A Drive At Banff.
Boat House, Bow River, Banff.
Goat Mountain And Spray River Valley, Banff.
Cascade Mountain, Bow River.
Camping At The Head Of Bow River.
Mount Massive, Banff.
View From Upper Spring, Banff.
The railway ride from Banff to the Pacific is one of which detailed description is almost impossible. Still more beyond the potency of word-painting is the region traversed. Imagine a tempestuous ocean, whose surges, at the moment of their wildest tossing, have been transformed into mountains. Consider that this petrified ocean, known as British Columbia, is nearly as large as France and Spain combined. Its monster billows now stand motionless, yet seem forever on the point of breaking out again into their former furious agitation. Some of them crowd and shoulder one another onward, as if they had been instantaneously checked in a progressive movement.
A Tempestuous Ocean Transformed.
Mount Stephen, Field.
Others recoil from their companions, and, rearing their rough peaks in desperate rivalry, confront each other savagely across profound abysses. Their summits vary in altitude from eight thousand to fourteen thousand feet; the lowest dark with countless evergreens ; the average elevations flecked with frozen foam; the loftiest seamed with ice-bound rivers, and mantled with millennial snows. Twisting and turning through this maze of sunny heights and shadowy depths, our train now toils with difficulty up a steep ascent, now whirls impetuously down some long incline, swinging meanwhile to right and left, much as a life-boat struggles in the trough of a stupendous sea.
As the real ocean has its permanent currents, which can be accurately traced and followed, so in this chaos of sharp crests and snow-wreathed cones four distinct ranges can be named and located. The easternmost of these, dividing British Columbia from Alberta, bears the well-known title of the Rocky Mountains. Next come the Selkirks, eighty miles in breadth, whose flanks are girded with primeval forests, whose breasts are cuirassed with resplendent glaciers, and whose white foreheads sparkle with eternal frost. Scarcely less grand is the next series of Sierras, called the Gold Range, sixty miles in width, which, in its turn, is followed by the Cascade Mountains, more extraordinary still. The latter border the Pacific for nine hundred miles in a succession of gigantic precipices, pierced to a length of thirty or forty miles by narrow fjords, often too deep for anchorage ; in brief, reproducing on a larger scale the west coast of Norway. It m ay be also claimed with truth that there is yet another chain of mountains, parallel to these, a few miles from the shore, and piercing the blue surface of the ocean, as those upon the mainland pierce the sky. For the innumerable islands, which fringe the coast of British Columbia all the way from Puget Sound to Alaska, are but the summits of a sunken range, which through subsidence is now partially covered by the waves. Hence, the deep waterways that wind among the islands of this archipelago, and make for hundreds of miles ideal, sheltered channels for the largest ships, are submarine canons, similar to those which separate the peaks of the interior.
The Original Chalet At Mount Stephen.
Mount Temple And Paradise Valley.
Railway And River.