Monday, 11 August 2014

Experience the Rocky Mountains, Canada

When you think of Canada, what do you imagine? Houses on stilts, polar bears and a constant cover of snow? Yup, me too.

These visions are frequently associated with this vast country, but this only exists in extremely remote locations in the northern territories. I and am sure we have the hugely popular TV programme Due South to thank for that. Whilst the southern regions do get a dusting or two of snow in the winter, autumn in Canada is a time of radiant reds, vibrant oranges and burnt yellows as the leaves change colour before they inevitably fall to the ground.

The Rocky Mountains

Canada is a top notch destination during the autumn and draws guests from around the world who wish to climb its peaks, study its wildlife or take in its views. Not only do you get to see an awesome array of colours, but the landscape itself is simply breathtaking. The National Park Service indicates that Rocky Mountain National Park serves as the habitat to 66 mammal species, including the rare lynx and wolverine. Above the tree line, small pikas live in the rocky crevices of the mountains. Black bears, coyotes, elk, marmots, mountain lions, bighorn sheep and moose also live in Rocky Mountain National Park. Banff National Park in Canada has numerous bighorn sheep as well as hoary marmots, grizzly and black bears and the golden mantled ground squirrel, among other creatures. The Rocky Mountains is probably the most notable location in Canada for a stunning backdrop; and autumn here is especially attractive with the annual Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival.

The Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival

The 14th annual Calgary based event will be held for two days from October 14th-15th 2011 and the Edmonton event will be held a week later from October 21-22. In these few days you can expect to taste plenty of world class wine, as well as sumptuous local culinary creations. The main event will take place in the BMO Centre at Stampede Park; here you will find the 2010 Grand Tasting Hall, completely full with everything from value based meals to ultra exclusive fare.
Special Seminars

Aside from the delectable delights in the main hall, you can also spend your Canadian Dollars on an exclusive seminar. Choose between wine and spirit tasting, or a Canadian cheese tasting seminar. Then again, you are on holiday, so why not do both? Although getting some authentic Canadian cheese may not have been on your holiday to-do list, the idea becomes a lot more appealing when you realise that wine pairing is part of the tutorial! Visit The Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival website

Budweiser (Anheuser-Busch) Brewery

If eating isn't your thinking but drinking lager is then you may be interested in visiting the Anheuser-Busch Brewery which distributes its Budweiser beer brands worldwide. The Fort Collins production facility offers free beer tours from its Brew Hall viewing area that overlooks the brewing control room. Visitors also see the large cellar where the beer naturally ferments and learn how Anheuser-Busch packages its beers. You may be happy to learn that for the over 21s complimentary beer tastings follow the tour. The fee, as of 2010, is $25 per person, $10 per child. I am not personally into the lager scene but I am into memory making ads and Budweiser really did themselves proud with this 1995 advert:

Bicycle Tours in the Rockies

In order to burn off the calories consumed at the Anheuser Brewery why not take a bicycle tour? The Rockies offer some of the highest, most scenic touring in North America. There are numerous scenic byways and bicycle events through the Rockies, creating the opportunity for anything from a single-day to multi-week tours. Organized Rocky Mountain bicycle tours take place throughout the summer months. In the late summer, the Colorado Rocky Mountain Bicycle Tour holds a charity event that rolls through mountain passes like Squaw Pass, Fremont and Loveland and includes scenic byways like the Peak to Peak and Trail Ridge Road. All tours run about a week.

If you are about to embark on your next bicycling adventure don't underestimate the power of layering, 't's essential when participating in a bicycling tour of the Rocky Mountains. Not only can Colorado mountain weather shift drastically from morning to mid-day, but elevation changes experienced during tours also create major weather shifts. It is has been known to go from hot, sunny, 85-degree weather to cold, overcast, snowy, 30-degree weather in a few hours. Be sure to pack rain gear and warm, insulating layers. Pack leg warmers, arm warmers and warm, full-fingered gloves. You'll want to wear bicycle-specific clothing, including padded shorts, and attire made from quick-drying, moisture-wicking fabric.
Arkansas River Tours

Between the Royal Gorge region and Salida of south central Colorado, Arkansas River Tours conduct a variety of river adventures. They offer customizable half-day, full-day and multi-day whitewater rafting tours for those who like the thrill of the rapids. Rafts drift upon Class IV waters flowing amid three major canyon areas and the Royal Gorge. Multi-day packages can include meals and lodging at Bighorn Canyon, the Gorge, or Brown’s Canyon, or camping itineraries. Arkansas River Tours offers options to accommodate all rafting abilities from timid beginners to fearless veterans. They also offer guided float-fishing tours for anyone who wishes to take life at a slower pace.

Lewis and Clark Trail Adventures

The Missouri River is famous for its historical significance to the Lewis and Clark expedition and its status as the longest river in the US. A Night at the Museum film might jog your memory here. Lewis and Clark Trail Adventures offers scenic river tours that retrace the Louis and Clark Expedition through the White Cliffs river area of Montana and Idaho. The Missouri River canoeing tour spans 47 miles of river, paddled and camped during a three-day excursion that includes camping and canoe equipment, as well as in-depth tour narration for visitors to learn about the river's natural history, its Native American history, its role in the famous Lewis and Clark expedition and its significance to western expansion before the emergence of the railroad. And you thought this was going to be boring! According to Lewis and Clark Trail Adventures, this river tour is "not for the faint-hearted." Custom tours can also be arranged for groups of 10 or more for six-day trips.

Bus Tours in The Rock Mountains

Free Shuttle Buses
It's surprisingly nice to learn that the Rocky Mountain National Park offers a free shuttle bus system that running on three routes through the park. The system runs during the greater summer season from Memorial Day through early October. Service begins as weekend-only, but runs daily starting in mid-June. The Bear Lake and Moraine Park shuttles connect hiking trails and points in the park along Bear Lake Road. The Hiker Shuttle connects the gateway town of Estes Park with RMNP. While these shuttle routes aren't designed specifically as scenic bus tours, they provide visitors the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the scenery -- and they're the best bit ia that they are completely free. Shuttle buses run in the Bear Lake corridor, between many trailheads, the Park & Ride across from Glacier Basin Campground on the Bear Lake Road, Moraine Park and Glacier Basin Campgrounds, and the Moraine Park Museum. There are two routes: the Bear Lake Route and the Moraine Park Route.

Trail Ridge Road Tour

For those that want a more purposeful tour, the National Park Service runs the Trail Ridge Road Tour during select days throughout the summer. The five-hour tour includes stops at popular points along the road such as Rainbow Curve and Forest Canyon Overlook, along with an hour-long lunch at Alpine Visitor Center. Patrons are given time for sightseeing and photography, and there is park staff on board to provide historical and geological information on the area. The tour departs Beaver Meadows Visitor Center at 10 a.m. and returns at 3 p.m. The cost for adults(in 2011) is $27. Youths 16 and under $13. Children not occupying a seat are free. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Centre Book Store or you can call: 970-577-7477.

Commercial Tours

Commercial tour operators such as Estes Park Transportation provide scenic and informational tours of Rocky Mountain National Park. The service's tour includes historic sites in the Estes Valley and an intimate look at Rocky Mountain National Park that stops at such sites as the former Hidden Valley Ski Area, Moraine Park and Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. The tour begins and ends in Estes Park and is led by a knowledgeable team that includes former park rangers and historians. The company also offers a Trail Ridge Road scenic tour during the summer and elk watching in the autumn.

So there you have it folks. It seems that the Rockies has something to offer to anyone and everyone, even Boris Johnson!

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