Idyllic even in the rain. I loved everything about Banff National Park, from the springing deer crisscrossing our campsite to the piping sounds of golden-mantled ground squirrels all around. The misty mountains, the endless trees, even the heart-thumping thrill that a grizzly might be round any corner, searching for berries (or worse).
Banff was Canada’s first national park, established 135 years ago in 1885. Not long after, Chateau Lake Louise was built and the park’s renown with tourists was secured.
What I most loved about Banff wasn’t really the famous Lake Louise, thousands-of-selfies part though. The adventure and wilderness were the highlights, but the warm, buzzy atmosphere of Banff Town was just as memorable.
We were far away from home, but feeling at home.
We’d pass through the town on our way out to explore a lake or we’d return, exhausted and a bit muddy, from hiking a mountain trail and it would just feel like the town was giving us a big hug. A feeling that’s not easy to pin down.
The only exception to its charms? That would have to be the random late afternoon ‘lunch breaks’ all the bus drivers would take, seemingly at exactly the time we wanted to catch a lift.
But that’s the great thing about staying in any friendly country – hitchhiking!