In every country, there is a place that everyone, literally everyone, recommends you to visit. Actually, recommend is too weak of a word for the obtrusiveness: “You have to go there!” Instinctively, this raises some resistance with me, because I don’t want to have to do anything. Marc New York by Andrew Marc Mens Bergen Mid SneakerAGOS Mens Waterproof Puffer Faux Fur Lined Cold Winter Snow BootsAnd many of such places are wildly overrated. It leads to tourists driving across the country for hours, only to visit Neuschwanstein or Rockport Women's Total Motion 75mm Pointy Pump, although there are hundreds of other castles scattered across Germany or Romania that are equally interesting. But those get passed by, sometimes without noticing them, as the hypnotized herd moves from one hotspot to the next.
In Canada, this dubious role falls to the small town of Banff in Alberta. When I ask my Canadian friends what is so special about it, they reply: “Mountains, lots of mountains. And a lake!” Not being completely uneducated in the field of geography, I then proceed to inquire if one can’t make the acquaintance of mountains elsewhere in the second largest country of the world, and a country that is home to the Rocky Mountains on top of that. Bewildered, they reply: “But everybody goes to Banff.” DC Men's Nyjah Vulcanized TX SneakerMeeshine Womens Buckle Slip On Loafer Casual Low Flats Square Toe shoesAnd that’s exactly the reason why I won’t go there.
Granted, I am not very creative either. I simply go to Canmore. Coming from Calgary, that’s about 25 km before Banff. But because there is no hype about this place, you can enjoy the same mountains for a third of the price.
I have just arrived, breathe the fresh air and soak up the mountain view (both all the more relaxing after three months in a large city), Pleaser Women's Taboo-701 Platform SlideNanette Nanette Lepore Womens Dina Ballet Flatwhen a passerby addresses me: “Canmore, it’s a heap of problems.” To me, it all seems so perfect that I have to ask which problems he might allude to.
“Don’t you see the terrible traffic?”
He explains that sometimes, the railway crossing is closed for five minutes and that the cars will then back up, GouuoHi Womens Sport Fashion Women Mesh Casual Loafers Breathable shoes Soft Running Sneakers Leisure Elegant Soft Wild Tight Super Quality for WomensGeox Womens Annytah 7 Quilted Suede Round Toe Slipper Flats Slippereven around the corner. To make matters worse, the hospital is on the other side of the railway tracks, “that’s irresponsible!” Small-town problems.
“One would need to build an overpass, but all the miners here just want to leave everything the way it has always been. I’ve got nothing against the miners, please don’t get me wrong! After all, they built the town.” And that way, I learn of the mineral-extracting origin of Canmore, of which I had hitherto naively assumed that it was only built for the beautiful location.
The most striking difference between the big city and Canmore is not only the view, but that strangers simply smile and wave at each other and say hello. Here, I could probably find friends faster than in Calgary, where everybody is just working and shopping all the time.
The most seductive smile is directed at my by a bookstore in the main street, Adidas Originals Men's Copa Super Soccer shoes, but I am already carrying more than enough books with me. To be on the safe side, I don’t even dare to enter, for fear of losing my last few dollars.
The ladies at the reception of the cozy Mountain View Inn hardly give me a chance to get to know the town by myself. Each time they spot me, they give me more maps, bus schedules and café recommendations.
And every morning, they want to know where I will be hiking that day. “Don’t forget the bear spray,” the older one of them admonishes me, as I am about to leave one day.
“Oh. Where can I get this bear spray?”, I ask somewhat incredulously, thinking of the anti-shark spray from the Batman movie.
“We will give you a can,” she offers, grabs something from under the counter, and equips me with the weapon. Good that I am not a pacifist.
Honestly, I suspect that the weapons handed to tourists are only a marketing gimmick to make the harmless walks appear more dangerous. Like the life vests on rubber dinghies.
On the other hand, maybe the bears are real and come all the way into town. Because the rubbish bins are built so bear-proof that they are not only bomb-proof, but also leave me wondering to no avail how the heck I am supposed to put the rubbish inside. I give up.
Personally, I would find it smarter to leave the rubbish bins accessible, allowing the bears to get full on pizzas. Then, they wouldn’t need to devour humans. That’s how it’s done in Romania, where humans and bears live in peaceful coexistence. But that’s the difference between a socialist-solidary and a capitalist-egoistic society.
It’s only the end of March, but spring is already raging. The snow on the south-facing hills is melting. The bears are just waking up. And after six months of sleep and diet they are, as the saying goes, as hungry as a bear.
The horoscope for cancers in the Globe & Mail says: “You’ve got that feeling that you must do something to prove yourself.” I understand that as an encouragement to go bear hunting.
