Our first time in Banff National Park

August 23 Monday
Banff National Park has numerous campgrounds, and two in Lake Louise. We decided to establish ourselves in LL for a week. This puts us nearly at the center of a lot of great sites and hiking. Our choice was simply between tent or trailer campgrounds. Lunch and meet the neighbors and we toured LL’s Samson Mall. This is a small collection of small shops, just all you need and not much more. We thought we’d do wifi (hey, other people are) then learned it is a $5 fee. Instead we’ll connect occasionally with Verizon and pay by the megabyte.

Picture of Canadian Rockies in distance

Picture of Canadian Rockies in distance

Today is our first view of the Canadian Rockies and, so far, they are all they are cracked up to be. They became visible as soon as we cleared Calgary’s west side, and became more and more beautiful as the haze cleared. This was an early day for us. We previously checked and learned some sites were available in the LL campground. Instead of paying a $10 reservation fee we left Calgary at 0800 hours and, after driving 124 miles, arrived by 1100 hours.

One camper was completing his check-in as we pulled up to the attended kiosk. In minutes we were registered and on our way to our site. Two hours later, on our way to tour LL’s establishments, over a dozen motorhomes, truck campers, and trailers were queued up. Sure are glad we arrived before the rush. We avoided the reservation fee, increased our chances of landing a spot, and suffered no wait for registration. Love it when a plan works.

Two years ago this fall we stayed in a site adjacent to the busiest RR tracks in the U.S., in American Falls, Idaho. Every trans-American train pulled by that night, blowing her horns loudly for miles before and after. We are parked perhaps 200 meters from the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks. In our first hour we counted only three trains. And there must be a grade crossing up the tracks, because these trains are a-blowing too. Otherwise, we are in a beautiful setting over 5,000 feet above sea level. Our site is a large pull-through with 30 amp electrical service, a nice picnic table, partial shade, and washroom facilities nearby.

Picture of Mall parking in front of mountain ranges

Picture of Mall parking in front of mountain ranges

The day is cool and dry, mostly sunny, with temperatures approaching 65 F. We bought a newspaper and cup of coffee and wrote postcards, sitting at a table outside in the LL shopping area. We drove a little to see the Lake Louise Inn and the Post Inn. Nice tourist destinations, judging from the outsides. Returning to the campground we again saw more than a 1/2 hour line-up of campers waiting to register. We bypass this and stop by the showers on our way in. As many people as are flocking to this campground the one shower facility might become very busy in a little while. Deb still waits for one of the four ladies’ shower stalls, but Jim finds two of the five men’s showers available.

We have new campsite neighbors, Conrad and Katerina, from Hamburg, Germany. They are in their third of five weeks in B.C. and Alberta. They are touring in a rental RV, a 24′ class-C they picked up in Vancouver. This is their first time in North America. We asked them to compare the Rockies to the Alps and touring Canada to touring Europe. “The difference is simple”, they said. “It is more peaceful and open in Canada, not as compact and busy. There is more space here.”

Also we met Neal and Michelle from Sequim, Wa, also parked nearby. They are Airstreamers, too, and touring a little while in Canada. We’ve had several chats with Neal about our RVs and modifications, backpacking in Olympic National Forest, and traveling Canada. Neal’s going to email us information about storing our rig if we tour the Washington peninsula.

Jim and Debbie
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