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Saturday, June 17, 2006

1 of 5 Getaways from the getaway

As my time here in the west, in Banff National Park, in Banff winds down I have set out several goals to achieve while I am still here. A few float trips down the Bow river to Canmore, several bicycle camping/hostel trips, some hiking, a couple of road trips, and my last trip should be a bicycle trip between Banff and Jasper but I haven't decided in which direction to go yet.

My weekend just finished, today is my Sunday, even though it's Friday. So much has happened once again that I feel my two . five days has been forever. On Wednesday(my Friday) it was a toss up between camping at one of two sites, going to Canmore hostel or Castle hostel. The choice was made. This trip was going to be a bicycle trip to Castle Mountain Hostel. I felt as though I wasn't going to go on my Friday though. I was a bit pokey as I always am. I get distracted. But I did it. I packed up my bicycle bags, panniers they are called(for some reason, people think I am saying panties). One with food, one with some books, binos, boots, another with a blanket and raingear, and the last with clothing. Two on front(the light ones) and two in rear(heavy). And what happens when I make plans to go on a trip where I will be travelling for an extended period of time OUTSIDE.....the weather goes to rat shit.

After I packed I went downtown to buy some food and let my friends in on my plan. A thunder storm hit. A big one. A long one. I can't believe it. It happens on every trip it seems. So I ate a sandwich after shopping and waited the storm out. I think it was all clear by 6:30 and off I went. I tried to take it slow so I would get too much of the sprayback from my bike tires. Made several stops along the Bow Valley Parkway to read to exhibits, enjoy the scenery, etc. I arrived at Castle Mountain HI Hostel just after 8:30pm. I would love to describe it but you will have to see it for yourself. The lounge blew me away, the view, the comfort, the fireplace. It was the right decision to go there. After a good nights sleep I hiked up to Rockbound Lake(#21) on a very rainy day. Didn't see a single person. Utter paradise. I even took a nap under a clutch of trees where it was still dry, while it was pouring and windy out of the cover. Rockbound was beautiful. The purple saxifrage that was growing along the shoreline was vibrant. I love wildflowers. There was also a bald-eagle flying near Tower Lake. And....and...I went along the shore of Rockbound to see it's drainage. Wow. You can't. It's draining through karst. An underground cave system is it's draining point. About half way down the old canyon the river comes out from the cliff and down it goes. It was the coolest.

Back at the hostel that night, chatted it up with Tony, the hostel manager. He's been a hosteler for 28 years. He had a great deal of insight to share with my future endeavours of starting a hostel in Newfoundland. I've made some notes and will put them to good use. Check out Castle Mountain. It's definitely top 5 of the 30 or more hostels I've been to.

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