We woke up early (7ish) and hit the road pretty quickly. Michael hadn’t been to a Tim Horton’s so we stopped there for our morning coffee. We weren’t impressed. It tasted like Dunkin coffee or Folgers, which I also don’t like. (Let the hate messages begin).
We hit the road in the hopes to get to our first stop pretty early, but we had about a 3 hour drive, so we figured it would put us in right around lunchtime, which isn’t ideal.
The smoke from the forest fires was really thick on our drive. In some places it smelled like we were in the fire. We couldn’t see any of the scenery which was a bummer. The iPhone actually does a great job of hiding the smoke in these photos:
The first stop was Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park. You’ve probably seen photos of this place. It’s beautiful. It’s also REALLY popular. We unfortunately arrived right after a couple of tour busses full of people. But the lake was beautiful, despite the thick layer of smoke that was still hanging around.
After Emerald Lake we stopped at “Natural Bridge” to see a place where the river had carved a bridge into the stone. It was a cool area to see:
Then it was on to Banff. I can’t tell you how excited I was to get back to Banff/Jasper. Sadly the smoke in the air was masking most of the scenery for us. We arrived at the entrance to Banff and turned left to go north. We’ll be spending the night at the Icefields Centre tonight. We arrived and easily found parking for the bus in their RV lot (which wasn’t full of passenger cars thankfully!). They allow overnight parking here for $15 CAN.
We decided to check out the Glacier Skywalk. One of those glass platforms hanging over a canyon like the one on the Grand Canyon. It was about $32 per person. I thought it was here at the Icefields Centre, but it turns out it’s about a 10 minute bus ride. No big deal. It was a pretty cool experience, but again, the smoke in the sky really masked what could have been an epic experience. Back to my comment from a few weeks ago that I can’t control the weather.
After the skywalk we walked around the Icefields Center for a bit and used their wifi to refine our plans for the next two days. Then it was back to the bus for some R&R, a couple of beers, and some dinner.