The Journey to Banff

Trip Start Nov 08, 2012
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10
Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
SameSun Backpacker Lodges - Kelowna
Read my review - 5/5 stars
What I did
Emerald Lake British Columbia
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Yoho National Park Field
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Sunday, November 11, 2012

Attached are some pictures of some of the amazing places we saw between Vancouver and Banff.

We travelled over 2 days with a company called Moose Travel in a kind of large van and set off early Saturday morning. We had a lovely driver called Colin who picked us up from the hostel (so no more stressful episodes with hauling the baggage around!) There were 10 of us on the bus altogether and although it was a bit awkward at first we all introduced ourselves and everyone was really lovely! We had such a mixed bag of people on the bus too including Colin (23 yr old Canadian who had done lots of travelling), Emma and Scott (couple in their 20s from Oz and Christmas Island who are travelling for 3 yrs), Anna (lady from Tasmania who is a real hoot), Dani (Mexican guy living in texas), a retired lady from Hong Kong and a Mexican couple in their honeymoon.

We were sad to leave Vancouver after our wonderful day there but have said we will try and spend some more time there at the end of the season. The first place we stopped was Bridal Veil Falls which was a really pretty waterfall a short walk from the van and we could already feel the air getting a lot chillier!

We also stopped at a place called Hope where there were loads of amazing wooden carvings around from previous chainsawing competitions! Apparently not a lot goes on there apart from that... although the town's claim to fame is that one of the Rambo films was shot there.

After lunch there was a long drive (about 3 1/2 hours) to Kelowna where we were to spend the night. It was 0 degrees there and although there was little snow we had seen loads whilst driving over a mountain to get there. The van windows on the way had even frozen inside! Kelowna was really pretty and it is apparently really popular in the summer for waterskiing, swimming, cave diving and loads of other water sports as there is a big lake. We spent the evening exploring and had a beer with Anna who was travelling with us before heading back to the hostel for a free salmon dinner and an early night!!

It was an early start again the next day and as we headed into the Rocky Mountains it started to feel very cold!! We were prepared with thermals and big jackets though as we had been told to prepare for -18 degrees Celsius in Banff by the end of the day! As soon as we hit the first big snowy spot, Colin stopped the van so we could all have a play! The snow was so light and powdery and about 2 feet deep at some places.

The scenery along the way was breathtaking with snowy mountains soon coming into view and frozen waterfalls all along the way. We also saw various lakes that had started to freeze over and stopped at the famous Emerald Lake that is apparently a stunning blue/green colour in the summer due to rock dust that is brought down through the mountains by the water coming off of the glaciers. We also stopped at a natural bridge where water that had once flowed over a rock edge in a waterfall had now borrowed through the rock; leaving a natural bridge.

We arrived in Banff at around 6.30 and it looked like a real wintery town with some fallen snow around and lit up wooden buildings. We were dropped at our house, met 2 of our housemates (2 Aussie guys) and started to set up our room to try and make it feel like home! To finish the evening we went out into town (wrapped up very warm) to meet some of the guys that we travelled up with and quickly discovered that Sunday night is party night in Banff!! We had some drinks in a very busy pub and were served by a guy from Bristol before going to a very lively club next door! We had a few (?) drinks hoping that a late night and slight intoxication might help us out with the fact we hadn't been sleeping right....

We woke up the next morning, feeling a bit groggy but we had at least slept more soundly than the previous nights, before heading out to grab some breakfast. We then continued (quite slowly due to our groggy heads) to explore the town that we would be calling home for the next 7months!

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