THE FUTURE OF MEDIA.
This adds a whole new level to the referendum.
Also interested in that list. (Although, for now, the hi res photo offers a few decipherable titles.)
Ze Burglar of Banf-f-f
A few months ago, I was curious how much tickets from Manchester to NY were over the summer. I picked a random date that I thought might be cheap and set the engine to find a flight, expecting a ridiculously unaffordable price. But instead, by some witchcraft magik, a flight that was half the price of all the others appeared before my eyes. So, I bought it. Impulse purchases are the best.
And then I realised that I didn’t exactly have a way to get back home from NY. But I thought about it - why do I have to fly back from NY? What if I hopped somewhere really cool, and flew back from there? What if I visited my friend where she lives in Canada? And so, my very cheap flight became very expensive as I bought a flight to Calgary and then from Calgary to Manchester. Impulse purchases are the best?
After my whirlwind week in LI/BKLN/PA, I boarded the plane to Calgary. The plane was an hour late departing, and I very very very nearly missed my bus from the airport to Banff, which would have been terrible because it was the last bus of the night. But luckily the man at customs didn’t detain me (although that was a close call) and my baggage was already on the carousel (miracles do happen!), and my legs had the ability to run to the bus (my lungs on the other hand…). It was a two hour drive in the dark to my friend’s house, so I could really only see the highway, which looks like any old American highway, which I guess should kinda be expected considering they’re attached, but I dunno, I expected something that screamed “welcome to Mountie Land!” So after about 20 minutes, all I could see was the insides of my eyelids. I woke once we got into Banff and the driver asked me if we were close to the house, but I obviously had no idea. I figured we had a few more stops before mine, so when he pulled to a stop on a street, I didn’t know to get up. Until I saw my friend through the window of her house flying out the door and down the street to the bus. Say it with me, awwwwwwww. After a happy reunion, we realised that it was well past midnight at this point, so we did little but went to bed.
The next day, I awoke to see a GIANT MOUNTAIN outside her window. I couldn’t see anything in the dark the night before, so I was legitimately shocked to see this. It honestly didn’t look real - the whole town looks like someone painted a magical backdrop for it. It’s incredible. I mean, just look at it.
We headed into town to rent a car so that we could drive to the nearby lakes. First was Lake Louise. I’ve never seen a blue so blue.
The water is all glacier water running off that GIANT MOUNTAIN in the background. Which I promise is real, and not some painted optical illusion.
We walked around the lake to the far end. About halfway down, we wondered if we shouldn’t turn back, since the view wasn’t really going to change, but we continued on anyway. And that happened to be the best decision ever. At the end was a rocky shore-type-thing, and we decided to climb down to one and have a rest. There was a family behind us, and the little boy was running around. We turned to look, and discovered that he wasn’t just being a kid, he was feeding chipmunks. There were chipmunks everywhere! Fun fact we learnt: apparently, chipmunks live in rocks. And really like little boy’s granola bars. We, of course, got in on the action.
This is the best photo I’ve ever taken.
After this chipmunk funfest, we drove over to Lake Morraine. This lake wasn’t as breathtaking as Lake Louise, but it’s still incredible.
Right next to this pile of seemingly random logs was a big rocky hill that people were climbing. We thought it looked dangerous and stupid to do that, but, well, you can see where this is going.
This picture makes the hill look much more tame than it actually was, which is good, since my parents are the only ones that read this blog anyway.
So, that seemingly random pile of logs turned out to be how you climbed over to the hill - a natural bridge, one might say. One false step and you were shin-deep in freezing cold glacier water. (On the way back, SPLASH! The young boy behind me felt the wrath of the lake. He said it wasn’t as cold as he was expecting. Poor kid.) We used the logs as a obstacle course of balance beams, then wound our way up the rocks. Halfway up, conscious now that chipmunks live in rocks, and armed with the Cheez-Its I brought for Hannah to try the best American goodie, we spotted our little friend. Hannah made the first offering:
And we were BFFS from there on out.
At one point, a lady a bit further down the hill from us called to get our attention. ”Look, there’s a chipmunk!” She screamed, as she pointed to a rock near her. I pointed back to the one IN MY HAND and she told me to move my big head out of the way so she could get a better picture. True. We decided that it was time to say goodbye to our new friend, so we stopped getting him more Cheez-Its. Except he was still hungry, so he started licking the cheese powder off our fingers. I swear, this is also true. I plan on writing to Sunshine Biscuits and telling them how much adorable rodents love their crackers.
Once we got to the top and saw the gorgeous view, we realised that there was actually a path that you could take, with man-made steps and everything, around the back of the hill. Oops.
We walked a bit on the path and a little way down the back of the hill saw what appeared to be a rogue hamster. Like someone no longer wanted their pet, and so dumped it on the mountain. We chased after it to get a closer look, but couldn’t find him. People were starting to stare at us, so we walked back up to the path, and that’s when we noticed the sign that said “please don’t leave the trail, dangerous.” Oops. We googled it later, and it turns out that the forlorn pet was actually a pika. SO CUTE. I want one. I googled it just now, and apparently they don’t do very well as pets. Damn.
Further up the path, we found more chipmunks and we shared our Cheez-It glory with them. We also did a bit of NatGeo photography.
There was a smaller chipmunk with bigger stripes there as well, which we thought might be a baby, and maybe they lose their stripes as they age. We googled this as well, and it turns out that it was a different kind of chipmunk! Which just proves to show that racism is a social construct.
Regular (Eastern) chipmunk (back) with his friend the Western chipmunk (front)
After this incredible hike, we drove back into town to pick up dinner. We got takeaway from a local place, then drove out to Lake Minnewanka to eat. We found a little rocky shoreline, where, weirdly enough, scuba diving was allowed. We started to eat, looking around at the amazing view, when all of a sudden we heard nothing. Literal, complete silence. It was incredible.
The next day, after a slow start of hashbrowns and Babar, we decided to take on Tunnel Mountain, a mountain right behind Hannah’s house (like, literally down the street). The whole time I was there, I was joking that I was going to go back and tell everyone that I hiked the Rockies. But then we actually did hike the Rockies. Compared to the other mountains, Tunnel is more of a hill, but it’s still about a mile high if mountains could be measured like that.
The hike was ridiculously tough, because of the thin air and 85 degree heat and my out of shapeness, but it was worth it.
Banff and the Bow River from the top of Tunnel
Around the back of the mountain, there was a great view of my new favourite mountain, Mount Rundle. Just look at it. It’s awesome.
We hiked back down, washed all the sweat off, and wandered around town for a bit. Later that day, while sitting in Hannah’s living room, her flatmate comes in from the balcony saying “have you guys noticed this?” and there was a GIANT deer in the yard.
I probably shouldn’t have been so wowed by a deer because there were loads in Ithaca, but this thing was super huge.
The next morning I we went back into town for lunch, and then I had to say goodbye to the wonderful place that is Banff. And after 23 hours of travel later, and 3 days of serious jetlag, I write this post from Jolly Old.
P.S. I really really really want to go back to Banff in the winter, if anyone wants to fund that.