On the bus to Canmore, I spoke with a girl who only went to Banff for one day. Adidas Men's Aerobounce Pr m Running shoes, Hi-Res bluee Core Black Hi-Res Red, 9 M USMuck Boot Women's Breezy Tall Insulated Rain BootShe would have a couple of hours to walk around there, before heading back to Calgary. When you see all the photos of Canadian women on Facebook or Tinder, each of them in front of a mountain lake or on a summit, you might think “wow, those people are really outdoorsy”. But for most of them, it’s just a day trip, often by car, stepping out briefly at a parking area to take the fake nature photos.
“I heard that the most beautiful hike in Canada is in Banff,” she explains. Just for that, she flew to Alberta. It is really strange that in a country as large as Canada, 95% of the population believes that you can only hike in Banff or in Jasper. A mere 10 km to the south or the east, ShoBeautiful Women's Over The Knee Boots Back Tie up Low Heel Drawstring Dress Thigh High Riding Boots by (TM)Reebok Men's Classic Leather NM Fashion Sneakerthey already think it’s a terribly stupid idea. Outdoor spirit this is not.
A friend from Calgary also once wanted to seduce me to Banff, but she only had time for a day trip. “For lunch, there are three options,” my guide began to plan, “there is a burger restaurant, where everybody goes when they are in Banff. Then there is …” PUMA Womens Suede Bow SneakerVOCOSI Women's Sexy Pointy Toe Studs Stilettos High Heels Rivets shoes Fashion PumpsI dared to interrupt her and point out that I would go to Banff for the mountains and lakes, the bears and the forests. Especially if I only had one day, I definitely wouldn’t waste two hours of the still scarce daylight in a restaurant. “I’d rather get a Snickers bar from the gas station and spend more time in the mountains,” I explained, but she didn’t understand.
Thus, I went alone. To Canmore instead of Banff. And for a whole week, not just a measly day.
My first hike leads me along the Bow River, whose acquaintance I had already made.Daniel Green Women's Gildy Moccasin Slipper
In this kind of nature, I almost want to get lost. Some of the river’s tributaries are still frozen over,ASICS Womens Gel-fit Sana 3 Cross-Trainer shoesZee Alexis Stella Comfort Sneakers granting access to islands or to the opposite shore, although sometimes, it crackles alarmingly as I run across the ice. Alternatively, I cross the river on toppled trees.
I absorb the mountains like fresh air after years in a bunker of asbestos, not only because of the welcome change to the past three months in a big city, but also because in a week, I will be sitting on the train across the rather flat prairies.Dyeables, Inc Womens Womens Caitlyn Dress SandalCambridge Select Women's Closed Round Toe Slouch Riding Back Lace Chunky Block Low Heel Thigh High Over The Knee Boot.
And thus I walk and walk, always following the river. The further away I get from Canmore, the fewer joggers and cyclists cross my path, until I am finally alone in the forest.
But sooner or later, I will have to think about returning, because it’s already past 4pm. And exactly in that moment, I reach a road with a bus stop. An exemplary bus stop even! With route maps, schedule, prices and all the other information that fans of public transit want.
The next bus will arrive in 20 minutes, not a bad frequency for Saturday afternoon in the mountains. Until then, I will try to get back into town by hitchhiking. After 25 failed attempts, a red BMW stops. The driver welcomes me with the words “usually, I never stop for hitchhikers”, Skechers Fashion Fit Art Rage Womens Sneakers Black MultiCambridge Select Women's Open Toe Slip-On Side Cutout Flat Sandaland I thank him profoundly for making an exception. Quickly, it turns out that his mother is from Berlin and his father from Vorarlberg, although they migrated to Canada ages ago, the driver emphasizes. I try to discern whether his parents’ flight from German-Austrian territories instilled in him a negative opinion of people from there, but I cannot read his eyes. Like everybody in Canmore, the driver wears sunglasses at all times. Maybe this town is a nest of spies?
He recommends a certain hike and the Legion, a home for veterans, The Fix Women's Upson Double Buckle Studded Footbed Platform Slide SandalXOXO Women's Colette Dress Sandalas the place with the cheapest beer. And then the ride is already over. It’s sad that hitchhiking has been made illegal on some roads in Canada, while not on others. That confuses drivers and they never stop at all. And it would be such a wonderful way to get to know the country and the people.
From my spacious corner suite at the aptly named Mountain View Inn, I look at the most alluring group of mountains in the valley,MTNG Women’s 69128 Trainers BlackMeiguiyuan Woman shoes Spring Pumps Bowtie Sweet Women's shoes Autumn High Heels 11CM Platform shoes the Three Sisters, each time I wake up and each time I fall asleep.