Instagram IRL: Banff National Park
Banff was one of the main reasons we even went on this trip. The majority of the pictures that motivated us to get outdoors were from Banff and the town had always been on my radar as a “must visit”. When we arrived it exceeded expectations with views of Mt. Rundle and the Vermillion Lakes. It felt like we were in a Euro-Canadian melting pot of a ski village resort town that hadn’t sold out too much.
Our first hour in town, we decided to treat ourselves to what would be known as the greatest reuben sandwiches ever made and then made our way to our campsite to set up. We decided to set up ground tent instead of roof tent to maximize our exploration capacity. Like Jasper, the unlimited firewood policy was the same. However the fire pits were bigger and our campsite was better. We were overwhelmed with how nice it was. Unfortunately, the rain followed us and came and went sporadically during our stay.
We hit all the major tourist traps, like Johnston Canyon and Lake Louise, but we came to find most of the places we saw in pictures were not as secluded or hard to access as one might be led to believe. We did our fair share of hiking, the highlight being our challenging ascent up Sulphur Mountain and the extremely rewarding (and boozy) gondola ride down. Each night, we retired to our campsite where we would unwind by a big, blazing campfire.
Overall, our time in Banff felt like a celebration of the trip as a whole and served as a great conclusion to our adventure. Our final night in Canada, we visited a local brewery to sample all the beers and finally try the national delicacy - poutine. As they say, all good things must come to an end, and this ending was good. Although it was technically the end of our planned trip, we continued back to Colorado where we started easing our way into reality.