On Sunday we continued to make the most of the Brewster tours "free to locals" offer and headed out to Lake Minnewanka for a bit of a cruise. In stark contrast to the previous day's snowy adventures it was warm and sunny with blue skies and sparkling clear water.
It seems locals days are a hit and the dock by the boat house was packed with people lining up for the next boat. We decided to buy tickets for the following trip and hung out on the shore for a while skipping stones and playing in the sand.
When the first boat returned and unloaded we realized that half our street were aboard and the beach was suddenly covered with our little neighbourhood gang of kids.
Once the neighbours had left we headed to the dock and climbed aboard.
The lake and scenery were beautiful and we had a very informative guide giving us all kinds of cool local and natural history as we cruised. The lake is 500 feet deep at it's deepest point and very, very cold. It's long and thin and storms often whip down the valley making conditions for lone paddlers pretty dangerous. Apparently the lake was originally known as Devil's Lake and is believed by the native Stoney people to be possessed by an angry spirit but this didn't go down too well with Banff's original tourists so in the early 1900's they changed the name to Minnewanka, meaning Water Spirt to make it a little more appealing :) I was also interested to discover that the lake has been damned three times which has significantly increased it from it's original size. The last damning raised the water level so much that it covered the small lakeside town of Minnewanka Landing and these days you can scuba dive down and see remnants of the old town, you can even have your photo taken on an old porcelain toilet on the lake bottom!
Here's a familiar sight from our Tofino days.... a pair of bald eagles who return every year to nest on the shore line.....
Seb was given the privelege of driving the boat, Captain Dan said he was a natural! I think Grandad will be very proud when he sees the photos :)
Another interesting fact....the group of Aspen trees you see in the photo above can actually be considered one huge living organism or perhaps at least a couple of very large living organisms. Their root systems are all connected under the ground and each new tree is actually an off-shoot from the roots of the older trees, hence they are all in fact one organism!
I thoroughly enjoyed our tour and would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Banff. I'm also very grateful that we we were given the opportunity to experience some of the wonders of our local area for free!