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.
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.
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!
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.
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….
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!