A Travellerspoint blog

Banff and Tunnel Mountain


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We have arrived to one of the most awaited section of our trip: the Rockies and specifically Banff. Not as if we are much into crowded, touristic places but we have a special bond with mountains. Our favourite trips in the past were the ones in Austria into the Alps, we even spent an unforgettable Christmas there. So we were very excited! All the campsites were fully booked months ago in the area but we managed to get sites for 6 days in Tunnel Mountain, Banff with one small compromise: after the first two days we had to move to another site within the camp for every other night.

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As we came from Cochrane (not too far away) we got to the campsite at 1pm. We have seen a large elk on our way and the weather was nice to us: it was raining during our drive and we even passed through a large storm with heavy rain but right after our arrival it stopped raining. So the setup of the trailer was a dry excersise this time. After setting up the camper we went to a teaser drive to a lookout at Surprise Corner Viewpoint overlooking the famous Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and the scenic bend of the Bow River.

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After the lookout we drove uphill to Mt Norquay Lookout and on our first scenic stop we bumped into a wedding photo session. It nicely complemented the beautiful scenery.

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Afterwards we still felt ready for a short walk. So we drove to the free public parking at the bus station in Banff and walked along the river. Echo got unusually excited at one point and after about 50 meters of struggling with the dog we have noticed the reason for his odd excitement: two deers approaching. They were walking literally on the pathway and they were staring at Echo but not afraid at all, even walking closer and closer to us. What a welcome!

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In the evening it got cold (being 10 C and I know, most locals still walked in t-shirts and flip-flops but we needed 3 layers AND the raincoat to save us from freezing.) The heater in the trailer was on for the night.

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The next day we started around 10:30 and walked straight from the campsite towards Tunnel Mountain. First we took the trail running paralell the Tunnel Mountain Road then turned left to Tunnel Mountain Drive and after about 2 kms we arrived to the trail leading to the summit. It was about 2 kms from here uphill with an elevation of 222m (from 1470 to 1692m) but the kids did all right. I was carrying Akos and Zsuzsa was carrying an equally heavy backpack with raincoats, water and sandwiches. The view was getting better and better and at the top it was very very beautiful. You can see the whole of Banff and the Bow river several times all different directions.

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These pictures are far from the real beauty your eyes can see.

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After hiking back to our camper we had a good rest and late lunch (hot dogs). Then we drove to Lake Minnewanka (15 mins from the campsite). The day use area was quite full of people and at least 3-4 photosessions were running in paralell. Echo got quite excited again but we haven't spotted any wildlife, we assume they come to the area to pick up picknick leftovers in the evenings and their smell was too interesting for our dog.

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The evening campfire was closing off our day full of adventure.

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Posted by divatmotoros 11:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Bow Riversedge campground, Cochrane


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We stopped for 3 nights at Cochrane before we headed to Banff.

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The nice riverside campground was a good spot for relaxing, running (2nd time in August, not a very intense training programme...) and dog walking. There were lots of dogs on the off-leash riverside. We met two ridgebacks with a local lady and there was another old ridgeback in the campsite so hard to tell it is a rare breed! (No photos of the other ridgies unfortunately).

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The kids enjoyed their scooters on the paved roads of the campsite and we did a large stockup at Costco.

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I also had to replace our kitchen faucet as it started to leak heavily at the bottom of it. Despite the measuring I bought a faucet which was 2 cms too high so had to go back to the shop and replace to a smaller unit. Finally it worked out fine, another update to the maintenance post.
We made a nice steak and using open fire we cooked traditional eggplant cream. Yummie!!

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Next stop is Banff!!

Posted by divatmotoros 10:48 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Drumheller Dinos at Badland


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Before we left the beautiful offgrid weekend at Burnstick Lake with the help of my friend we changed the old spare wheel of our trailer to the newly bought tire. After installing the wheel we noticed an unusual movement so I decided to have it checked. I called two RV services without luck as they were booked ahead until 2-3 weeks. The third option was Bucars RV where they assured they can check and if needed fix our bearings. The bearings needed a repack and greasing anyway so we dropped of the trailer and decided to drive to Drumheller for a day trip.

The Drumheller portion of the Red Deer River valley, often referred to as Dinosaur Valley, has an approximate width of 2 kilometres and an approximate length of 28 kilometres. It is called badland, which are a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded. Arriving to the valley is almost an extraterrestrial experience. You are driving on a "normal" countryside road with sunflowers and wheat on the sides when suddenly you arrive to a deep and wide valley where it looks like the earth cracked wide open.

