A short 15 minute drive after leaving Canmore, we found ourselves inside Banff National Park. Banff's campgrounds were a little crowded, but the close proximity to others allowed us to practice our conversation skills. During our stay, the weather was an abnormal 75 degrees and sunny, and upon arrival, we found more bike trails!
Banff's waterways didn't require any permits or invasive specie checks for kayaks, which was a welcome change from the U.S. We could drop our kayaks into any body of water and be ok, and there were so many to choose from!
When planning for Banff, I was excited to visit Lake Louise and Lake Morraine. Morraine turned out to be a big playground - with a large rocky beach, hills to climb and turquoise water to paddle in. It had just opened when we visited- still partially frozen, and thus not too crowded. There were several trails accessible from the parking lot, one of which took you to a beautiful overlook. The others, unfortunately, were still covered in snow and warned of high grizzly activity. From there, a short 10 minute drive took us to Lake Liouse. L.L was a bit disappointing as it was very crowded when we visited. Right on its shores was the Fairmont Chateau along with various restaurants and stores. We had read about some beautiful trails and lookouts, but we were turned off by the crowds and left. On the way back to Banff, we took highway 1A, a more scenic route, and saw a bear grazing on some dandelions, as well as a couple of goats.
Not too far away from Banff, is Jasper- a Dark Sky Preserve - which is an area where almost no artificial light is visible at night. Nick tried his luck in Banff and spent a couple of early mornings shooting long exposure shots of Mount Rundle and the Milky Way. When scouting for a good spot during the day, a coyote became curious of him and played some hide and seek.
Hiking wise, we checked out many of Banff's popular spots including Sulphor Mountain, Johnston Canyon, Bow River/Hoodoo's, Vermillon Lakes, Two Jack Lake, and Lake Minnewanka. There are still many other features we would have liked to have seen, but due to time were unable to. With the availability of so many bike trails, Britt's skills are getting better, but is still nervous on single tracks with a dropoff on one side. Ask Nick and I am sure he will show you a video of Britt falling into some bushes to avoid " falling" down the side of a canyon.