Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Friday June 18 2004, Glacier to Banff, (Canada)

The coldest start yet today - it was minus 2 degrees last night. It's Jon's birthday today, and I'm on the drag as usual, but we get away at a reasonable time and cross the border into Canada - the province of Alberta. Relatively quick and pain-free border crossing. After a grocery stop and lunch, we cross into Calgary. Pleasant enough, and quite a prosperous city. Eventually we reach Banff, stopping off at the visitor centre. Our campsite is in a very impressive location at the foot of a mountain.


Got home to the campsite, very drunk having gone out for Jon's birthday. Haven't had quite so much beer in ages!

Thursday June 17 2004, Glacier


A very cold, sleepless night, what with the wind, rain and bear and mouse related distractions. My shower at the campsite costs $2 dollars and lasts about 8 1/2 minutes, but feels more like 8 1/2 seconds. The warmth is welcome however. I grab a coffee outside the Swift Current Motor Inn, and take a short 1.8km hike with Astrid - although we actually just sit by a lake on a large rock for most of the time. Once the others get back , the evening is much more pleasant - we start a campfire to cook dinner on and this keeps us going until the end of the evening.

Wednesday, June 16 2004, Yellowstone to Glacier


It is considerably colder and much gloomier looking here in Glacier National Park. We set up camp amid Severe Bear Warnings, and a strict instruction to keep everything with a smell locked away inside the van:

So that's reassuring then.

It's raining heavily before long, so we hastily put up a shelter over the makeshift 'kitchen'. An early night, for tomorrow is yet another early start for hiking.


I am totally paranoid about bears finding smells in the tent. I quickly rummage through my bags in the dark, and find some suncream and popcorn I bought in Mitchell. Unzipping the tent, I rush to the trash can - only I forget to zip up the outer zip whilst I'm gone. Back in the tent, and having zipped everything up, I find I've managed to trap a frustrated mouse in the tent, which is busy doing high-speed circuits of Dave and I nestled in our sleeping bags.

Dave is not happy in the morning. I think relations between us are breaking down.

Tuesday June 15 2004, Yellowstone to Glacier


On the road already, back into the Park. It is bright and sunny, but takes a while to get warm. To 'Old Faithful', and many beautiful and magnificent eruptions ;-)

Some of the other springs and geysers are less awe-inspiring - some of the group take a dip in a 'swimming hole' which is actually very cold.

There was no way I was going in there - (although famously I have since gone skinny-dipping in Sweden!). The day finishes at Mammoth Hot Springs where I buy a very useful pillow for the tent. It also comes in handy for the seemingly interminable sleeping we're doing in the van whilst travelling - long journeys, running out of things to say, warmth - I find it easy to snuggle up to my nearest travelling companion, whether they like it or not!

Upon return to Gardiner, our campsite, the weather is pretty dreadful - wind and rain. By the time I get out of the shower, the gusts and rain are pretty wild. Cori manages to acquire some log cabins for the evening at no extra cost, which are very much welcome. The woman who runs the campsite is a very kind lady indeed - and manages to keep on working despite a nasty accident with a gas stove last night. She'd burned her arm quite badly, and the nearest hospital is 1 1/2 hours drive away - not unusual in this part of the US.

Blanket coverage

It's snow joke. I was bored out of my brains yesterday whilst the rest of London suddenly found wellies, skies and long lost vintage wooden sledges. Having decided to make the trek to work at about 8am, I got to Balham tube only to find that trains weren't really running normally at all. So, I went and had coffee, lost £20 somehow and then made my way home once my boss told me that it wasn't worth going in.

All I can say is that snow days are really boring once the novelty wears off!

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