Guess where I am!
So it's been a while again! The last post was made in Thunder Bay, and I made it quite far in the mean time.
After a resting day we drove on to Brandon, according to Fred's car a whopping 950 km!
The day after that we got to Saskatoon where there was a little incident, and the day after we reached Edmonton. All in all Fred and I drove together for some 3000 kilometers. He was a great guy and I cannot thank him enough.
As to the little incident in Saskatoon, it involved three guys and a woman in a really big fight, about what I do not know. As soon as I checked into the motel and went upstairs to my room I was greeted with really loud screams. At first I thought somebody had his TV on too loud, but unfortunately that wasn't the case.
The closer I got to my room the louder the screaming became, and for a moment I was convinced it was a rape in progress. I turned around and ran back down to the lobby to inform the guy behind the counter. At first he didn't seem to take me seriously and continued helping some other people standing at the counter, but a few seconds later there were people running into the motel from outside reporting the same fight, which by now had moved outside onto the shared balcony. Apparently, one of the guys slammed the head of another into the iron railings. So the police was called, and ofcourse they only showed up after two guys already had fled the scene, leaving behind a third man and the woman. I stayed out of their business so I still don't know what went down in there, and that is probably for the best. Apart from alarming people and getting help, there wasn't anything else I could do.
Anyways, back to the good stuff. I spent a last night at a motel in Edmonton after having said goodbye to Fred, and set back out on the road the following morning.
It took about an hour before I got a ride from a somewhat short guy of Indian descent who was returning from fitness. He drove me to Red Deer, though it was out of his way. He didn't have anything to do though and seemed glad to have found a distraction. It set the tone for the rest of the day.
After being let out on the highway past Red Deer I spent some 5 minutes sticking out my thumb before catching another ride from an older gentleman who stopped at a truckstop so I could fill up my Kamelbak with water, because it was really hot and humid. He helped me get halfway to Calgary, which I had set as my goal for the day. He too let me out on the highway.
The third person to pick me up was Mo, short for Mohammed. A guy in his fifties I think, who came from Pakistan and worked in the oilfields of Alberta after doing the same work in his home country for quite a while. He was a really nice man, keeping high his principles and wanting to help out in the interest of humanity. The day was still pretty young and I now set my sights on Banff instead of Calgary. Mohammed had to go left in front of Calgary, heading east, but instead he took the exit on the right and drove me all the way around Calgary and dropped me off on the Cross-Canada highway, highway 1. It was around 5 o'clock and the road back into Calgary was absolutely stuffed with cars, so I think it might have taken him quite a while before getting home. He said he didn't mind, because it gave him a lot of satisfaction being able to help someone out, and he gave me two bottles of water too.
Another few minutes passed as I again stuck out my thumb, and after a short while (shorter than I expected, considering I was near a really big city of around a million people!) I got a ride from Tracy.
She was heading out to the mountains to walk her dog, a trip that took her at least half an hour or more out of the city! To me that said a lot about her, as a lot of people seem to think it's a big chore to walk their dogs all the time, and most of them just stay in their general vicinity. But Tracy took her dog out to the mountains where he could run free, and she took me beyond the point she had initially intended to go and into Banff.
Awesome stuff! She was the last ride of the day, but each and every one had gone out of their way to get me somewhere. All in all a great day!
I stayed in Banff for three nights in a newly opened hostel, where I met Dominick from Germany and Paul from England who had been traveling together for a little while and now started sharing my room after the first night. They were really nice and social guys, and that afternoon I joined them for a walk downtown and an attempt at getting a much needed sun tan.
Me on the bridge outside of downtown Banff.
The Bow River.
After my third night I decided to move on. I decided to walk for a while instead of trying to get a ride, but got misdirected. I did end up on the road to Highway 1, but it was heading eastward, not westward.
So I walked the same half hour to get back into town, missed another road and spent another hour or so walking the wrong road and back. At this point I was sweating badly and decided to get a cold Coke at the local McDonalds. I whipped out my iPod and checked my location on the map app, and let it calculate the proper route.
