We awoke in Jasper to a morning not quite as cold as the night before in Kamloops, but it was close. I was pleased to have purchased my wonderful red flannel lumberjack jacket, because I would have been a popsicle that morning. We lit a fire, and huddled around it to get warm (my feet seem to always go numb during night up in the mountains). Still slightly heartbroken over my shattered French Press from the morning in Kamloops, I turned to the campfire espresso machine my mom gave me before I left with skepticism. I was, however, very impressed. Using coffee from Café Crema in Vancouver, I made some “espresso” that tasted actually quite good. I was excited to say the least. We broke camp and headed back towards the trail, which seemed much shorter now that we were traveling downhill. It was about a 45 minute hike back to the car, but the walk was excellent. It was still early in the morning, and it seemed that we were the only living things in miles. The forest and lake surrounding it were filled with a silence that seemed both thick and apprehensive. We packed up the car and jumped in, ready to be off on our next adventure.
The drive to Banff was not too long, and filled with visual stimulation. This part of the country is absolutely stunning, pocketed with indigo colored lakes reflecting towering snowcapped mountains on their surfaces. We even saw a few bears along the way too, a mother walking with her cub along the side of the road. There was a gang of bighorn sheep too, milling about on a hillside. I felt almost rushed in a way though, attempting to fill up my memory with as much of the landscape as I could, trying to remember what it looked like to be on the road in the middle of the Rockies.
We stopped for lunch in Lake Louise where we got a few overpriced wraps and some bad coffee amidst a flurry of Germans, Swedes, and Japanese tourists filling their pockets with trinkets and “Check Me Out, I’ve Been to Lake Louise!” tee shirts.
It was only about a 45 minute drive to Banff from Lake Louise, so we arrived pretty early. Parking on the Northeast part of town, we walked down the main street and eventually stopped in an outdoors store to ask about a hostel in town (we wanted to shower up tonight before we had to go near a week without one). We were informed it was on the far Southwest part of Banff, so we just decided to make the 20 minute walk down there and book three beds. This one was much nicer than the Samesun Hostel in Vancouver (although I actually enjoy the sort of world-traveler grit that came with the Samesun Hostel), and consisted of two buildings. We got our rooms, then walked all the way back to town hoping the overcast sky above us would hold off for a bit. We hopped in the Juggernaut and made a considerably shorter trip to the hostel and unloaded our things into our room. We were staying with a French-Canadian couple from Quebec who were nice if a bit antisocial. I grabbed my computer and went downstairs to a common area and tried to write a bit on the blog. I also brought a book which of course I never opened. I was joined by Matt and David after a bit, after about my second gourd into my Maté tea. Matt and I passed the Maté, and three of us talked of mundane things: life, philosophy, the nature of our course in the universe, and how hungry we were. I packed up my things and we walked over to the Hostel’s restaurant to have a burger, which was incredible. It also so happens that the drinking age in Alberta is 18, so my burger was accompanied by an India Pale Ale. This was really the first time I’ve been able to just have a beer with dinner, and it was curiously liberating. Teenagers are granted the privilege to binge drink behind closed doors, but not the ability to casually have a beer with dinner, which seems to me a curious social stigma.
After dinner we walked downstairs to enjoy a Jam Night where everyone in the hostel who knew how to play an instrument got onstage and rocked the house. We had a good time, and got to meet a musician who would be coming to St. Louis in July. Although we didn’t spend the night amidst the stars and the dark night sky, the TBA boys still managed to have some fun.