Bow River & Frozen Rapids

The Bow River begins in the Rocky Mountains flowing through hills, prairies, and eventually running through Calgary, a city in the Canadian Province of Alberta. The river is an important source of water, providing drinking and irrigation. It’s water source is from the Bow Glacier.

The river and it’s tributaries have been used to provide hydroelectric power mostly for Calgary. This altered ecosystems and the river’s flow.

That’s me, all bundled up snacking on turkey jerky. Vic makes Canadians proud, he’s doesn’t bundle up like me. He says he has lot of practice because I steal all the blankets. We have 2 queen comforters to fix that but I still end up with all the blankets.

We had a free day in Banff and decided to walk along the Bow River like front desk suggested. It’s a nice walk in winter or in greener months.

It was very peaceful walking along the water and very bright. I bought a new pair of sunglasses that were fogging up from my breath. Vic was happy not wearing any but I personally found the glare from ice and snow too bright.

We originally thought there was a frozen waterfall but in fact, they were frozen rapids.

When we approached the stairs my exploration ended. I have bad knees and the stairs were full of ice. The trail seemed maintained periodically and trampled on. The stairs were thick with ice. I made it to the top but my knees couldn’t hold up (when you slip, legs twist is funny directions), I also had a lot more trip left. I had snow boots on but that didn’t prevent the slipping. When we went snow shoeing I stepped funny and my left lower leg was already off. I had to cling to the banister of the stairs to walk (more like slip) my way back down. This trip taught me that walking on snow and ice is way harder on the body than hiking in the woods during non winter months. When I got home, my usual 3 weeks of swollen knees from woodsy green trips was 5 weeks of healing from snow and ice. I was doubtful I was going to be able to walk the icy stairs and should have went with how I felt. I’m grateful the banister was able to support my weight, don’t want to think about how I would have gotten down without it or if it didn’t hold my weight. So the lesson is: If you have a trouble spot on your body, go the safest route and maybe don’t do it. Sometimes it’s ok to just not do things.

Vic explored past the stairs and he said it was icy and there was this pretty hotel. That pretty hotel is Fairmont Banff Springs.

Farimont Banff

If you have the time, don’t forget to explore the river area, it’s a quick walk from downtown. If you are walking around in winter, it can get slippery in places but you won’t think of it because the natives look like they glide on ice and snow. We saw locals crossing the frozen river. There were places that weren’t iced over so we wouldn’t chance it. If there was a sign that said the river was safe for crossing we would have tried.


8 thoughts on “Bow River & Frozen Rapids

  1. Beautiful photos! But no, I don’t think I’d cross the river either, even if it looked frozen solid. Unlike a lake, a river has a current that could suck you in pretty fast if you do fall through the ice.

    And yes, I hear you on trying to walk on ice and snow, especially on stairs or any incline. People in Minnesota used to say to me, “Oh, you’ll get used to it. You’ll figure it out.” A cracked tailbone, one fractured ankle and two twisted knees later, I say “Nope!” Walking on icy surfaces is its own special hell. Though I will admit, chancing it to see a pristine winter landscape might be worth it. 🙂

    1. Totally get it now!

      We finally got our lazy butts up to Rockefeller Preserve the other day. It takes 2 trains and a walk through Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to get there, about 3 hours until we finally hit the preserve. We almost didn’t go. The leaves are starting to change. We’re going to force ourselves to go again next week. We like it up there but the commute turns us off. This time we got a seat on the train home 🙂 last time we had to stand.

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