The destination of our first mini trip: Banff national park. The sort of place where the campsites are all reserved the same day the parks service release the reservations. No one wants to miss the shimmering blue colours of Lake Louise, and neither did we! We may have picked the wrong time to go for that…
We arrived at Lake Louise and having realised there were no such things as free campsites here we pondered on what to do. We visited the state campground, but it was steep (at $30 a night) and was a glorified car park where the snow hadn’t even cleared! So we ventured to the overflow campground, which was literally a car park. At least this was free though, and we met a fellow Londoner with a similar van! It would do for the night. We also made the occasional trip back to the main campsite to fill up on water and use their shower. The advantage of low season was that no one was manning the campsite so these were both free perks!
We also quickly realised there’s a reason its low season. EVERY lake we visited was frozen over. Don’t get us wrong, they were still beautiful but not what we’d come to expect from our previous googling. We decided to purchase some ice cleats (pretty cool!) and hike around the Lake Louise. It was pretty much a snowstorm the day we decided to hike but still great fun and almost prettier in the tree line. We did return later on a sunny day just for a cheeky photo.
After a couple of nights at Lake Louise we headed to the small ski town of Banff. As before, we would have liked to have skied but at $100 a day just for a lift pass each, it was out of our budget. The town of Banff was a cute little place, local coffee shops and gift stores littered the town centre with wonderful walking trails. The views were spectacular, and we also headed to Lake Minnewanka and spotted some BigHorn sheep on our drive around. There’s a flooded town under the lake which you can dive under in Summer, but alas it wasn’t the time of year for it.
After Banff we were ready for the cold nights, and waking up with the solar panels covered in snow, so we aimed for Jasper. We pointed north and drove up the Icefields Parkway, littered with lakes to visit. Unfortunately, about halfway up we realised the snow clearers weren’t coping with the road oncoming snow, so had to turn (read, slide & skid) around and head back down south. Jasper will be for another time!
After Banff we decided to check out Calgary for a couple of days, and found a cute little board game cafe very reminiscent of rural England where we spent quite a few hours competing, and ended up buying one of the games there to pass time on the road!
Next it was time to head back to Vancouver, but it’s never that simple… we ended up getting stuck in avalanche control. Luckily for us we weren’t in a rush, as the man at the front said it might be another 4 hours or so. They eventually cleared a path for us through, and we ended up waiting a total of 3 hours. It was a brilliant sight to see, they had performed controlled explosions of the mountain side and were clearing the road hence the delay. Whilst there we also met Jeff & Tami, a lovely couple from Calgary heading to their holiday home in Christina Lake.
We weren’t planning to stay there… but after chatting for a while they invited us into their home so we parked on their driveway and spent a couple of days there. It was a lovely happy coincidence, as it was a wonderful place to stay! We learnt about the local man who had lived with bears, cycled along the kettle valley rail trail and shared many a beer with our new friends & hosts. Jeff is hoping to start a brewing company and we think he’ll do just fine based on the beers we tried! So thanks to you both 🙂
After that we headed back to Vancouver, to install some seatbelts for our up and coming visitor… but that’s for next time.
Speak soon! x