Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Campervan: Day 8 - Invermere - Banff

Disappointingly I woke up with all the water still in my ear and decided it might be worth going to a pharmacy to see if they could help. However it was only 7:30 in the morning so we headed downtown to a little bakery next door to the pharmacy and sat eating breakfast and charging all of our devices. I just stared at the clock waiting for 9am and as soon as the clock struck I ran next door. The pharmacy counter was in a a strange discount gift shop with cheap tacky balloons and haircare sets but better than nothing.
Olive Lake

The actual pharmacist just wanted to give me decongestant but the hypochondriac that I am decided I should get antibiotic ear drops as well in case I had an infection. When we got back on the road we headed towards Banff which was to be our base for the rest of my time on the campervan. We drove through the Kootenay National Park which is a small National Park made up of a valley and so was in the shade so many trails were closed due to snow.  However the mountains were still pretty spectacular to just drive past.

Cobb Lake
We did do a few trails though but they were very short. Olive lake being the first which was a very short boardwalk along the corner of a, well olive, lake next to the highway. We also did Marble Canyon which was made up of winding bridges over a gorge and we could see that the trails were getting more geriatric-tourist friendly with fences and railings everywhere. We wanted to go further to the paint pots trail (pools with natural chemicals that the natives used to dye their paints) but again snow stopped that from happening. Our last trail in the Kootenays was the Cobb Lake trail which was a steep drop through some forest before emerging at the lake.

The drive to Banff didn't take nearly as long as expected and so it was time to bid Ryan farewell for a few days. As soon as you drove into Banff you were propelled into a tourist honeypot which was quite scary considering the derelict conditions of the past few days! All the buildings in the town were trying to look authentic and rustic but were failing terribly and all the shops on the main street were either souvenir shops or high-end designer brands. There was an eclectic mix of people in Banff: from old couples in floppy-hats, mobs of Asian tourists and stoner hippy kids in search of freedom in the mountains. But when we walked out of the van unwashed and straight from the wilderness we felt very out of place - Banff was too squeaky clean for us.

We walked around the street and went to Bow Falls which we didn't find greatly spectacular to us but 'Surprise Corner' did prove to have some fantastic views - alas hogged by the Banff Fairmont Hotel. We decided to try and fit in with the tourists by taking some 'fabulous' pictures of the scenery and taking the map out whenever the opportunity arose. Back in town we gathered some supplies before attempting to find our campsite for the evening. In National Parks we were advised to stick to official campsites but being lowlife students we were put off by the $38 daily fee. We headed back down to Central Park and parked up to scout out a site. In the end we decided to say where we were as we parked up next to another campervan - home to George; an Argentinian man who was enjoying the 'excellent wifi' from the library and had decided to stay the night.  We had our revamped Kraft Dinner before we all got on our phones to enjoy the wifi for ourselves -  but in a different way to George of course.

Marble Canyon


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