Well we lucked out again with our campsite. Brad and I stopped by the visitor center at Lake Louise Village and got advice about first come, first served campsites. Originally when we checked in at Lake Louise they let us know about “Mosquito campground” within Banff National Park which is quite a distance from the Lake Louise area and is a “primitive” site. Primitive in camping terms can mean different things but generally it means no water and vault or pit toilets. Later at the visitor center the staff member told us about “Kicking Horse” campground which is in neighboring Yoho National Park. It was just a 20 minute drive. We arrived early (before 8:00 AM) and had a site by 9:00 AM. I think we were 3rd or 4th in line! In any case we were in the tent campgrounds, under trees, pretty near the bathrooms and showers and could easily hear the raging torrent of the river which was just a few steps from us. Nice!
We’ve been camping in a tent about 14 nights with a few breaks in between. Honestly I am surprised I am not out of my mind from all the camping. Thank goodness for the air mattress. I doubt would do so well without it. It’s basically pretty comfortable, and except for the thunderstorms we have had, it has been very manageable. Of course we don’t normally cook.For the record, we drink instant coffee with sugar and whipping cream or half and half with our breakfast which has been fruit and yogurt. We pack a snack of cheese, nuts and crunchy veggies like radishes or carrots and sometimes bring preserved meat like salami or processed meat like turkey for our hikes. We’ve been hiking between 5 miles and 9 miles most days so snacks are needed. Lunch is almost always what I call “lunch/dinner” and we typically share our meal. A big salad and a main course. Main course could be a burger, meat loaf, Mexican (if we can get it), it depends. We don’t eat dinner typically just snack and sleep. Of course here in Canada the sun goes down at 10:00 PM so we are a bit off schedule.
Afternoons at the campsite are spent reading writing or creating. I am trying to learn to paint with water color paints. Frankly I suck, but I enjoy the practice and maybe I can turn out a birthday card or similar in the future. Mostly we need time to relax in the afternoon. We talk and plan our future and sometimes we nap.
So from “Kicking Horse” campground we hiked the local historic trail the follows the original trail the workers walked when they were building the local stretch of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The tracks go from the east to the west and are critical for transportation. It is clear that the railway is important because the trains run all the time. Basically there is a train every day, each direction pretty constantly. Amazingly the trains are two miles long. At least that’s what the traffic control guy said when we were stopped waiting for the train to pass. He said “It takes 10 minutes, it’s two mile long.” It’s pretty remarkable. In any case hiking the local campsite trail was fun and interesting. At the end there is an abandoned narrow gauge steam engine to see. It was used when they built a few tunnels for the trains. The hike was steep but short and the payoff fun.
We also hiked up to Stanley Glacier in Kootenay National Forest which is super close to both Yoho and Banff. Kicking Horse ended up being the best possible location to see the parks and enjoy a good nights sleep.