So I started back out again after having a nice cold drink and found highway 1, and it was heading in the right direction too! Wonderful!
However, I can't say I regret having walked down so many detours, because I ended up getting a ride from a pretty girl who took me to Lake Louise, where I decided to stay for another few nights. I had heard a lot about Lake Louise and I definitely wanted to check it out. And, she might come back later that evening to the bar attached to the hostel. Unfortunately it seems she got sidetracked at some point or I must have simply missed her (though I definitely have been looking! haha).
So I had to switch out one beauty for another one: Lake Louise.
After a refreshing night of sleep I caught a ride up to the actual lake yesterday from a nice man who turned out to be helping out a German hitchhiker as well, who had been staying with him for a few days, and whom he was now taking out to see the mountains and Lake Louise. His name was Doug, the fellow hitchhiker's Daniel. We parted ways at the lake, and I set out to get the best view of the lake. Ofcourse I first walked up to the base of the lake.
As you can see it is an insanely beautiful place, unfortunately somebody decided to build a massive hotel right at the lakeside to capitalize on it. It's a good-looking building for sure but to me still felt like a whart on the face of beauty.
The first route I decided to walk led me to an overview from the left side of the lake called Fairview Lookout.
It was about 1,5 km of walking through the woods. It would have been a nice walk if it wasn't for the swarm of mosquitoes that were after me. If I stopped for just a second I had at least three of the buggers on my legs. Despite that, the walk was worth it.
I decided to not walk any further down this route on account of the mosquitoes though, and so I walked back down as fast as I could and decided to walk around the right side of the lake which fortunately had a lot less mosquitoes flying around. I guess that is partly because the route I took there didn't go through the woods but led me along the lakeshore, and in the end led up the mountain past most of the woods, to the glacier behind it.
The side of the lake.
Made from the same position, looking to the back of the lake.
There were some beautiful sights along the way up the mountain.
And it had some nice climbing spots too!
From the back of the lake. Note that the greyish area is still water. This is where a small river flows into the lake from up above.
Another shot of the back of the lake, this time without my mug blocking the view.
The river flowing into Lake Louise.
A closer look.
Me at the river.
And because I don't want to repeat myself too much, here are some more pictures of the trail leading up the mountain.
And now a really cool part: one of the little streams coming down the sides of the mountain in waterfalls had a roof of ice! The water had simply excavated a way through, and it ended up forming a really neat tunnel.
Ofcourse I had to investigate and cool myself down at the base of the waterfall. I might have taken a shower if I hadn't had sensitive equipment on me that really shouldn't get wet, and I took enough risks with those as it is. First in the upcoming video, a nice overview of the area. Right after that I move through the tunnel!
Aaaand back to pictures of the rest of the trail up!
And finally, the path leading to the teahouse at the end, one of two in the area, and the farthest.
At the teahouse I got something to drink as I had run out of water, and decided to get something to eat as well. There are a few people who stay up here throughout the season. They stay there for five days and head back down for two days. They carry back down the trash they accumulate throughout the week and hike new supplies back up when they return!
One of the girls working there was really nice and we had an interesting conversation for as long as the rest of the clientele permitted it, as it was quite busy up there.
After having sat down there for a while two new guys came walking in: Doug and Daniel!
A nice surprise, as both of them are really nice. Clouds had set in and so I waited a while longer as Doug and Daniel had a rest and something to eat and drink, and we walked back down the trail together.
Also, squirrel. Cheeky buggers try to enter the teahouse to steal some food constantly! :D
I shot nearly 70 pictures, of which the above are just a few. You can see all of them here: http://s1048.photobucket.com/albums/s367/AWanderersSoul/Lake%20Louise/#!cpZZ1QQtppZZ16
Today I took a day off and washed my clothes, and bought two new books: Congo and The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton.
Tomorrow I will move on again, hopefully getting to Kelowna or it's vicinity!