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North America 2004

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Journal for 15-June-2004 : Canmore

Not unexpectedly it was a bitingly another cold night.

Some really nice riding on Old Highway. Lots of great scenery in the Banff National Park, and lots of other cyclists enjoying it too.

We stopped at Johnson Canyon, along with thousands of English, Japanese, European and hosts of other international tourists clambering up the boardwalks and paved hiking trails through this small but still quite impressive canyon carved through a limestone seam into the surrounding mountains. Mercifully the parks officials appear to constrain the commercial exploitation of all these tourists. At least by humans. The local squirrels were milking the tourists for everything they could!

Further down the road we met some more touring cyclists. These guys were terrified of the wild sheep grazing by the road. They seemed to be grazing on nothing but rocks. I was able to demonstrate the Canadian sheep were more scared of Aussie humans than Canadian humans were of these sheep. But in fairness these things had substantial horns which I would prefer not to be rammed by.

Sitting quietly in the thinned forest by the road was a massive big horned elk, seemingly oblivious to the throngs of tourists driving and cycling by them.

To the left were magnificent mountains, and to the right some great views of the Bow River twisting it's way to the prairies lined by the CP railroad. We could look down on the rail line, it's telegraph poles, and the Osprey's nesting in them. In one sat a nearly fully formed (but still hungry) chick.

We skipped Banff, stopping only at the picnic area for lunch and a pee, not necessarily in that order.

We enjoyed some really fast riding down the highway to Canmore. Very hard to bush camp by this highway. It has a huge 2m high wire fence to keep the wildlife off the road.

Canmore is just outside the Banff National Park, and is bulging with all sorts of developments that are probably not considered prudent in a National Park. That goes for the Squirrels too, who have constructed a network of tunnels to rival that under Stallag 13. While walking to the supermarket we could feel the thousands of eyes were watching us, then ducking into the nearest hole if they felt their scrutiny was being noticed.

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