Yeah, there's no getting anything past you, I can see that now
For the enjoyable part, (This is my stroke, I get that yours is different), we LOVE hiking, and part of going on trips is getting to the trailheads early so we can spend time and really enjoy the full day. My daughters are still VERY fit and my new son-in-law is learning now about camping and hiking. He's athletic as well, so he does well in staying up with us on the hikes. It's an extra-special treat if our girls can come with us now, but it's a treat for just the ones of us still at home.
You can get good views from the turn-outs along the side of the road. I won't argue that. BUT ... the best views just cannot be had from there. To get to the best views, you have to spend some energy. It's best to start early in the morning while it's still chilly and get the ascent into some altitude as early as possible. We're not talking no little Texas molehills here, we're talking mountains, you understand
You get up the mountains, walk in the mist of the waterfalls as you go up the side of that mountain to get to the top edge of the waterfall, then start up the side of the next waterfall, snapping pictures as you go (which will never capture the reality of what you're experiencing), hike on up to a place where you have to climb cables to get to the top of a granite summit where you can see the valle, rivers, and waterfalls from a vantage point like noplace else in the park. There are no roads up here.
You start back down and take a different path. Along the way, you hit an opening on the side of the mountains and look across that valley at the 3000 feet high sheer granite face on the other side of the valley, and North America's tallest waterfall tumbling from the top to the valley floor. Now there are easier places to get to where you can get a good view of it, but nothing like this view. You take pictures because you're so overwhelmed by it, but when you look at those pictures on the computer, you're SO DISAPPOINTED because pictures can't even come close to capturing the magnitude, majesty, and spendor of what you've seen. People "ooh" and "aah" at you're picture, but you're so disappointed because you've seen the real thing, and you know the picture doesn't compare!
The best thing about the view is that you got to admire it with the people you love ... it's a memory you'll always have together.
You also get pictures of lesser waterfalls from vantage points that only the ambitious know exist ... but the same thing as before, the pictures just can't capture it. What you did, though, was share a memory of that uncapturable beauty with the people you love.
And you wan't to spend the time on this ... that's why you camp close so you can get the early start.
And there are trees that are 36' in diameter at the base ... the entire family (minus the one taking the picture) gets in the picture at the base of such trees and they look mouse-sized when you compare them to that magnificent evergreen behind them. Then you realize that tree was a large tree when Jesus walked on earth. And you get to spend the day in this environment without worrying about a long drive cutting your enjoyment and wonder short.
In places like Mt. Baker, WA, we've hiked in August where we had a snowball fight (in August) while wearing short sleeves. We saw the reflection of Mt Baker in the glass-like surface of the melted portions of Mirror Lake and took pictures that looked like they belonged on a postcard, but still didn't capture the splendor. We hiked where we needed showshoes across avalanches to get to the glaciers and saw the aqua-velva blue of that river of ice, and wondered why that color absolutely WILL NOT SHOW UP on a picture. It looks white in a picture, but that's not the color when you are there. Before that hike, we woke up in the woods, walked behind our tent to the river that was, itself, colored by glacier silt. With it blue-colored from the glacier silt, you can imagine how wide-awake we were after spashing our faces and heads with that water
. At the end of the day, we came back from all that walking and put our feet in that water. Understand, this is not cold as in texas spring water, this is cold as in "
THAT STUFF WAS ICE JUST A MILE UPSTREAM."
Now California and Washington only have black bears. They're neat to see and get pictures of ... when we went to Wyoming to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, we got one of these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that we did manage to capture in pictures in a way that you can get some idea of the thrill:
We got a good 5 - 10 minutes of him/her (you know, we didn't bother to check out whether it was a him or a her.) In case you can't tell, that ain't no black bear! Those humped shoulders tell us that's a grizzly just in case the size didn't. You can imagine the magnitude of that thrill! (In honesty, there is a nice lodge in Grand Teton NP where you can be close to nature and still in a hotel-like setting. It's #2 in my "top 10 rooms with a view" since I had to work in that park for 1 week. Not everyplace worth visiting has such facilities, though.)
Ah ... man ... I just remembered that we don't have our trip to Banff fully planned yet - I don't have reservations made.
You sit on your lawn furniture, and I'll tell you how it was ...