Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Best of the Rockies Trek: Banff

From there we drove on to Banff and went straight to the campsite as the VC was already closed.

It was quite good that we got there earlyish! We were cooking and had potatoes planned and they take forever! Well we kept everyone happy with my Schichtsalat for starters. And at about 9.30pm we served Mash with spinach and meatballs! Everyone seemed quite grateful not to have rice or noodles for a change!
We tried to get a campfire going after dinner, but after using loads of lighter fluid, we gave in and called it a night.

Hiking day today, but first we went into Banff to the VC and a wander around town. I thought I might find an internet café, but I didn't. Oh well, not a problem.

Rainbow at Banff

This is a picture taken in Banff, I am quite proud of this, and would at this point like to say that all pictures (except those of me) were taken by me and should you wish to use them for anything, please ask me nicely first. Thanks!

As the clouds were pretty low, we went to Johnston Canyon for a short morning hike. During which the weather cheered up quite a bit and we were able to do another hike in the afternoon.

Borgeau Lake

But little did we know, how strenuous it was going to be. The hike guide Jennifer has (Trek America) said it was not for the weak, and how true that is! The trail to Borgeau Lake went up, up, up, up and up some more and up some switchbacks and up and up and up! For 7.4km!!! I hiked with Gillian, Audrey, Linda and Mike. We were pretty determined we were going to get there and kept thinking it was around the next bend, but the promised lake and meadows seemed not to be in existence. Well we kept on going, but in the end Audrey gave up! And went back down, taking Gillian with her. Oh well the rest of us plodded along. The last bit of the climb was probably the hardest bit, and a couple coming down told us that we had nearly done the hard part, then comes the muddy bit, then at last the lake. Well the muddy bit, turned out to be a swamp. But most of us made it through with dry feet. Except Linda, who sees a puddle and steps in it. The lake was beautiful and well worth the effort, luckily! We got our breath back and after 20mins headed back down! Just as bad as up only quicker. Once back down it was worth having gone, but I was knackered!

We headed back to the campsite for some food. Sally's group made Sloppy Joes, which are Hamburger buns with runny flavoured mince on them. Very nice I must say. After that Geert got a good campfire going, and we had s'mores (marshmellows grilled between chocolate and crackers) Mmmmh!

I think we got to bed at about midnight, but not before lugging all the stuff back down the hill to hide it from any bears! First stop today was Lake Louise. A beautiful turquoise lake with an ugly hotel on the side of it (the Canadians call it a Chateau!) Well, even though my legs were still shattered from the Borgeau Lake hike, I didn't want to miss out. So it was another hike uphill as usual, to Lake Agnes, where there is a little tea house. The thought of something chocolatey at the top kept me going. That and Mike.

It was beautiful when we got there, we are now quite spoilt with beautiful scenery, it's everywhere we go. Anyway back to Lake Agnes, I had a chocolate chip cookie and a hot chocolate. Yummy! After we'd all (Sally, Jenny, Mike, Geert, Christian and I) eaten up, we marched back down. Where we met the others and had lunch by Lake Louise.

us on the brochure benchAfter we drove on to Lake Moraine, there Jenny showed us the bench, which is in the brochure (Mountie). We found another willing tourist for 14 photos! Then we headed back to Banff looking for nesting bald eagles on our way! I think some Dutch guy was pulling Frank's leg! Oh well, it was worth a try.

Then it was on to the hot springs for a soak! We all rented historic bathing suits, and made quite a spectacle of ourselves. We all went to the pool together so there was a long line of girls in blue matching swimwear. Then along came the guys in the same suit! Hilarious! We brought the whole pool to a standstill! And one poor guy got 14 cameras for pictures of us in our cossies (swimming costumes)!

We must have looked great in the pool, as loads of people passing stopped for pictures. One man was even convinced to try it himself. We were good for business I'd say!

After relaxing in the pool it was grocery shopping time. Bad time to choose Friday night, but we got out of there eventually. Dinner tonight was 4 cheese pasta followed by Kaiserschmarrn! I only had the Pasta. Then after everything had been cleared up it was Party time. Meaning we caught the bus to " downtown " Banff and joined 3 other Trek groups at the " Rose & Crown ", I think the other journal sums the evening up better than I would be able to, so I will leave it at that and just say it was a great night out.

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