Across the continental divide from Banff National Park is Kootenay National Park in British
Columbia. One of the more interesting spots there are the paint pots. The paint pots are a
series of three springs which are so iron-rich that the water and the surrounding rocks and
dirt are tinged a reddish-brown color.
This is one of the three springs which are located quite close to one another - about a
kilometer or so from the trail head. The indians who lived in Alberta would travel to this
site, make cakes out of the mud and then return with them to be used as a pigment for body
painting. Melanie attempted to emulate this by painting her toes red, though it only lasted
for a couple of days.
The stream leads down from the paint pots and empties into the Kootenay River not far
downstream from this picture. The reddish cast is immediately lost in the glacier-fed
Following the Kootenay upstream from the paint pots, there is an even more impressive sight
at Marble Canyon just below the continental divide. There the river drops into a deep yet
exceedingly narrow canyon, at times so narrow that one could step across the top of it.
(If one was particularly intrepid.) This is the bottom of the canyon where the river
emerges into the sunlight again. The extremely cold water generates a healthy cold wind
during its time in the canyon which one is forced to walk through while crossing the river. In the summer, it can actually be quite pleasant.
It is very difficult to see much of the canyon at once because it so deep, contorted and
narrow. When we visited in 1997 we were very impressed, but slightly disappointed when we
got the pictures back and they failed to convey the magnitude of the canyon properly. This
time I tried to rectify that by compositing three pictures together to show the entire
first drop into Marble Canyon. The bright sunlight caused some color issues at different
angles but the scale is at least apparent. Any place where you cannot see the water in this
picture it is falling through vertical rock tunnels that have been carved over time.
Speaking of the 1997 trip, we took this very picture (although at the time we had just
returned from a strenuous climb of Castle Mountain and were not feeling very photogenic).
Now here we are again to prove that even though David flowed into the Atlantic and Melanie
into the Pacific last time around, we still managed to make it back.
We spent the last evening in Calgary so here is our homage to that fine city, where you can
get excellent Moroccan food, good beer, and a competitive game of trivia at any of several
neighborhood bars. Well, the beer and the trivia at least. The Moroccan food is slightly
more limited in scope, but still available.