To the few readers I have, I apologize for my absence for a couple days. On Friday evening, my family and a family friend threw together a plan for camping, and pulled it off with such haste I didn’t have time for blogging. Regardless, I’m back now, and I’d love to share the experience of camping for the first time with you!
After buying the necessary camping materials and packing in a great hurry, we set out early Saturday morning. The first destination was Banff, where we set up our tent on the campground. Being first-time campers, it took us a little over two hours to puzzle out the camp, but we did finally get it up. It was a solid tent; our campground too was nice. There was potable water, a shower, toilets, electricity outputs for RVs, and a nice amount of space for each campsite. The view was pretty nice too, but it wasn’t the best. It didn’t matter too much, however, because we spent no time at our campsite other than to sleep.
After pitching our tent, we headed to Lake Louise. This was my favorite part of the whole trip. Lake Louise was stunningly beautiful. The serenity and natural beauty of nature is overwhelming. The camera I had didn’t capture the beauty of the scene, and I hope to one day return with a better camera. The weather was nice, and we spent an hour at Lake Louise, just soaking in the great sights.
After Lake Louise, we also visited Moraine Lake, a less famous lake near Lake Louise. It was also very beautiful, but didn’t compare with Lake Louise. There was a huge pile of rocks on the lake, and some people were climbing them. When I went to do the same, I put my weight on a light log instead of a heavy log, and submerged my pants in the lake. I had packed extra clothes for something like this, but who would have thought I’d fall into a lake?! In hindsight, it all turned out great, so I can laugh the incident off now.
After the two lakes, we headed back to our campsight, as it was getting pretty late. We stopped in Banff for a pair of slippers for me, as my shoes were (and still are) soaked. The average price for slippers in Banff was $40.00!! After a lot of searching, we settled for a pair of around $10.00. Now, it was off to camp for the night.
The part about the trip I didn’t enjoy was sleeping in the tent. The sleeping bags were uncomfortable, and we weren’t able to pack pillows. Although we were safe from mosquitos, the fear of bears kept me up for sometime. I did fall asleep eventually, and it wasn’t too bad; however, I learned that I’m an indoor person when it comes to sleeping in a tent.
The second day was busy. We drove from Banff to Jasper, a length drive, and stopped at several sights between the way. The first of these was Bow Lake. You know those pictures you see of paradise here and there? Bow Lake was the closest description that looked like a paradise to me. The view is just stunning; if you haven’t gone there, I highly recommend doing so.
We had a lot of great mountain scenery throughout the whole tip. The next place we stopped was at the Colombia Icefields, about an hour and a half from Jasper. Over there we saw the Athabasca Glacier. We took a tour bus up on the Glacier, and learned a lot about the history of the Glacier. The Glacier wasn’t too great for sight seeing, but it has great importance; it is the Glacier that flows into all three oceans surrounding Canada. The tour buses were huge; we learned that they cost $1.3 million each, and for the price, had a maximum speed of 15 km/h. Well, what it lacked in speed, it more than made up for in power and safety. To get to the Glacier, we drove on the second largest unpaved incline in North America at 18 degrees (we had a great guide). The highlight of the Glacier was drinking the water straight from the mountain, and it was supposedly some of the freshest water in the world. It certainly was an interesting place to visit!
The next destination for us was the Athabasca Falls. It was a waterfall for part of the Athabasca River. It was very picturesque, and I enjoyed it immensely. The power of the water was awe-inspiring; you were able to see the raw strength of nature at it’s finest. We didn’t stay too long, as we now had to hurry if we wanted to be back in Banff before dark.
We headed to Jasper. It was about an hour away. We took a road that was pretty shady; I was kind of scared we’d get stuck there forever and no one would find us. It was a baseless fear. We made it to Maligne Canyon. Of all the sights we went to, this one was neglected. Not only did it begin to rain when we were there, forcing us to leave early, but we were also in a great rush now; we had to make extreme haste if we were to be Banff by night safely.
We made haste to the town of Jasper, where we had a quick dinner. Jasper seemed to me to be a smaller replica of Banff. It wasn’t very special; I think the reason the hotels are the most expensive in Jasper out of all of North America is because of all the sights there are around Jasper.
The ride back to Banff was long. It was three and a half straight hours of non-stop driving, with the gas steadliy decreasing and the night slowly falling on us. I grew restless through the trip, it was very, very long. Later rather than sooner, we got back to Banff. We were all pretty tired, and fell asleep quickly.
The next morning we packed our tent in a hurry, as we wanted to get back to Calgary. That was it; after stocking up on gas, we made the trip, and got back around mid-day. We unwinded; I only just got up from a long nap. After all that, as they say, life goes on.
When it’s all said and done, the trip was a lot of fun. The only parts I didn’t like were sleeping in a tent, a rash driver who had us all terrified, and a couple of argumentative Russians who were camping next to us at 3:00 am. However, I’d say the sights more than made up for the slight stebacks. That being said, I’m not an outdoor person. Personally, I don’t see why someone would want to live as primitive as possible when camping. It’s supposed to be relaxing, but I’d much rather stay in a hotel. Still, this was a great experience. One day, I’d certainly like to go back with a better camera. Finally, if there’s anything I learned from the trip, it is this; always pack more than enough clothes, because you never know what the weather will do in any part of Canada…or when you’ll fall into a lake.