Adjusted Adventure in an Accord!
Camp Tunnel Mountain was the site in Banff we selected to keep down the trip costs. As with any travel, we value experiences over an expensive hotel room that we spend hardly any time in except to sleep and take a quick shower. The tent camping was terrific, though a bit noisy with 618 sites and packed with lots of people, dogs and families. It is vacation season in Western Canada.
A good rest overnight gave way to two early wake-up calls around 5:30 am (already relatively light). The first wake-up call was the squawking of two ravens that we swore were right outside our tent. The second wake-up call was a few minutes later with wild screaming kids in the site behind us. Luckily, everything and everyone settled down, and we were lucky to complete the sleep cycle.
Once Linda figured out the Jet-Boil, we made two steaming hot cups of tea and broke camp. We packed quickly to get on the trails around Banff. While on our two hikes - morning and afternoon - we met some interesting characters. It all led to an exciting day. One Canadian guy was down on US politics. He made a snide comment about our car loaded down with our gear, then realized we were from the US and went on a rant. When we mentioned our long trip, he continued for several minutes about our government. We politely ignored him and never said a word. We continued to remove our hiking boots, ignoring him until he and his lady friend (a Ukrainian living in Costa Rica) got into their car and drove away. Whew!
Lunch in downtown Banff at the 3 Bears Brewery was a great treat after the morning hike. We walked around the entire town (another hike minus the boots and elevation), enjoying the sights and shops surrounded by majestic mountains on three sides!
On our afternoon hike, we met a lovely couple from California. They gave us a tip of a group of elks with babies about 500 yards away. Photos below! Another recommendation was to take a day, head to Lake Louise (already on the day-to-day itinerary), and take a trek to Jasper (ice floes and glaciers). We plan to do both in the next couple of days. That group of elks, with babies, were a sight to behold. Once we walked past them and then back on the return trip, one elk was on the path we needed to pass through. Two young ladies we saw earlier and hiking with a big female Great Dane, and now, please queue the Dionne Warwick song, “Walked on By.” When I tried, and Linda at a safe distance behind me, the elk uttered a hiss toward me. We quickly gave ample clearance to pass Ms. Elk with no further incident.
Throughout our adjusted trip and winging on where to stay on a day’s notice, we are currently bunked in (literally) at the High Castle Mountain Wilderness Hostel. While writing this post, I saw a reindeer go through the large windows surrounding the great room. It’s the only place we can gas up our phones and other electronics (like the computer I’m typing on). Maybe we will see a bear or two!
PS - The WIFI/Internet situation is tricky here in Canada. I am doing my best to post each day - some days jumping through hoops to get out a post. Today I am lucky to do so! However, in the next couple of days, I may not be able to post for various reasons, namely, camping in remote areas.