We continued our visit with the Willemson family into Wednesday morning. Our destination today, Banff, Alberta - perhaps one of the most popular tourist towns in all of Canada. My cousin Marcus and I had spent three nights in this Canadian favourite last year. I suggested to Brad and 'Turtle' that we make a stop here so that they could experience it first-hand.
Leaving from Brooks, we went out of our way to go through dinasour crazy Drumheller. As we neared this anomaly of a town, our drive shifted from flat fields to rolling hills. I was driving and Brad had begun dozing off in the passenger seat. All of the sudden, a big rock flew up from the road and bounced off our windshield. Brad was now wide awake at this point.
Remnants of the glass even fell into the inside of the vehicle. Frustrated, I pulled over the on the side of the road and quickly inspected the damage, the crack was a definite spreader. Fortunately it didn't obstruct the driver's view.
A large tractor trailer had passed us on the highway and caused a rock to fling up in our direction. Even though the accident would have been difficult to prevent, I still felt bad that I was the one driving. Once in Drumheller, we gave the windshield crack a fuller assessment. Brad consulted his dad, Dave, who is a mechanic, and Brad decided he'd hold off on fixing it until we reached Chilliwack.
Determined to still make the most of our stop in Drumheller we ventured up the Horseridge Canyon by foot. The desert land is so barren, barely any vegetation grows. I've been to land this dry only two other times: in Northern UK and in Kamloops BC.
Eventually we arrived in Banff. 'Turtle' booked us one of the last campsites in the entire park at Johnson's Canyon. We set up camp late afternoon and then explored the canyon for ourselves. It was at this point that I wandered off by myself.
The three of us had been travelling together for four days; I sensed a little tension and I also had a few decisions from back home to further consider. The canyon is gorgeous, a little too touristy for my liking, but I'm glad to have experienced it.
We went to Banff Ave. Brewing Co in the village for supper, upon my recommendation. I had been here two other times last year. The well-lit restaurant was buzzing with tourists and catchy music just like I had remembered. The delicious food did not disappoint.
As we made our way back to the campsite in the dark, Brad braked the car at one point and I jolted forward. An elk appeared in front of us, there were two within five feet of the vehicle.
These animals were well-built with antlers that must have extended another two feet from their heads. After that surprising dose of wild life it was time for bed.