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Then we drove to the Tourist Information booth which is a giant dinosaurus. Quite possibly the largest in the world... :)

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With our limited time on hand (we had to get back to pick up the trailer between 17:00 and 18:00) we decided to check the Royal Tyrell Museum. Although our kids are not much into dinos they enjoyed the dino skeletons and fossils. The museum is definetely worth visiting and you can easily spend even more days in Drumheller and its area. The views are also stunning with clearly visible geological layers.

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On the streets of Drumheller we have seen several other dinos.

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Then it was time to go and we got back to Bucars just on time to pick up the trailer (another update to the maintenance post). In the evening we were pampered by a real Hungarian "húsleves" by our friends, Évi and Gyuri. They are so caring and great hosts offering us all kinds of help. Gyuri even offered to lend me his kayak for our next leg: Banff and the Rockies!

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We have received lots of maps and good advise from Évi, a big box of Hungarian books for Ábel (half of which is already read by him). We also agreed to spend another weekend together around Jasper so really exciting times ahead!

Posted by divatmotoros 02:08 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Calgary Downtown and Sam Livingstone Fish Hatchery

Bow Habitat Station


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Today was rainy and the forecast promised a few hours free of rain midday so we looked for an indoor activity. We picked a small aquarium next to the Bow River in East Calgary and visited the Sam Livingstone Fish Hatchery and Bow Habitat Station.

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There are two stories in the building and at the lower there are several aquariums with the different fish of Alberta. Even our one year old kid was very happy and cheered loudly the slowly moving fish. Abels favourite was the huge fish with buttons and we learnt together the inner and outer parts of fish in English.

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Then on the upper level there are lots of interesting displays of how water could be saved and many interactive exhibits about the environment protection and the animals of Alberta. We could even see the large tanks with 7 months old trouts which are raised at the hatchery. Later they will be transported by large tankers to lakes.

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After visiting the hatchery we went outside and the rain stopped so we had a nice picnic lunch. Afterwards we walked on the pathways to the river where we found a nicely built rowing section with fast currents.

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Several people trained there in kayaks and even surfing was possible on a large standing wave. While we were freezing in long sleeves locals wete sitting IN the water, which was quite cold. Abel was checking the neighbouring wildlife.

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We drve to downtown to have a feel of Calgary which seems the most vibrant city of Canada for now. Lots of people moving in, businesses growing and in general you can feel the energy. St Johns was the opposite in feelings, although we liked it but that city seemed mote in a downward trend.

We have seen the bull in front of the Stock Exchange building.

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Then we visited the huge human head called The Wonderland Sculpture in front of the highridr building The Bow.

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Posted by divatmotoros 10:39 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Burnstick Lake - Toyhauler weekend


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We do not need any better amusement park than a toyhauler and our trailer parked far away from civilisation in the forest, good friends, good food and good mood! It was all happening last weekend when we followed the recommendation of our long friends from Budapest now linving and camping in Canada. We agreed to meet at their favourite place at Burnstick Lake and I was very excited to see them again. We arrived a bit earlier and there were wild horses on the agreed spot in the forest. See them behind Echo:

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Later those walked away peacefully and we heard a lot of wolfs howling in the distance later in the evening. They took their huge dog with them and the two dogs were playing almost all time of the weekend. They enjoyed it a lot and Echo was sleeping for two days after the weekend!

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It was also more than 8 years that I was last riding a motorbike so the quad he took seemed like a good compromise. It was surprisingly hard to keep that beast on the trail especially when the trail was inclined to the side or was muddy. I was ending once sideways in a big puddle and had to struggle backwards for minutes to get back on track. Much harder than it seems on rough roads! My friends 14 years old daugter was speeding and sliding with the squad like a superstar, I was not able to master it during this weekend. I still had a lot of fun! I also tried the dirtbikes (a smaller one and a large KTM as well) and that was scary as hell too! I was always riding on concrete before so doing 60-70 kmh on a dirt road was frightening! These bikes are capable of much more than I did and it was also proven by my friend and his 12 year old son who was zig-zagging on the dirt roads with the smaller (but very powerful) dirtbike.

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In the evenings we cooked traditional Canadian (BBQ) and Hungarian food (lecsó) and listened to our joint favourite music (hungarian alternative bands like Kispál és a Borz, Quimby and Császári Pillanatművek)

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The weather was nice to us and we used the kayaks and floaties as well, not only the kids enjoyed the real summer activities. The lake was also surprisingly pleasant, not too cold.

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Posted by divatmotoros 04:12 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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