.com) a year ago, we were granted an extra special more-personalized tour of the Johnston Canyon Icewalk with this tour company.
What a way to spend Christmas Day! The temperatures were chilly but still comfortable (with the appropriate clothing — layers, hats, warm gloves and hiking boots made for a lovely afternoon ramble). The 4 km gradual hike through the Johnston Canyon was made interesting and educational by our Scottish guide Brian. The quick jaunts across narrow steel walkways (built into the canyon) made my heart skip a beat (yes, I am afraid/wary of heights, believe it or not); other than that, the tranquillity and beauty of this National Park was calming in witness to the scenic views of the lower falls and the breathtaking upper icefalls. This will be a special excursion I’ll not soon forget!
Reservations were made for 7pm at the renowned and fabulous Rimrock Resort. We were indulgently treated to 5-star class with a swanky five-course sumptuous meal (slaDE was still hungry at the end of our ‘spensy meal, with the delectably designed small portions) in the Divas smoking lounge . Divas is the hotel’s glamorous new martini Jazz Lounge (the public can actually still smoke here in their Alberta pubs and bars, or at least they will be until January 1st, 2007) … the walls are lined with a splendid cinematic collection of Hollywood’s most recognized women, or Divas as we know them (yummy male diVAs entertain us females in the bathroom!).
We spent 3 hours luxuriating over our dinner, enjoying comfortable conversation and funny stories of our families, reminiscing of past Christmases and turkey dinners (I really enjoyed my organic turkey entrée). A few photos were taken and lots of hugs were given around the giant fireplace and lovely Christmas tree, before heading back to Calgary, a quiet and starry-filled drive ahead of us.