From there we headed to Banff National Park, crossed the Continental Divide into British Columbia, and drove through Kootenay National Park until we reached the turn off for the Paint Pots. The weather had cleared up by the time we arrived.
The Paint Pots are three cold mineral springs around which iron oxide has accumulated. There are ochre beds surrounding the springs. Various Indian tribes used to collect the ochre for use in decorating their tipis, clothing and bodies. They still regard the site as sacred. Later, white settlers used ochre for manufacturing paint.
Next stop was Johnston Canyon. We hiked approximately two miles to the upper falls. Apart from the beauty of the many falls, the stone walls, moss and trees present a different face almost anywhere you look. There was a fairly well-known painter (the name escapes me) who spent much of his career working in this canyon, and I can well understand why. He would never run out of subject matter.
Lower falls in Johnston Canyon
On the way out of the park, we spotted an elk with a huge rack of antlers. It wasn't more than 10 feet from the car, and I was able to get a quick photo. We also saw mountain goats a few miles further along.
We stopped at Canmore again and had burgers and mugs of ice-cold root beer at A&W. I took the Old Banff Coach Road the rest of the way back, rather than the Trans-Canada Highway. The old road is a narrow two-laned road without shoulders, and with lots of curves. It makes for a much more pleasant drive. We stopped at Mackay's in Cochrane for some excellent homemade ice cream. We were back in Calgary by about 6:30 pm. I dropped our friends off, gassed up the car ($54 -- ouch!) and returned it to the rental place.