Trans Can HWY #8: Blondes about in Banff*

Two years ago this past August, my mother and I ventured on a cross country trek in my brother’s Jeep across Canada. We drove west from southwestern Ontario to Vancouver, BC over the course of two weeks, and then down to northern California to meet up with the men in our family. The following are taken from emails I wrote to family and friends.

Day 8: Tuesday, August 7, 2012

You may never see me again… that’s how much I love western Alberta.

Let’s make a list:

  • Started the day off right with a large breakfast at Strathmore’s trucker stop finest: Smileys, before heading to Calgary. Did what we do best and saw the city in less than 2 hours. Interesting mention: Strathmore is home to the 3rd largest stampede in Canada. We could have gone if we were any the wiser.
    • Went to the Calgary Stampede Park to snap some pics. I bought my first souvenir:
      Calgary Exhibition & Stampede: To promote and preserve western heritage

      Calgary Exhibition & Stampede: To promote and preserve western heritage

      Redneck wine glasses. They’re basically mason jars with a stem – and who doesn’t dig a decent stemmed mason jar? Nobody. That’s who. I should also note, that Calgary is the first “real” city we have encountered. Absolutely stunning, well laid out, and so many impressive faced shops, restaurants and boutiques, etc. I very much can see myself moving here.

  • Onwards to the 1984 Olympic Park. Stayed long enough to take some pictures (obvi) and say, “Been there, done that.” Two Canadian Olympic Parks down. One to go. Booyah.
  • Continued on the Cowboy Trail (aka HWY 22) north up to Cochrane and then west on 1A to Canmore following the Bow River. The Rockies are in front of us, to the west of us, to the right of us. Everywhere… mostly because we are on a windy road, so the view changes.
    • We pass a small town advertising the fact they held an Iron Man.
    • Around 1:30 pm I see my first Rocky Mountain sheep. I guess the deer whistles attached
      Rockies ho!

      Rockies ho!

      to my brother’s Jeep don’t scare these guys off. And thank the heavens because I want to get my wildlife sightseeing on! Speaking of wildlife, I’d like to point out that those of you who are fans of the Hunger Games trilogy, might like to know that the Mockingjay does indeed exist, and it is here… in Alberta. I have no clue what type of bird it is – but it is large-ish and black like a crow, with white around the wing area, has an extended tail that is a deep greeny-jade colour that starts around its derrière-ea to the tip of its elegant tail. Now I just have to find out if the darn thing can carry a tune.

  • Canmore. Glorious Canmore. I am so glad we stopped here for a bite to eat (at Murrieta’s: beautiful, rustic fine dining). Every way you turned was a postcard view (inside the restaurant and out). I expected this of the west, but it’s really starting to get annoying. Stop the car every 2 minutes to get out and take a pic of another beautiful rock face with trees and a milky, limestone-infused blue body of water below. Drive.
Pretty C-Tire

Pretty C-Tire

Stop the car to take a pic of the cute animal. Drive. Stop the car to take a pic of the Canadian Tire – because you have never seen such a beautiful Canadian Tire in your life. This is becoming a problem. You get the point. Life is so hard.

  • Banff. Glorious Banff. Again postcard perfect. After visiting tourist information, and being completely overwhelmed, and excited, with what we needed to do to have the complete experience, we set off on a couple short drives:
    • First the Tunnel Mountain Drive: A winding loop that goes along the Cascade River, with plenty of photo ops. There were even some Hoodoos (the ones in Drumheller were more stellar)!
    • Second, the Minnewanka Loop: Another scenic drive. We were told by the info lady that there are a lot of animal sightings: elk; bear; and deer, OH MY! Sadly we did not see these creatures.
    • We retraced our first drive to go further south to the well-named “Surprise Corner.” WeIMG_2730 came around a bend, or rather, corner and I apparently let out a series of expletives, mother gasped. Behold: The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, across the Bow River, snuggled betwixt some pretty coniferous trees on a cliff face. So big. So grand. And just so damn postcard perfect.
    • Found a hotel – we got the second to last room. So busy it is here.
    • Went out for some ice cream. I asked the info lady where’s the best place and she said “Cows”. And it was. I chose Moo Berry and Messie Bessie. Mom went with Moo Henry – dad would be proud. I should note that the kids working there wore shirts that read, “Milking Dead”, “Cow on Fire”, and “Keep Calm Graze On”. Cute.
    • Next, we grabbed our bathing suits and went for a dip in the 39 degree Upper Hot Springs. Not impressed. Seven dollars for an outdoor swimming pool. No one really likes the smell of sulphur, but I wasn’t expecting to smell a whole lot of chlorine, so it felt like we were in a large public hot tub. Oh well. Can’t win ‘em all, eh Banff.
    • Went to the Fairmont to take some more pics and maybe have a drink. Saw a very handsome deer instead and called it a night.

Thus concludes day 8.

Kilometres achieved: 260


*Seriously, everywhere I turn it seems blondes are running the show.


 Moms IMG_2704  Frontal Fairmont

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