New Friends in Banff

Trip Start Jul 02, 2007
Trip End Sep 04, 2007

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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Saturday, July 14, 2007

Banff is an international resort area. I hear many European languages, Australian and British accents and of course Canadian sounds. Yes, Canadians do pepper sentences with "eh"! I stayed in Tunnel Mountain campgrounds just above the city of Banff. People are usually friendly at campgrounds and Tunnel is no exception. As I wandered to the showers, I chatted with a Dutch couple and a Canadian family. The couple left the next morning for The Netherlands but Sandy, John and their son Tyler stayed until Sunday.

Keesha and I went hiking near Lake Minnewanka, which means Water of the Spirits. People have been living along the shores of this lake for over 10,000 years.
First Nation people (the Canadian term fro Native American) revered and feared this lake. While we did not encounter any spirits that I know of, we become keenly aware of the wildlife around us. One trail was closed because it cuts through a berry rich area. Berries are what bears eat so the parks close off certain areas they know bears like to feed to protect both bears and people.

The days have been quite hot, in the 90's even, and I felt dusty and sticky after hiking. Sandy had told me the night before about Johnson Lake, the beach where the locals go to swim. As I stepped onto the beach, a happy voice called my name. It was Sandy. Their little dog, Scotty, ran circles around Keesha to greet her. I waded into the chill, glacier fed lake as Keesha lapped up the fresh water. It's always hard to dive into cold water, but I have a rule for myself. If I count to three, I've got to dive in. "One, two.........three" and I dove, the cold water shocking and refreshing.

Sandy and John had lived in Banff before moving to Calgary and still have friends here. One of them, a man named Heinz, came to swim with them and they planned to barbeque later that evening at Heinz's house. Heinz is a true traveler. He works for Canada Parks, and lives in Banff when he's not traveling to Belize or Costa Rica or somewhere to camp and travel. As we left, the area, Heinz invited me to join them. The food was wonderful; the beer was cold, and the view spectacular. Keesha and Scotty enjoyed lounging on the carper while Tyler read the fifth Harry Potter book in preparation for the movie. I enjoyed talking with new friends.

Each time I return to Tunnel Mountain campground, I stop by and say hi to this wonderful family, have a beer or two and sit around the fire, talking and laughing. I'll miss them at the next campground. Isn't it wonderful though, that people can meet and form a community in such a short time? The decal on the back of my Subaru says "Life is good." And it is.
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