We had a completely chilled out day at the hostel updateing this blog checking emails and generally getting in contact with parents etc.
With high hopes of renting a car and heading throught the Rockie mountains today we set off to try and book a car. This proved a more elusive a task than first thought. So we made the decission to travel from Whistler to Vancouver in the hope that a bigger city would bring more opportunities. Which proved to be the case, however to rent a car in Vancouver and drop it off in Calgary was becoming a very expensive task. Therefore we decided to book ourselves on “A Moose Tour” which would take us through the Rockie Mountains stopping at various locations alo ng the way. So we stayed in Vancouver tonight with excitement of the penting tour tomorrow.
We were up early to catch the bus for the “Moose Tour”, however once we had checked out of our room and were sat in reception waiting for the bus to arrive disaster struck the bus was going to be late because the back door had fallen off the bus. This was made worse when the replacement bus got a flat tyre on the way to pick us up. Needless to say after the three hour wait and some gentle discussions with the tour rep Kirsty and I recieved a free T-Shirt result. The first leg of the journey would see us travel from Vancouver to Shuswap lake which is a distance of 600 kilometers. This sounds a long way but the UK would fit into Canada over 40 times. During the journey we would stop at Bridal Veil Falls, a little town called Hope and the city of Kamloops. The Bridal Veil Falls were very pretty and because it looks like a brides veil thats were it gets it name from. Hope is a small town which host an annual chainsaw wood carving competition. The competition was recently so all the carvings were on disply and some of them were really complex. The banter was now flowing on the bus and we had met some nice people which was good cause the people are what will make this trip fun. After a quick stop in Kamloops we were back on the road through the Rockies to Shuswap Lake. This was a very quiet place that u couldn’t even call a one horse town cause it shared a horse with a neighboughing town , although it was a lovely place to stay and the lake was beautiful. After a bit of bonding in the bar it was upstairs to continue the fun in the hot tub where everybody was telling stories of their travels so far and some well timed jokes were made. (in chris's opinion!!!)
This leg of the journey saw us travel from Shuswap lake to Banff along the way we would stop of at Rodgers Pass, Emerald Lake and cross over the Continental Divide. Rodgers pass is a very famous section of the Trans-Canada Highway which can have over 40 Avalaches a day during the winter which will completely close the road of for hours. Thankfully we are here during summer so no chance of anything like that happening to us or so we thought. Whilst travelling through Rodgers pass there was a rock slide onto the road which ment we were stuck in traffic for over three hours but this made made somewhat better by the fact we have a football to kick around and you could also get some tanning going on at the side of the road (see pictures). After the rock slide had been cleared it was onto Emerald lake and over the Continental Divide. The lake was beautiful and as the name suggests a glorious green colour which you only see in postcards. Once we arrived at the hostel it was straight for dinner before freshening up and heading down to the bar for the live band. Everybody loved the band and plenty of singing and dancing was done that night.
Another early rise saw the group on our way from Banff to Jasper along the way we would see Castle Mountain, Lake Louise and the Columbia Icefield. After driving past Castle mountain it was onto Lake Louise which is a glacier fed lake meeting all the water in it has come from a glacier, therefore making it very cold. This did not stop Chris and a couple of other travellers venturing in for a dip (see pictures). After drying off and warming up it was off to the Columbia Icefield which is a 325 square kilometer glacier. The Icefield has been getting smaller every year due to global warming but is still a very impressive sight, however you can only get onto the Icefield via an organised trip or on the Ice bus but it was still cool to have seen this massive icefield. We then hit the road heading for Jasper and after alittle while the loud shout of “BEAR” was heard in the bus so whith some erratic breaking and a 50 point turn we headed back to where the bear had been sighted. There at the side of the road in the bushes was a black bear looking for some food. It was an amazing sight to see the bear in his natural habitat and to be so close (see pictures). After some pictures were taken it was off to Jasper for BBQ dinner and getting sat round the camp fire for another great night with the people on the tour.
Woo hoo its Kirsty’s birthday ! We also departed Jasper on the road back to Banff and along the way we would stop off at the Athabasca Falls, Ppeyto Lake and hike up Parker Ridge. The Athabasca falls were very impressive with just the volume of water that flowed over them every second. We then Hiked up Parkers Ridge which took us about an hour to scale but once u got to the top the breath taking views were worth the hike. We sat up there for a while having lunch and chatting with the fellow Moose tourers. We then made the hike back down and onto the bus to drive to Peyto Lake which is one of the bluest lakes i’ve ever seen it truely was postcard picture stuff. We then headed onto our final destination of Banff and we all went out for a meal and some drinks to celebrate Kirsty’s Birthday and we ended up in a wee Kareoke place for everybody to have a good sing along.
This was another day in Banff where we could do anything we wanted. So Jerry and I went to watch the Banff rugby team with a couple of the guys from the trip becuse rugby is not for girls (only joking). In fact the Banff ladies team were playing first so I got to watch 2 games of rugby that day. After two hard fought contested the Banff ladies lost but the Banff mens team won so that was a good result for them. We then headed back to the hostel to have some dinner and more chat with the group. Banff is a lovely little town with only 8000 perminant residents but over 25000 people come to visit every year and I can see why.
Kirsty and I waved goodbye to the people on the trip as they were travelling back to Vancouver today and we were staying in Banff for an extra couple of nights before we head to Calgary. So after wishing them well and waving them off we set off to walk to the Banff water fall and to the hot springs. The Waterfall was lovely and Kirsty got her picture taken with a real live mountie (see pictures). We then headed through the forrest and up a 2kl trail to get to the hot springs. It was nice to see a naturally ocurring hot spring, however it has been turned into a man made swimming pool using the water from the hot spring to fill it. We then walked back into town and went for a nice chilled out relaxed dinner and after that back to the hostel to meet some of the guys from the Moose Tour who got off and went on a different part of the tour so it was nice to catch up with them.
Today we said our goodbye’s to our friends in Banff and set off for the journey to Calgary on the Greyhound bus so today was just spent travelling and checking out Calgary just breifly.