Banff National Park

Once we left Las Vegas in our quest to meet up with Fred and Becky in Banff, Alberta, Canada, there has been one adventure after another. Long days of being on the road made for an especially sweet reunion because Fred was able to secure a campsite for us in the Tunnel Mountain Campground. This is an incredibly popular area for camping, and we were very fortunate to have a place to rest and recover from after the arduous task of several days of travel.

And spending just one night in our campground, restless, hyperactive Michael decided that we needed to drive in to see Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. It has been many years since I have been here, and Becky has never been, so we all piled into the Tracker, aka rattletrap, but only after driving into town to purchase a new battery; the 1991 Geo Tracker wouldn’t start this morning, but that is another story for another time. Once that was taken care of, and because I won’t bore you with the details, off we headed along the Canadian I Highway and the 45-minute drive to take in the sites.

We knew we were in trouble when we passed the overflow parking lot for Lake Louise filled up to capacity. With spirits high and a real sense of adventure just percolating below the surface, we found ourselves ground to a frustrating halt with all the other fools who didn’t think the warning signs applied to them either. After a long wait and a very slow crawl, we were escorted right back out to the road because all of the parking lots, surprise, were also filled to capacity. With mounting frustration, we drove back down the mountain and around to the Morain Lake entranceway just as they were putting roadblocks up. Michael braked hard and I rolled down the window and we all flashed a pleasing smile as I begged to be allowed in. Fortunately, the attendant took pity on our souls and moved the barrier aside, closing it back up again quickly after we raced through. We were the last car to be allowed in and zipped back up the road without anyone in the rearview mirror. With renewed hope and new vim and vigor, we gleefully sped along to the lake with raindrops pinging down on the windshield of the car. The rain just couldn’t decide whether it wanted to be hail, sleet or snow and acted very strangely, to say the least.

At the top of the road and just as we were going to park the car, the Tracker sputtered and stalled and Michael had to roll it back as he popped the clutch to get it started. Talk about stress, he did manage to park the car though with a sigh of relief after several nerve-wracking attempts! We thought that it would be the end of our troubles and jumped out of the car with a newfound urgency and gleefully raced over to the lake with dark clouds building and a spattering of sunshine dazzling the mountainsides and lighting up the glaciers that somehow held on to impossibly steep and jagged cliffs.

Moraine Lake is a glacier-fed body of turquoise blue water that allows people to canoe, kayak, and row boat over on the calm and glassy surface. There were so many people around though, that it was difficult to take any decent photos without having strangers photo bomb your images. We somehow managed anyway and Becky got a decent photo of me and Michael, and I got one of them. I decided not to wear my neck brace today because I am totally sick of it and it has been 7.5 weeks. I hate selfie sticks by the way and refuse to use one! We had fun anyway and would have stayed much longer except that storm clouds formed once again and it started to rain, ever harder this time. Everyone raced for cover as we ran to the car and piled in again only to find out that the car still had difficulty starting. Long story short, we barely made it back to the campground, and only to Fred and Becky’s doorstep, before the car died for good. Michael probably flooded it this time and we are going to give the vapors a chance to evaporate before trying again later.*

It is a lovely evening out and I can hear squirrels chattering and scolding one another as I write. Fred and Becky are going for a walk and Michael is asleep on the couch. Tomorrow more rain is expected and the temperature is going to drop. Today was in the low 70’s and quite comfortable in spite of the rain. Needless to say, Banff is spectacular in spite of the crowds, and there really isn’t any place like it in the world. We hope to stay here for several more days and then we will pack up and head on to Jasper.

* Michael had to take the Tracker into Mountain Men Mechanics in Banff to try and diagnose and fix what ails it.