Of Lifts, Gondolas and Tramways

Scenic Sunday

“You can do it!!  I’ll be right beside you.”  A convinces me as we walk towards the lift that would take us 2,088 meters above sea level.  So there I was on an open chair about 5 meters above ground, my feet resting only on a bar.  Although safely buckled, I was still intimidated and any movement sends me to stiffness.  A tries to calm me, “Here, let me hold your hand” and I let him.

Lake-Louise-gondola

We were cruising for 14 minutes, which felt more like 30 to me.  But those 30 er 14 minutes were just full of glorious sceneries and as I started snapping away, a sense of calm came over me and I am all right.

Lake-Louise-panoramic

From the top, the spectacular landscape is there to be explored.  We however didn’t have the time to go trekking up the summit of Mt. Whitehorse so we soaked in the beauty of Lake Louise against the grand Victoria Glacier at the deck.

Lake-Louise-3

It was just a speck against the mountains that surrounds it but amazing how even that small, the blueness of the lake just stood out managing to draw your eyes to it.  Imagine it up close.

Lake Louise Mountain Resort and the surrounding village are part of several important wildlife conservation in Banff National Park.  It is supposedly home to some of Canada’s most renowned wildlife including Black Bears, Elk, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Wolves and the respected Grizzly Bear.  We weren’t lucky enough to see any.

banff-golf-course

Banff golf course from the top.

By now, I have mustered enough courage to go on another mountaintop experience.  The next day, we hopped on the bus and got off at the Banff Gondola.

banff-gondola

No Sweat!

The journey to the summit of Sulphur Mountain in a modern, fully enclosed four passenger gondola cabin took only 8 minutes.  No sweat!  The view becomes more spectacular as we approached the summit at 2,281 meters above sea level with Cascade Mountain providing the backdrop.

banff-mountain

Round trip costs about C$30, pretty steep but the amazing view is worth the spend.  A definite must see when in Banff.  Easily accessible as well, the We Roam bus (I forget what route) will take you all the way to the base.

Banff-panoramic

Cascade Mountain as backdrop and the smaller mountain is Tunnel Mountain.

When we got to Jasper, we obviously couldn’t resist and so therefore found ourselves riding the tramway one afternoon ascending up Whistler Mountain.  The adventure begins at the foot of Whistler Mountain in the safety of an enclosed tram cabin that can fit about 30 passengers at a time.

pine-trees-from-the-tram

The view from the tram.

The Jasper tramway is the longest and highest guided aerial tramway in Canada and I could feel my ears popping as we ascend.  But feeling more like a veteran now, I confidently hopped on the cabin to be hoisted 2 km up to the peak – a beautiful, scenic and enjoyable mid-air ride.

viewpoint-from-the-top

View from the top.

Jasper-Tramway

trekking-jasperTrekking

At the summit, we stepped out into an alpine tundra with views of six mountain ranges, glacial fed lakes, the Athabasca River and the scenic mountain site of Jasper.  An awe-inspiring view that has become my favorite among the lot.

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