August long weekend camping trip, part 2

Yesterday, I told you about the awesomeness that is the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Today is all about mountains, because we went to Banff.


We camped just outside of the town of Banff, so, naturally, we had to do a few things while in the area, like head up to the top of Sulphur Mountain. I’ve been there before, but that was 4 years ago and I thought it would be nice to have a second look at the amazing views and stunning mountain ranges. It was worth paying to go up again (we used the gondola, but you can hike up for free). We walked all around the back side of the building and then all the way to the historic weather tower at the peak. It was crowded, but it’s hard to care when your surrounded by so many beautiful mountains. Also, I love to peak inside the weather tower. I know it doesn’t change, but it still makes me happy to think that there was a time when people put with with the trials of living on a mountain top to monitor weather. I think that would be a tough job is a tiny stone building, especially in the winter.

Inside the Sulphur Mountain weather station
Sorry for the blur on the right side – between the glaring sun and all the writing people have done on the Plexiglas, it was hard to get a decent picture.
Sulphur Mountain weather station
I took this same picture with my Instax, and the sun came out as a black dot. It’s pretty neat.
Sulphur Mountain weather station (on the peak)
That wee speck on the peak is the weather tower.

Someday, I’d like to hike up the mountain. I think it would be a tough but do-able challenge.

After the mountain, we also made a few pit-stops in the town of Banff (David’s Tea for me, an interesting candy shop for her, etc.) and went to check-in at the camp site and at least get the tent up.

Then, we went to the Banff Upper Hot Springs. It’s not really “hot springs”, but a pool that’s been heated by the hot springs (though, there’s a tiny waterfall of water from the hot springs in the parking lot, where you can soak your feet). I was pretty neutral about going. It did mean having to buy a bathing suit, but my cousin was really keen to go, so I didn’t mind. That is, I didn’t mind until we got there, found out a power outage had forced them to close temporarily and then waited 30 minutes, another 30 minutes, 10 minutes, hopefully just another 20 minutes, etc, until it added up to 2 hours of standing in line with 2 rambunctious (though well behaved) boys, a lot of loud people (including at least one very loud father who thought he was hilarious, but was actually annoying almost to the point of being offensive), and a family behind me who did not know the meaning of personal space. I was so incredibly grumpy by the time we got in, I could hardly speak to my cousin because I was on the verge of spitting out venom (I’m not really a people person; society would label me as an introvert).

Mountain ranges, from the top of Sulphur Mountain

Was it worth it? No. But, it was nice enough that I could see standing in line for about 30 minutes or so. I’d really love to visit a real hot spring someday (do I hear Iceland calling?!), but this is nice enough. And, hey, my cousin paid for it and was happy. Also, we got out just in time. We were just walking back in, when the power went out again. Good timing!

Just in case we weren’t tired enough, mother nature decided to be a bit cranky and rain. We had a hell of a time getting a fire going with the wet wood and had to retreat to the car for about 20 minutes at one point (cars are quicker and easier to get into, compared to tents). But, we did mange to have a very late hot dog roast and a decent night’s sleep.

In the end, it was a long day, but it was good (yes, even with the dreaded wait for the hot springs). I was still pretty excited for the whole camping trip, so I even put up with my cousin trying to hog the whole mattress.

Mountain ranges, from the top of Sulphur Mountain

Here’s a bonus picture of a cloud shaped like the head of a raptor. We saw a bunny shaped cloud the next day.

Eagle head cloud

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