Banff: 2

May 11, 2011 • 7:14 pm

Banff has a spectacular setting in the Canadian Rockies.  I’m staying at the Banff Centre above the town, a arts/convention operation with lots of rooms.  I wandered downtown for dinner, and was pleased to see a cervid walking across the street right in front of me. I’m a city boy, and not used to wild artiodactyls on the public thoroughfares. I followed the deer into someone’s backyard and got within about four feet of it:

And then I passed a bear-proof garbage can. I’m not in Chicago any more.

The downtown, which is small, is surrounded by towering, snow-clad mountains.  It’s a tourist town, replete with souvenir stores, candy emporia, and expensive restaurants, but you can’t beat the setting. (Apologies for the annoying camera smudge, which we’ll have to live with until I get it cleaned.)

I hadn’t eaten all day—save a bagel at 7 a.m.—so I tucked into a comfort meal of fish and chips (quite good) and a pint of IPA (decent, but no match for my favorite pint, Timothy Taylor Landlord) at the Banff Avenue Brewing Company.  My serious gustatory explorations will begin anon.

42 thoughts on “Banff: 2

      1. Iguaçu National Park, same place I saw the butterfly (did you notice some waterfalls on the background?). It was not really a surprise, as the guide swore we would see some agoutis and coatis. Unfortunately, they were too fast for me.

  1. That “annoying smudge” could be some dust on the back of your lens — are you using a camera with a removable lens? A shot of compressed air might take care of it…

    1. Until you get your camera fixed, turn it upside-down so that the smudge isn’t in the sky and so not so noticeable.

      (I had a similar problem with my old camera. You can mostly fix the smudges in iPhoto, PS, etc.)


  2. That it an awesome downtown shot with the mountain in the background.

    I don’t take out my camera for deer, since I see them in my backyard at home just about daily.

    But I did get some shots of Bison and Pronghorns in South Dakota yesterday. Sadly, none of the Pronghorns decided to run 60+ miles per hour for my amusement.

    1. Which they’re able to do, apparently, due to some now-extinct cheetah-like former predator. Also cool how they go under, not over, fences.

  3. Lol, I just spent a morning spraying my baby trees with “Deer-Off”. In town. Gotta love West Virginia…

    (Seriously, I love seeing them in the yard – even on the deck – but I want some tree cover more.)

    1. Our globe arborvitae is now a hemisphere arborvitae. (The remaining side juts out over a retaining wall out of deer-reach.) Still, I, too, love seeing them.

  4. I don’t recommend getting close to cervids even though this one got you a gorgeous photo. Sometimes they’re just having a bad hair day and they maul people. I’ve photographed beasts such as seal pups from close up, but I always had an escape plan and I also understood that if I had a bad day I’d be screwed.

  5. Check with the local zoo if it has a “cat house” (houses panthers, lions, or other large cats), and ask if you can have any of their cat shit. Great deer repellent.

    Possibly people-repellent, too…

    Am glad you weren’t chasing a bear through people yards to get a better picture. I actually saw that happen last week, when a tourist (flatlanders, we call them) decided he needed to get a better photo of that baby bear who was all alone.

    Of course baby bear wasn’t alone, but luckily, dip-wad was already in his car and driving off when momma showed up.

    1. I’m sorry, but, as a(nother?) Yorkshireman, I have to disagree.

      Black Sheep is the best brewery, and Riggwelter, 5.9%, probably its best beer.

      They also do Monty Python’s Holy Grail… um, Ale.

      1. You make a very good point there. But another one worth mentioning is the Kelham Island Brewery and their Pale Rider.

        The more I think on it the more I realise that there is too much good beer in Yorkshire.

        On a side note, not only another yoprkshireman, but another myrmecologist!

        1. You can’t have too much good beer!

          However, I’m not another myrmecologist! I know at least one other person here had inferred that, but my nym is actually my name Ant(hony) Allan, not indicative of my scientific interests! I have a Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics, but now work for the world’s largest IT research and advisory company – and all my research is published with that byline: Ant Allan. It confuses most clients outside the UK!

  6. Odd that the fire hydrant is in the middle of the street. Do they have door handles instead of knobs, too?

  7. While jogging last night I saw a few deer and a tom turkey. Small stuff like squirrels and chipmunks as well.

  8. The bear proof garbage containers are something. Banff was the only park that I had visited that had you put your gasoline containers in a building because of bears. Also in the capgrounds they had great evening lectures, the one night I had attended a Mackenzie lecture.

    One other interesting thing is, just about every town has it’s own museum. I was in the park 2006 on my way to Denali.

  9. Hi Jerry,

    The Banff Centre for the Arts where you are staying, has the best swimming pool in the area. It’s not a natural hot spring, but it is where all the locals go when they want a swim and a good hot tub / sauna. The Glass roof opens up views to Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain while you soak. (Look for the Sally Borden Building.)

    If you want to soak in the real Hot Springs, the Upper Hot Springs on Sulphur Mountain give you a bit of a sense of what first attracted tourists to the area. The older “Cave & Basin” has a more historical past and has the snails you are looking for, but you can’t swim or soak there yourself anymore.


  10. Was it a mule deer, or a white-tail? I suspect the former, based on ear-size, and a fair amount of white visible in the tail/rump (although the evergreen bough is trying its darnedest to hide the deer’s identity).

        1. Mulie, I think – white-tails are pretty rare that far west.

          And the ping-pong paddle ears certainly look like a mulie’s. So does the dark patch on the forehead, and the extent of the white patch on the muzzle.

          Of course, it has positioned itself so as to conceal the diagnostic black tail-tip.

  11. a) About the bear-proof containers: I’d think there would be a bunch near Soldiers’ Field. Perhaps being at UC, you’re too pointyheaded and highfalutin’ to spend any time there!

    b) Before moving to Hanover NH, I lived for a few years in a very suburban suburb west of Minneapolis. Saw more deer there than I do now, in my semi-rural but increasingly suburban area. One day, we had 7 deer grazing on our lawn. Where I now live, across the street from me is a large heavily wooded hill, and the first day I let my (then) teenage daughter drive on the road, a moose came out of the woods about 75 yards away as we backed out of the driveway. She wouldn’t believe me at first.

  12. Deer may not have made it into the big city, but they are annoying and (on roads) potentially dangerous pests in almost ever suburban area. I wish I saw them LESS often.

      1. No, it’s definitely not that.

        There are too few natural predators for deer, which are called “long-legged rats” in these parts, on account of their tendency to eat any and all vegetation we value.

        I’m in favor of re-introducing the wolf to help control their numbers, rather than relying on automobiles and hunters.

  13. Mmmmm. Canadian food.

    As I remember there are elk everywhere, even in town. We stayed at a cabin in the woods, and had a couple of herds saunter through the yard.

    Watch out for the magpies; they’ll steal your food in a heartbeat.

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