Monday, 7 June 2010

Closed walks and hot springs

MP3 track of the day - Fix you - Coldplay

Weather: I'll let Peter Kay explain

I had planned to sleep in today as I was pretty tired; I was up until midnight chatting to Rosie and then we said our goodbyes as she was off east in the morning and I'll be heading west. However my long sleep got interrupted by someone packing up early in the morning and making a noise ... still I can't say anything, I wasn't particularly quite when I was getting ready to go out.

Breakfast is included with this hostel; however breakfast is a huge bowl of pancake mixture that you have to cook yourself (and everyone from the hostel just dips in) and so I passed breakfast ... I had a twix.

Yesterday I had planned the walks I was going to do today; firstly I was going to head west to the 'Fenland Loop', then off south-west to the 'Marsh Loop', adding the 'Cave and Basin Trail', and then back into Banff for lunch before heading east along the 'Bow Falls - Tunnel Mountain' hike ending in the north off banff near to my hostel ... magic!

However when I arrived at the 'Fenland Loop' walk there was a bear warning. It read:

There is a female grizzly bear active within this area hunting Elk's ... be on your guard - Parks Canada.

Now I've only been in the Rockies for a week, therefore I respect, and listen to, the experts (Park Canada). When they say 'be on your guard' I kind of listen. Actually I respect most professionals (police, doctors, nurses etc) and listen to what they say, I also believe that speed limits are there for a reason (apart from motorway road work speed restrictions ... anyone ever seen a maintenance guy working on the motorway?)

Thinking about it, if a Grizzly was looking for lunch (Elk's) I didn't want to be it! I was staring at two options: firstly I could get the electric guitar out again and start playing 'November Rain' or I could depart and head to the next walk.

So I arrived at my next walk only to be greeted by the same sign (actually if I had read the map at the first sign properly I would have know that this walk was within the same area). Therefore I turned around and headed to my final walk (Bow Falls - Tunnel Mountain) early.

Luckily no sign was in place and so I went along the edge of Bow river, the falls and the Fairmount Banff hotel (which I must say is a damn sight better than the Lake Louise one). The walk along the river was cool; there was no one around and that was a welcome change considering the amount of people in Banff town centre. I even extended the walk to take in the 'Hoodoos' walk' which left me very north of Banff.

I arrived back at my hostel around lunch wondering what to do next; luckily Rosie mentioned that the hot springs around here were fantastic and I must go. Thinking about it this was my last day in the Rockies, I had hiked for seven days and so a dip in some springs was probably a great way to end my visit to the Rockies (plus it was pretty cheap and the shower didn't work in my dorm).

I headed into town with only a towel, trunks and my guidebook. After having lunch I walked to the springs which took me forever ... they better be worth it! The springs were certainly worth it; there was one pool outside with the water temperature at 39oc; the view from the springs was fantastic ... an entire snow-tipped mountain range to look at. The guidance on the wall stated that they recommended a maximum stay of 20 minutes ... not likely after I've paid $7.50 (£5.00) pal! So I sat down and tried to doz off.

2 hours later I got out of the water and headed back to the hostel. The springs were brilliant, just what I needed and a great way to spend the afternoon ... however they were not as good as the baths in Budapest. In Budapest there were more than one pool in the baths and they were all set to different temperatures; the baths building in Budapest was beautiful and that experience is still one of my 'top 10 travelling' experiences of all time (well for the last year since I've been travelling).

Heading back to the hostel I thought I would feel revitalised with energy after my dip; however I felt shattered and so I went to the local supermarket (didn't buy any cake!) and got some supplies for the coach tomorrow. I then headed back to my hostel and then off to a local restaurant that does a $6.00 meal each night (last night was Sunday roast, tonight was beef curry ... yum).

I'm now off to bed; it's only 9:00pm but I don't care ... I need to get up early tomorrow as I have a 12hr bus ride.

See you lot in Vancouver

Toodle Pip!

Oh P.S. there are hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of Orientals, Aussies and French-Canadians in the Rockies. Every where I go I get some stupid Chinese idiot standing in the way of my perfect shot, posing for the 1,276th time with two fingers making the 'V for victory' sign ... why! I now believe that if I was in China at the moment I would be the only person there.

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