Well i finally left the grip of banff ...
Trip Start Aug 08, 2002
64Trip End Feb 01, 2004
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Before I left though the weather appears to have been on the change, it rained most of the day Sunday, so I had another lazy day. Definitely looks like autumn is on the way.
Monday I decided to go see the Cascase Amphitheatre, which is a valley with three steps sides created by a glacier, hence it looks like an amphitheatre, and is in the Cascade mountain. Inventive naming. Anyway, so first I had to walk about 5-6 K up the road out of Banff just to get to the carpark where the walk starts (oh for a car). Then is was a fairly good old slog up the mountain in somewhat incliment weather
On the way through the carpark to the walk I noticed a big wildlife information sign. It suggested you stay at least 10 bus lengths - it then said that a bus length is about 10 metres - away from Bears, Cougars and Wolves, and at least 30 from Moose. Now, I'm walking through a forest, I can bearly see 10 yards down the path ahead of me, let alone into the trees. I was looking for the bit that said "If you encounter these animals at a closer range, so this." All I found was a bit that said: "Make yourself look big; don't startle them; don't hunch down or play dead." And other helpful tips. This left me thinking 1, if I see a bear, I'm going to be more startled the he/she is I guarantee it and 2, what the hell is making myself look big going to do to deter a grizzly. This is a bear that grows to 8 or 9 feet, has paws the size of my head and claws and teeth that can rip me to shreds. I don't think me standing in tiptoes and puffing out my chest is going to bother him too much!
Tuesday, another day where it didn't stop raining, I caught a bus to Lake Louise. The public transport here bothers me somewhat
Anyway, Lake Louise (I think I read somewhere is the highest town in Canada at 5500 ft) is basically a service station on the road to Vancouver (Highway 1, longest road in the world). The only thing of note, is the lake and surrounding hills. And boy is the lake worth it. I headed up there yesterday.
Now, I had to walk 4 K up to the lake (lacking a car again) but it wasn't too bad as there's a path, rather than taking the road. Great. That is until I visited the visitor information centre on Tuesday. There were plenty of bear warnings. Apart from being berry season, the grizzlies and blacks roam through here in search of food sources. Now at lake Moraine (about 8-10 K away) you're only allowed to walk in groups of 6 or more. So, encountering the severe warning notices (they won't allow people to sleep in tents in the campgrounds near here) at the start of the path, I was somewhat worried
Reaching the lake was good, it's beautful alpine lake fed by several glaciers which give it a unique colour (it was orginally called Emerald Lake, but some royal princess, got it named after her instead). The colour comes from the crushed dust that the glacier scrapes from the rocks above it. Weather was still a touch iffy. I walked around the lake, and then started up towards the Plain of the Six Glaciers. On the way I met a guy called Andy, from Chicago, who was on a weeks get-to-know with some of the other new starters at his college. I had a photography assignment in a group my first week of uni, they get to do an adventure week. He's so far been caving and white-water rafting, the following day he was off horse riding.
Eventually we hit 6800 ft and the tea house, now I was intrigued when I saw this on the map. It is a fully functioning tea house, they have the supplies shipped in at the start of the season by helicopter, then brought up when needed by pack horse. The cook on Propane and have an underground spring for water, but no electrcity
Anyway, I'm off to Jasper today, but the Hostel can only fit me in tonight, so I'll have to find somewhere else to stay tomorrow (the hostel in Jasper only has 84 beds, the one in Lake Louise has 150, Banff has 216).
Thanks to everyone for the emails by the way, I do read them, even if I don't reply.