Banff and the road west..

Travelling through Calgary and Banff reminded me of the need to pack light wherever possible for these kinds of trips. Despite taking a ton of stuff home in September, I was still carrying close to 50kgs of stuff between my transport stops, and I’d already asked my parents to take home more stuff when they come to visit this month. I wasn’t walking too far with the stuff, but even 300m is a trek when its -20 outside!

I left Calgary in beautiful sunshine and soon the mountains began to grow on the horizon. There isn’t much in the way of foothills between Calgary and the rockies, so I spent a good hour staring out as they grew and grew like a big wall in front of me and began to dominate the view on either side of the bus.

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As we got close I felt like the bus and I were shrinking, and soon we would find a crack in the wall to slip through into the winter wonderland beyond. I’ve been on that road before, been up mountains, and spent 5 months in Whistler, but despite this the vistas you see on the way in never fail to take my breath away.

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Spectacular!

Banff is nestled among the peaks about 40 minutes from Lake Louise, so my main aim here was really to scope the place out and find the stuff I need to come back to on later visits; large grocery stores, the climbing wall, etc. Luckily I was able to do the few chores I need to do in the evening of my arrival which left a full day to do fun stuff!

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Banff high street has got a lot of places beat..

My first port of call was Banff Centre, which has the local climbing gym and a host of other resources. It’s a pretty awesome package when you go, the climbing wall is good enough for a couple of hours, but you also get a lock for your locker and towel for your $15. You’ll need these because you also get access to a pool, AND a hot tub, AND a steam room! Its’ worth a visit if you’ve run out of other attractions to do in town, or on a rainy day.

In the afternoon I went to Park Distillery, Banff’s local whisky distillery. Its a small operation that produces Rye, flavored Vodka and Gin.

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I’m quite interest in the process of making whisky and how it affects the flavor, so I was pretty cool to see a small operation where you could each part of the process quite clearly and get a good understanding of the steps. After the tour came the semi-obligatory tasting….

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Not again!

I slept very well that night, which was good because I had to be up at 7 for my bus to Lake Louise. I was a little nervous still, but the snow was piling up as I headed north and I was getting more and more keen to get riding! I’d have to settle into my new home first though!

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