Alberta Rockies and Banff Lakes
Winding our way northward, we finally entered the Alberta Canadian Rockies where we rode in the shadow of colossal snow-capped peaks and stopped at the shores of blue-green glacial lakes. What may have eclipsed all of these glorious vistas (perhaps just for Julie) was a cheeky, corpulent chipmunk.
Mountain View (A) to Golden (B) by way of Kanaaskis and Banff
Day 4: Into the North
We left as early as we were capable (which was never as early as we thought we were capable) and headed north. We had heard various rumors passed down through the family and church about Frank Slide, which was just a little ways out of the way, just outside of Crowsnest Pass.
Frank Slide was the deadliest landslide in Canada. 70-90 people were killed when over 90 million tons of limestone rock slid down Turtle Mountain within 100 seconds, obliterating the eastern edge of the town of Frank.
We took the advice of a friendly park ranger and ate at the Tin Roof Bistro in Blairmore down the road (Update 2020: this restaurant is no longer open, but the owners are operating the Paprika House in Calgary). It was the best food we ate the entire trip. It was my first time eating Hungarian food and it blew all of us away.
We continued north along some very pretty country to Longview, where we turned West toward the Kananaskis Mountains.
The Kananaskis Mountains were gorgeous and cold. We felt the temperature drop as we rode higher and higher. As we felt the road slope downward again and the temperature start to rise, we felt relieved. It was getting darker and we needed a place to camp.
Thankfully we found a place to stay at the Bow River Campgrounds. It was nice and secluded. After we set up camp, we took the advice and headed “15 minutes” down the road to a place to eat. It turned out to be 50 minutes, and when you have a couple of hangry individuals like my dad and me, 50 minutes is a long time to wait for dinner.
Day 5: Glacial Lakes
We had a good sleep and woke up ready to visit as many beautiful Banff lakes as we could. After packing up our things and having a quick breakfast we hit the road. We entered Banff National Park and went first to Lake Minnewanka.
Moraine Lake and Lake Louise
We didn’t spend much time at Lake Minnewanka, and instead headed to Moraine Lake. This was the lake which picture I saw that planted the seed for this trip many years ago. Seeing it in person, I was not disappointed.
While we ate lunch on the shore, we were visited by a couple friends. First, a fat chipmunk brazenly demanded that we feed him, and of course Julie obliged. Later, we had several Clark’s Nutcrackers come by begging for food. Again, we obliged.
After we left Moraine Lake we made the short trip to Lake Louise. It was much larger, and also very beautiful. It was getting late, however, so we cut our time there short and started for Golden where we were planning on spending the night. Traffic kept us even later, but the beautiful clouds and mountains kept us entertained while we waited.
We rode to Golden. As you can see in the video, it wasn’t very eventful. Of course, it was beautiful.
When we finally made it to Golden, we tried to find a suitable campground. We tried one - it was overpriced and very disappointing. We kept looking, and I was glad we did. We got a beautiful spot next to the Columbia River.
We were starving and started making tinfoil dinners. We bought some firewood and had a hard time lighting it. It was damp and just smoked. So Julie and I went on a hunt for charcoal. We hit 3 stores before we finally found one that carried it. We also bought a bag of Ketchup-flavored potato chips to try out (a Canadian favorite).
We made it back to camp where it was dark and finally prepared and ate dinner. It was delicious. There’s nothing quite like a good tinfoil dinner when you’re camping.
We had no loud neighbors and the sound of the passing trains (which didn’t honk, thank goodness) lulled us to sleep.
That chipmunk was the cutest though I'm afraid that only led him to be instinctually ruined by many an indulgent tourist. Whoops...