Saturday June 3, 2017
I awoke once again feeling refreshed after a great night of sleeping in the great outdoors. My camp was in such an idyllic location, it was honestly tough to get going.
A text from theshnizzle solved that though.
It seems she had made her way all the way to Kaslo, BC yesterday and found a gorgeous little campground of her own, and was thinking of heading back in my direction today.
My very loose plan was to head up towards Jasper, and that was as far as my planning had got.
A quick back and forth and we both decided that it made sense for us to meet in Lake Louise.
It sure made sense for me – Lake Louise is only an hour north of Canmore! I had all morning to take my time and enjoy my surroundings.
I slowly packed up camp and headed into Canmore proper where I stopped in at the library to access the net and do little work on the blog and putting my photos together. I can tell you that trying to keep things neat, tidy and well written while on the road and working from an iPhone is a pain in the butt!
I digress, however.
After a quick Tim Horton’s breakfast I got on the road in a slow and leisurely fashion, making u-turns in order to snap a picture or two, and to follow my whimsy.
My whimsy led me to the town of Banff. Back in 2012, I rode Hwy-1 right past Banff and today I decided not to make that mistake again.
As I got off the highway on the exit ramp I looked at the signs indicating several attractions and visitors info and one of them caught my eye:
That’s all it said, and that is all I needed.
I followed the directional arrows through Banff and made my way up into the hills above the town, eventually pulling into a huge parking lot where the sign said Sulphur Mountain Gondola.
This is exactly the type of thing that I was looking for, I just hadn’t known it!
I rode around the parking lot twice, looking for a place to park my bike safely, and was approached by an attendant.
“You want to ride the gondola sir?”
“I was thinking of it”, I said.
“Then sir, just pull your bike over there into that restricted parking lot. It’s the employee lot and it’s secure – your bike and your belongings will be safe there.”
Like he had read my mind.
Okay, more like he has probably had hundreds of riders on gear-laden motorcycles and was familiar with our concerns.
Man, I love this part of the world.
I took the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain and on the way up, I shot my first Facebook Live video!
For the ride back down the mountain, the attendant asked if I minded having a couple join me on the ride down.
“Come on in” I said, and then had a great conversation with a wonderful couple visiting from East London, UK.
This is the kind of experience that makes the adventure truly worthwhile.
I rode out of Banff laughing inside and feeling wonderfully grateful for the experiences that I was living – honestly footloose and carefree.
I pulled into Lake Louise and 3:00pm where I took care of some basic maintenance (chain cleaning and lube) while I waited for my riding companion to arrive.
It took mere minutes for us to decide to call Lake Louise home for the night, and the Lake Louise Campground was the perfect answer to a great day.
The Rockies are one of those corners of the world where grizzlies and tourists intersect, and while campers are advised to take the usual precautions, apparently some extra measures are needed.
This is known as a ‘Texas Gate’ and is electrified to keep the bears out.
“Yup, a pair of grizzlies were seen mating in the park this afternoon, so please be bear-wise” said the young park attendant.
Uhmm, yuh, ok, we will definitely be bear-wise!
That means placing all of your food, snacks, cooking utensils, soaps, deodorants and the like in a steel, bear-proof box.
Ya, it’s a pain in the ass. But I am pretty sure a run in with a grizzly would be worse!
theshnizzle and I had a wonderful meal at The Station Restaurant, recommended by the park attendant. The food was fantastic, the server was delightful, the coffee was delicious.
And – though I’ve avoided doing it so far – here is the obligatory plate of food pic. Definitely a meal!
Up Next: The Icefields
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