Canadian Rockies: Alberta, Canada

This is generic text for my trip to the Canadian Rockies. Ill be adding som more information about the Canadian Rockies area shortly.


Banff National Park
. Canada's oldest national park founded in 1885
. 2,564 square miles
. Banff and Lake Louise are the 2 centers of activity - 36 miles apart
. Lake Louise 5,679 ft. A.S.L.
. 800 miles of trails
. Park elevations: 4,350 at the Bow River, 11,851 at Mount Forbes

. Population 10,275
. Elevation 4,400 ft
. Established 1883 as a coal mining center
. Site of 1988 Winter Olympics biathlon and cross-country ski events


Canada's Rocky Mountain weather systems are extremely unpredictable due to high elevations, rugged topography and proximity to the continental divide. Daytime and nighttime temperatures can differ widely, because of the Canadian Rockies's dry air (there is little atmospheric moisture to slow temperature swings) and its mountain elevation.  Expect night temperatures to fall close to or below freezing. 

The weather can also change dramatically throughout the day. Even if it is warm and sunny at the trailhead, take rain gear and a fleece jacket. Dress with multiple layers no matter what the time of year or the weather forecast. Because of the dry air, it's a good idea to use skin moisturizers and lip lubricants.

The Autumn season (Sept/Oct) sees a diminishing of the daylight hours and warm days with cooling evening winds.  Sunrise will be 7 a.m. and sunset 8 p.m. during our trip. 

The Rockies host a “continental” climate, which means there is a great range in temperatures over the year. The weather patterns are strongly influenced by the tall barrier-like nature of the range. The eastern slope is noticeably cooler and drier than the western slope. 

Lake Louise / Banff (Alberta)
There are certain constants that continually affect Banff National Park's weather: the Park's latitude, the Pacific air from the west, the mountains that surround and fill the Park (particularly those of the Continental Divide), and the occasional spurt of continental air from the east.
Like any place, the Park's global latitude accounts indirectly for some of its weather patterns

The prevailing westerly winds are perhaps the most influential factor in Banff's weather. These winds bring moist Pacific air from the ocean, across British Columbia toward Banff National Park. As this moist air is forced up over mountain peaks, it cools. The cool temperature causes the moisture in the air to condense and precipitate out. As the air descends on the downwind side of the mountain, it warms and stops precipitating.

To give you an idea, today August 10th:  Rain. High 56F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph. Rainfall around a quarter of an inch.  Sunday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 70s and lows in the low 40s.

Yoho National Park – Whisky Jack / Stanley Mitchell (British Columbia)
The weather in Yoho National Park is localized and changeable. Dramatic variations in Yoho's climate are caused by a combination of elevation, rain shadow effects, and latitude. Located on the west side of the Continental Divide, Yoho National Park receives more rainfall
and snowfall than areas east of the divide. Precipitation increases with elevation. 

Summer weather extends from mid-June to mid-September. The mean temperature during this period is12.5° C, with average high temperatures of 20° C and low temperatures of 5° C. Above 1500m elevation, freezing temperatures and snow are not uncommon in the summer.



"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."    — Robert A. Heinlein

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