Canada is amazingly different place. I always thought that everything would pretty much be the same, as it is quite close to the United States. But when you cross the border, things get bigger. The mountains, taller. The lakes, larger. The wildfires, more wild. At the moment, BC (British Colombia) is having a hard time with wildfires. So much so, that the air is always hazy, and hard to see through. I imagine that it would be gorgeous to drive through the mountains, but when we did, you could hardly see over the trees. Most days the sky is gray, not because it is going to rain (they wish), but because of the smoke.
Our Canadian trip started in Kamloops, BC. Friends we had met 3 year prior had heard we were coming into Canada, and invited us to stay with them for a couple days. They have a small house overlooking Kamloops Lake. After a – kilometer drive out a rough dirt road (the toughest trip for the bus yet), we arrived at a picturesque lake. There we stayed 2 nights and enjoyed our friend company. Thank you so much, Yvonne and Steve!
From there, we moved on to Vernon, BC, to a campground our friends were working at. It was a well kept campground, and they had done lots of work on it. For the first few days we had full hook-up, but the last couple days we only had electric and water. Almost everyday we had a little field trip. One day we spent at the lake, another day we went to an orchard. Also, almost everyday, we hiked down to a pretty waterfall near the campground.
We then moved on to Lake Louise. The campground was large, and the sites were nice. Our first full day there, we drove up to Lake Louise, and hike to the nearest tea house, about 4.5 miles both ways. It was smoky the whole time we spent at Lake Louise. The second day we drove to the ice fields, in Banff and Jasper National Park. We did several small hikes, to see a glacier and to a quickly flowing river. All the water up here is a Caribbean blue colour, because of what they call glacier flour. Small particles of dirt (glacier flour, because they are the size of flour) are in the water, and they reflect the blue colour. Our third day was spent seeing the spiral train tunnels and hiking around Lake Moraine. The spiral tunnels were made because the train tracks climbing through the Rocky Mountains were incredibly steep. They had lots of run-away trains. The solution to the problem was to build tunnels that spiral up through the mountains. I liked watching the train go through, because you would see the engine go into the tunnel, then coming out higher up. The end wouldn’t even be out of the tunnel before the engine went into the next set of tunnels.
Lake Moraine was like Lake Louise, the same colour, but smaller and not nearly as busy. We climbed up a mountain of boulders, had a look, then walked around the lake.
The fourth day we left for Banff. Banff is a cute tourist town settled in the mountain. All of Canada is picturesque, but Banff especially. There was the Hot Springs, and the Banff Springs Hotel. We walked all over the town. Then it started to clear up, and the smoke started to disappear. We wanted to Lake Louise without the blanket of smoke, so the next day, we drove back the hour and hiked around Lake Louise. It was beautiful. I can’t stress that Canada was beautiful enough. It was gorgeous, pretty, wonderful, amazing.
A note about Canada:
We did not have any phone service in Canada, and we were completely okay. Yep, we didn’t call anyone in three weeks. We didn’t die. But really, everywhere in Canada had wifi. The National Park Visitor Centers had wifi, and if you where wandering around the town of Banff, they had wifi also. Tim Hortons, McDonalds, all of the fast food places have wifi. About once a day, for half an hour, we would go someplace and use internet. To check email, text, Instagram, things of that sort. We weren’t completely cut off from the out side world.