Wednesday 27 June 2012

Oh No a Bear! Last Day in B.C.

Today John and I cycled around 160 km from Golden B.C. to Canmore Alberta.

The day started of quite badly. John's tire (you know, the one we freshly changed yesterday) became flat from just sitting there overnight. This concerned us, and so we had to go to the bike shop in town to get it looked at. It turns it that there was a metal thing that looked like a straightened out staple hiding covertly in the rim. We got it fixed and were on our way.

We left at around 11am or so, and were immediately presented with about 40 km of very steep climbs. It was demoralizing because we had to cycle very hard for a good few hours, and hardly traveled far at all. Our butts really hurt. It also looked like it was going to rain the first few hours, and was quite cold out. We'd climb for like, an hour and then there would be a pretty steep decline for about a minute. In those uphill climbs we'd get really warm and sweaty, and so our downhill stretches we're absolutely freezing. It rained very gently for a little while and I swear it was teetering on snow.

Finally a stopped off at a gift store/café in a town just outside Alberta called Field. It was here that the rivers really started turning that famously gorgeous turquoise. The gift shop  kicked ass and I found a couple neat last minute souvenirs for... people.

About a kilometer outside of Field we crossed the border into Alberta. It was a huge climb right outside Field, but the fact that we cycled across an entire province gave us a much needed high and morale boost. It felt really really good.

Half way through the day we arrived at Lake Louise. We saw signs that told us it was about 4 km off the Trans-Canada and so we thought it would be a breeze to cycle to. Turns out it was actually the steepest quickest climb we'd yet to face. With every pedal rotation we'd inch forward like snails. It was nuts.

The lake is beautiful to be sure, and we had a nice quick break eating BBQ peanuts, trail mix and bananas. We took a couple pictures and I filled my water bottles with turquoise Lake Louise water. It looked so pristine I didn't feel the need to add water cleaning tablets to it (which make the water taste like a swimming pool and ruin the flavour). I felt quite Canadian cycling across Canada while drinking Lake Louise water.

We cycled back down to the highway at obscene speeds, and made or way to Banff for dinner. I high-fived a construction worker and felt cool. I am not cool.

The cycling from Lake Louise to Banff was an absolute breeze - perhaps the easiest so far. It was also possibly the most scenic. Western Alberta kicks so much ass. The mountains almost seem smug about their superiority to the B.C. mountains. They're more inviting and accessible and sit on rolling hills crammed full of trees. Stunning. Cycling through the permanency of mountains really puts your own mortality into perspective and makes life seem all the more remarkable.

As we neared Banff we saw a bear! I think it was a yogi bear but I can't be sure. I stopped to take a picture of it (there's a fence that separates the national parks from the Trans-Canada to prevent wildlife collisions, so I was safe) but I guess I scared it off with my fat head. The bear escaped with it's soul in tact. Damn.

Banff is a beautiful tourist town. We went to The Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner and I had one if the best restaurant experiences of my life. The waitress was super friendly and Australian, the food was inexpensive and delicious, and the meal came with tea, ice cream, and unlimited bread. The waitress told her manager what we were doing and he gave us both coupons for $10 off any meal at any location. They even for some reason played Christmas music. Oh, and usually when I ask waitresses to get the chefs to make my meals extremely spicy, it comes back mildly so. Today the pasta was insanely spicy and delicious. Everything was perfect.

We then cycled to Canmore in a dedicated biking trail from Banff. It was like a roller coaster and was the perfect end to the day.

Now we're in a really kind couples lavish apartment ready to sleep. They spent 13 months cycling through Asia which really makes me want to travel way the hell more...especially on bicycle. How remarkable.

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