Alberta

Entering Canada it turned rainy and very windy for the drive up to Calgary. For a change of pace I decided to stay a couple of days in Calgary at an Airbnb place. I found a room in a townhouse on the NE side for $45US per night. My host Brandi is a flight attendant/musician; she was attending flights when I arrived and let myself in with a combination, then later that evening she came home, changed, clothes, and was off to the Calgary FolkFest. It was very nice, I had the run of the townhouse for the weekend.

First night I relaxed in the incredibly comfortable bed and enjoyed fast internet for the first time in awhile. Next day it was off to Tim Horton’s for a late breakfast, hit the ATM for some Canadian currency (when did it change to plastic money?) got some of the dirt off the Land Cruiser at a car wash and took a little tour of Calgary. Back to the townhouse and did some laundry while watching a movie. Had an excellent margherita pizza at 4th Spot Kitchen and Bar then made some reservations for the National Parks camping. I’ve found that in the middle of summer you can’t just show up at a National Park and expect to find a campsite available.

Off to Banff NP, only about a 90 minute drive from Calgary but it’s pretty  busy for a Sunday afternoon. Long lines to pay the park entrance fee then more lines to check in to the campground.

Went to the town of Banff and walked around, nice but crowded.

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On a scenic drive through nearby lakes

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Next day on the Ice Field Parkway to Jasper NP. Stopped at Lake Louise

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All of the people lined up at the Lake Louse picture spot

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The parkway is very scenic, it’s like this for the whole 3.5 hour drive.

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Further along the parkway, a short but steep hike leads to the toe of the Athabasca Glacier

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Visited the town of Jasper, much smaller and not as touristy as Banff.  As I was sitting at the campsite reading after dinner, two caribou came walking through the camp right past me. This one stopped for a few seconds and watched me before continuing through.

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Leaving Jasper I decided to stop at Miette Hotsprings. It’s a 23km detour up a very twisty mountain road but I have always wanted to soak in a hot spring. When I get there it turns out that you don’t jump into the actual hot spring, there are some swimming pools that are fed by the hot springs. There’s a large shallow one and a smaller deep one. Today’s water temp is 104F. They also have two small deep pools filled with ice cold water behind the hot spring pools, so you can go back and forth between steaming hot and icy cold. It was pretty relaxing.

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