We woke at 8:30 am! What? Yikes, that is some serious sleeping in! Usually I at least wake when the sun is up since our curtains do not block out light very well. The immense cloud cover was probably some of the reason I didn’t wake earlier. Scott and I got up and had some coffee while we heard the rain start tapping on our roof. Hmmm, bummer! This weather had been pretty unpredictable since we left Whistler. We were so glad that we were able to do our hiking yesterday!
The rain continued to fall and we got the kids up and headed out after breakfast. Banff is the next stop on this great northern adventure. We may be able to go on a simple, short hike or at least see something of interest. Boy is it ever raining. This is the worst it has been by far. All around us the mountains are hidden by white capes. I am certain that we are missing some gorgeous landscape.
The drive was not too far..just under an hour. It is raining! The town of Banff is pretty cute. Lots of shopping and touristy things to buy. We find a great parking space that seems too good to be true. No signs for no RV parking. We park, get all our rain coats on and head out to the main street. The kids love to shop these tourist trap stores. They could look for hours at the little stuffed moose that has Banff stitched into his little t-shirt, or the pens with carved bear and wolf. Some of it is pretty cute really 🙂 Ben was in search of a rocks and minerals store. He loves that stuff. My grandfather was a big rock guy and Ben was able to have some of his collection. He enjoys looking through it on occasion. The last gem store was in Lake Louise and there was something that he had wanted. We figured we would stop on the way out but forgot….oops. He searched a few of the shops and decided to purchase a little meteorite specimen found in Argentina. Sometimes I really don’t believe what these places sell..some of it has to be a crock. He was thrilled with his acquisition so that is what mattered. Moving on and dripping from the downpour, we headed into the Old Spaghetti Factory for some reasonably priced food. It was pretty good and really not too expensive. We shopped around that mall area before deciding on two $7.00 movies for the kids (Annie and the Bee Movie were getting old). The skies had cleared a bit. We hadn’t done much in Banff…bummer. We had planned on camping in Canmore (about 15 minutes from Banff) We decided that we may as well head there. No reservations but it looked nice enough. Our GPS couldn’t find it…although many of the places we have stayed it couldn’t find. Makes me question the necessity of this little device sometimes 🙂
This quick drive into Canmore turned into a search that lasted far too long! Ugh…really. It had us totally in some residential area far from the actual location. We both looked at maps, tried to figure it out. Scott ended up realizing where we needed to go and got us turned around and heading to our final destination (we thought). The appeal of this campground was the laundry, the wi-fi and the playgound. We drive into a strange developement area with condo’s that are underconstrucion, a trailer park with some really run down trailers and the “RV park”…where did they get the pictures for the internet site? This place is a dive! It’s not like it was cheap either. Decision made…heading back to Banff to stay at a Provincial Park. On the road again in our rather zig zag fashion. We find the Tunnel Mountain Trailer Park and register. We ask for a site with a fire ring (you have to pay $8.80 extra to cover the fire permit) As we are paying the heavens open and it POURS again. Really? Oh boy, this day is crazy, this weather is crazy are we crazy? We are doing this! The park ranger says YOLO (you only live once for those that are like me and these little sayings escape them!). True park guy, true.
We find our space in the parking lot. Basically that is what it is. You pull along the edge so your tires are on pavement and your table and in the grass on the edge of the pavement. A kind of end to end deal. Different but good. We look to the level below us and it appears that a circus bus is parked there. I have never seen anything like it, honestly! It is bright orange with a big tour bus front and a circus looking back that appears to be a bunch of individual rooms. We talk to our neighbor and they say its a tour company. This group all appear to be German and whatever their cook had going for dinner sure smelled good…lots of garlic! As we park and Katherine and I put out the awning the skies are looking brighter. Yay! Thank you Lord! The sun comes out eventually and we are able to start a nice raging fire. As we are sitting enjoying the warmth we notice these little ground squirrels popping their heads from their hole. Oh man does Gizmo want to get them. His body is shaking so badly I am afraid he might self destruct! He does an okay job with self control, although it is aided by a vibration collar that we put on him and a very strong leash! The kids want to roast some bread so they have fun doing that…things do taste better over an open flame 🙂 Smores are next and they are just as delicious! Just as Ellie finishes hers the black clouds are back and the rain begins slowly then it’s an all out downpour. New movie time! They settle in to watch Ice Age 3 and Scott and I enjoy just hanging out.
Banff had not turned out how we had hoped but that’s okay. There are days like that. Maybe we will head back one day with the kids or just us when they are all moved out and on their own. We are thankful for the time even if it is raining, we are driving in circles and we share our campsite with little ground squirrels.