You'll be pleased to hear that I was not nearly eaten by a wolf in the night on this day.
Probably because we had scared them all off with our drunken campfire nonsense the evening before. Oops.
Even so, Emma and Sarah and I got up nice and early so we could have a look at the viewpoint just across the road from the campsite. It's safe to say that some sites were better than others and this was one of them.
Michele and I wanted to make the most of being in the national park section of our trip so we chose to hike up the same mountain that the Banff gondola climbs.
The plan was to hike up and down again and then head to the hot springs - my recipe for a perfect day!
And it started off well enough. The hike was a little boring; just switchbacks all the way up to the top on the same side of the mountain the whole way. It was quite steep too and my legs hadn't quite recovered from the epic Lake Louise hike from the previous day. But the weather was nice and we got teasing glimpses of the views to come between the trees.
We reached the top to my absolute, utter joy.. and saw the storm begin to roll in.
And then this happened.
That rain cloud was upon us in seconds and we were drenched as we ran back towards the shelter of the gondola station. There was absolutely no way I was walking down again in that weather and I just wanted to get to the springs as quickly as possible so we caught the gondola on the way down, admiring the stunning views across the park...
The wind picked up and our car began to bounce and sway as we went down! I love turbulence so I was absolutely loving it (I definitely think I'm immortal).
By the time we reached the bottom, the rain was absolutely hurtling down and Michele didn't have a waterproof coat so we waited miserably under the shelter, waiting for it to clear enough for us to dash to the springs.
I didn't take any pictures because swimming pool. But it basically looked like this at the springs, sunshine and all (yes, that's right, the treacherous weather turned just as we got into the lovely hot water. It also turned back to rain as soon as we left the springs and started walking back down to the carpark. Bloody bugger.)
The sun was out again once we hit Banff town. Where I did a LOT of souvenir hunting. We started in the farmers market before grabbing focaccia for lunch at Wild Flour which was a really great little spot. Then I bought a cuddly ground squirrel (for myself, of course), a t-shirt (also for myself but in the end I gave it to Michele because, awks, he thought it was a present for him), a top for myself and a load of vintage postcards.
Before dinner, we nipped back to the campsite for showers and getting dressed up (nope, wasn't happening by that point).
Now, you might have noticed that in the second photo of this post, Sarah has a log with a face drawn on it in her lap. This was part of the (oh so controversial) game we played at Banff - Save My Baby.
We each adopted a log upon arrival and had to guard it with our lives so that it didn't get murdered by the other members of the group. Many were sacrificed to the fire, some thrown at trees and others... well.
Whilst Meg was showering before dinner, Sarah snuck into her cubicle and stole her log from underneath her clothes. It was then drowned in the sink, brought back to the group and split in half with an axe. Absolutely brutal.
Five minutes later, Sam came back from the shower block, saying he had heard Meg screaming from the men's room. Five minutes after that she stormed back to the tents: "They stole my baby! Whilst I was in the shower! They could have seen me naked!!" We were falling apart laughing.
For dinner we headed back into the town and ate pizza at Bear Street Tavern.
I shared the garlic bread starter with marinara and garlic dips (so good!) and had the mushroom and truffle pizza. The toppings were so delicious but the pizza base wasn't as springy as I'd like it to have been - but then no pizza will ever compare to the pizza I ate in Italy!
And then to finish our time in Banff (that bloody sun still shining away, exactly when we didn't need it to but y'know, it was pretty I suppose), we headed to a bar and played pool and drank tequila and whiskey.
I can definitely see myself going back there.