Banff, Banff NP, Alberta – Our first grizzly bear live and in colour!

In Banff we first go to a spot this morning where we can overview the Bow River Lower Falls and The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. The palace-like building belongs to a chain of former railway hotels for luxury voyagers of the late 19th until the 20th century. There is expensive luxury still today, but no more vial rails. Some kilometres further we find some Hoodoos, the washed-out rock pillars, but the view down to romantic Bow Valley is more impressive. Eventually we go to Sundance Canyon, where First Nations held their sacred Sundance Ceremony. The half-day hike first follows as a paved trail along Bow River, but later on it is a nice walk through a narrow canyon and a forest.

When heading north by car, we immediately realize him on a grass hill between woods. There he is: big, brown, well-fed. Or first grizzly bear in the wild. Fortunately he doesn’t realize us since he is busy with catching food. Today’s menu is meat. He seems to hunt a ground squirrel or marmot. The poor small animal seems to possess a den in the ground with several exits since Mister Bear is jumping nimbly forth and back between the holes. It is astonishing how fast this hulk with the huge backside is able to move. We do not want to dispute his dinner, so we take a couple of pictures and leave him alone.

In the end of the day we go for a short walk to Johnston Canyon. A creek cut deep into the stone, creates some cute waterfalls and a small tunnel you can walk through. The river water is so cold and the canyon so narrow that cold can’t escape and it is chilly there even on hot summer days.

After 62 nights of our world trip there is one more premiere: For the first rime we sleep on a campground. There is no other option in the big national parks. We go to the forest parking lot, spin two times, and look vainly for a reception, for somebody to tell us where we can park, and who wants to get our 21.50 Dollars for parking and toilet, but without shower. Finally we ask two Germans for the system. It is self-registration. Fill a form and depose it together with the money in an envelope in a kind of big metal piggy bank. Our neighbours are happy to have us here. They need fire, axe, an adapter and whatsoever.

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