Trip Start Jan 09, 2004
Trip End Jul 14, 2004

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Monday, January 26, 2004

This morning I woke up at 6:45, scrambling to have a shower and prepare to head up to Banff today. I figured I had to catch the bus at 7:40 in order to be there by 8:30, the bus from the university was due to leave just before nine. At 7:30, in a state of semi-dress, I realized I had the bus times confused and I didn't actually have to leave until 8:25. So I collapsed back into bed and set my alarm for half an hour later. After hitting the snooze a bit I eventually dragged myself out of bed, seriously considering the possibility of ditching the trip in exchange for a good Saturday of sleep. But I'd paid my 15 dollars bus fare, so I persisted.

I walked out of the back door and was rewarded by my first Canadian snowfall. Snowflakes were dancing in front of my eyes, and a fresh blanket of powder covered the path which had been dangerously icy since my arrival. I jogged down to the bus stop, something I certainly wouldn't have attempted the day before. The fresh snow crunched beneath my feet as I looked at the landscape transformed. I love snow! I either like it sweltering with sunshine or fresh with snow, either extreme brings a smile to my face. So I decided it was going to be a great day. And it was.

I went up on a bus full of international students today, including about half a dozen Australians. Two of whom I hung out with all day - Mal and Chelsea. I also met a cool chick called Marie from Toulouse who has promised to help me improve my French. So I had some excellent company, as well as sensational scenery.

I was hoping to hit the slopes today but it ended up being minus twenty five and snowing, plus the costs of half a day were pretty inhibitive. So I ended up hiking up a couple of trails, stopping at the hot springs and a couple of pubs on the way. Mal is now a PE teacher, but when he was studying he lived in BC for a while and has been to Banff before. So he led us to the Bow Waterfalls, and we saw the river in a largely frozen state. I have to say I didn't see any water falling but it was still amazing. We ended up hiking a fair way from the main town in the freezing cold which was a little intimidating but all the more of an experience. You know how they talk about a tree falling in the woods? Well, we would have been able to hear it. The snow was so fresh; it seemed as if we were the only people who had ever been through these places. We hiked for a good hour, and eventually made our way after several detours to the hot springs. Chelsea forgot her bathers and refused to hire some, so I have some photos! Then we abandoned our warmth and lethargy in a trek back down into Banff town, stopping for sustenance at a couple of ridiculously expensive chalet pubs on the way.

I'm so lucky to be here - I think this is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. Cities are a wonder but I find nothing more inspiring than vast expanses of nature - and the opportunity to explore. As much as I loved my life in Australia I don't regret coming here one bit, what I've experienced so far is worth sacrificing the stability. I love it. I'm thinking I could rent a place in Canmore, get some skis and a Siberian Husky and be very, very happy.

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