Strange Brew
Bow Valley Parkway Day Eh

July 27th, 2015

What happened…

Andrew writes: I’m such a numpty. I heard spatters of raindrops on and off throughout the night. When I woke up, I was just getting my bearings inside the tent and I noticed one of my panniers missing. I let out huge groan, opened the tent fly, and sure enough, there it was, sitting open on the ground beside the tent. This is the pannier that I use to carry all of my electronics, except I had the laptop in the tent with me. Fortunately there didn’t appear to be too much damage, perhaps because the showers were over so quickly.

The next bit of knuckleheadedness came when I was preparing breakfast. I realized as I was about to pour the coffee that I had left my cloth coffee filter back at our last campground. I had some paper ones, but they aren’t the same! My cousin Naomi had given me that cloth one when I was visiting her in the Yukon last summer, and it’s dear to my heart. Ahhh well. I seem to have a penchant for leaving articles of mine wherever I travel. I don’t consider it littering, more like leaving mementoes for complete strangers to find. Who knows, maybe one that I’ll be re-united with my 2010 Olympic toque…

It was cold this morning so the first thing I did was get a fire going. A glance at my thermometer told me it was 6C. It felt colder. The sun was struggling to break through the clouds, and everything was misty. With the fire, and some hot coffee, Amanda and I soon warmed up, and just took it easy breaking camp. Then we set off to finish climbing up Bow Pass (2067m).

As I predicted yesterday, it was easy; unrelenting, but an easy enough grade. When we got to the top of the pass, I turned towards Peyto Lake, and thought Amanda was right behind me. I got to the parking lot, and the start of a short hike to the viewpoint and waited…and waited…and waited. I walked back down to the highway, and Amanda was nowhere to be seen. I walked around the parking area, still no Amanda. Finally after 25 minutes of waiting, I started back down the hill towards the Num-ti-Jah Lodge, thinking maybe Amanda was waiting for me there. Halfway down the hill, I paused to take a photograph, and sure as spring, Amanda rolled up behind me. She had ridden all the way to the viewpoint, up a road marked, “Buses and Handicapped Only”. So apparently Amanda is handicapped too, except I’m lead to believe that I’m her handicap. Alls well that ends well.

It started to rain. A sleety, snowy kind of rain. It was cold. We ended up taking up temporary residence in the Lodge for two hours, eating, charging laptops, surfing the internet, just relaxing and warming up. Finally, at 1500hrs, we started out again for Lake Louise, now only 30km away. It was all downhill!

Reaching Lake Louise, we went to the visitor centre, where we met Mark, from Michigan, who had ridden across the country and was on his way to Jasper. We thought we would try to hook-up at the campground. Going inside the Visitor Centre, I was told in no uncertain terms that the Lake Louise Campground was full, and that the closest available campground was 56km away in Banff. Doh!

We made our way to the campground anyways, and sneaking in via the bike path, we were able to cook dinner at the covered shelter, and scout out possible “biker” campsites. Liam, from Ireland, who I had run into in Jasper last week, was camped just down the way, and he invited us to share his site. I’m always amazed at how new cycle tourists make-do. With experience come preferences for living a better life on the bike, and I’m interested to learn how Liam’s next tour differs in terms of what gear he chooses to bring with him. More or less?

Liam has a beautiful voice. I played a few Irish songs on the tin whistle and he sang along. I butchered a few more, and he wasn’t able to recognize the tune, I was so bad. We ended up staying up super-late talking with Liam, and Shannon, a cyclist from Michigan who is riding north, John from Michigan also who rode to Jasper and back, and Thibault from Paris, a hiker who has hiked more than 170km in the last two weeks. It was a merry evening, full of laughter and story-telling.

Amanda writes:
I really enjoy rides like today. Though climb to start the day and then super fun downhill. The cold weather and rain wasn’t that much fun but we eventually managed to warm up. It made it particularly enjoyable when we met Shannon and his dad Clem. They are from Seattle and it was great chatting with them for some time. Before Shannon left he graced us with two beers which were so appreciated. Beers aren’t really in our budget any longer so when we get them, it’s a real treat.

After arriving in Lake Louise I was again amazed and how chill we are about the fact that we don’t know where we’re going to sleep. We’ve learned over the last year that you should have a good meal before making any decisions. We’re lucky that usually by the time dinner and dishes are done that our sleep location for the night has worked itself out.

As Andrew said Liam really did have a nice voice and it was a pleasure to share the evening with him and all the other travellers. I found it interesting to hear the different perspectives and experiences about travelling from people of 4 different countries, backgrounds and budgets. Thibault from France was more budget minded like us and enjoying the kindness of others, street smarts and coach surfing.

Today’s Photographs

Strange Brew
Bow Valley Parkway Day Eh