Not ones to miss out on an opportunity for greatness, the soundtrack we listened to as we wound off the exit and descended into Canmore was a mix of Skyrim themes, Howard Shore, Misty Mountains, monk chanting, and other tunes that would make Peter Jackson proud.
We drove into the city to the sound of trumpets as lightning flooded the sky, which receded grey and dark into the horizon.
This was the start of our adventure in the Canadian Rockies.
As with the start of any good quest, our first hours in Canmore were spent preparing our party.
The van had gone over 6,000 kilometres since leaving home, and was in need of an oil change.
Ah yes, the number of the beast. Time for a quick oil change to exorcise the engine demon.
While our van was around the corner at the shop, we stocked up on enough groceries at Safeway for a few days of camping. This included getting some mosquito coils and a tarp. A couple overlooked items we were lacking.
Don’t mind me, just getting groceries in this unnaturally (naturally) beautiful vista.
We wandered around town and got some coffee and tea while waiting for the mechanics to finish with the van.
One beautiful thing about being on the road: Your caffeine tolerance seems to jump through the roof.
Must be an adrenaline coping mechanism.
Check out this wall of tea at The Communitea Café:
Canmore is gorgeous. You take photos of it and show it around to people like it’s your main squeeze in junior high.
Less touristy than Jasper or Banff, it’s an extraordinary place to live if you have a few million dollars you’re itching to spend on a modern wood and glass home.
All the shop fronts are immaculately kitsch and a lot of shops are wearing flower crowns made of window planters.
A very good-looking place.
Once the van was finished, we drove to the campground in town and set up our tarp and tent. I then promptly crashed inside and read for an hour.
That’s some fine-looking tarp. Too bad we won’t need it with all this sudden sunshine…
Wapiti Campground in Canmore is essentially nestled between two highways. It’s not at all secluded, and the woods are very thin. It’s only a few blocks away from downtown Canmore.
There’s this set of train tracks that runs along the highway, and a couple of times during the night I awoke to a shrill whistle and the sound of rails headed towards us that made it sound like we were about to be plowed down. If that’s you’re idea of a good time, then this campground’s the one for you. It’s also a great place if you love paying to use the shower. Just a heads up.
In the evening we went for a walk along the main street, looking for bunny rabbits.
A brief explanation on why bunny stalking is a thing here:
According to GoCanmore.com:
“In the mid 1980’s someone released about a dozen of their domestic rabbits into South Canmore and rather than becoming coyote snacks they survived, thrived and today are the most famous residents that Canmore has.”
So there you have it.
The town even has a Feral Rabbit Management Plan to keep up with the multiplying critters.
I could see some of the ‘nuisance’ on our walk. The ground and banks along the main stretches of rabbit activity were hollowed out like someone had taken a giant spoon to them. I could see the potential liability issues. (Boo, liability isn’t as much fun a rabbits!)
Our empirical evidence (based on two visits) would seem to suggest they’ve gotten their rabbits under control.
When my boyfriend visited in 2010 he saw 44 bunnies while walking home from the bar at night. By comparison, we only saw three! Still, bunnies are bunnies.
During our bunny stalk, we started to see flashes on the horizon.
Boom. Flash. Boom. Flash.
Humidity in the air.
As we had been walking east, a thunderstorm had been creeping up behind us, and now we had to walk back towards it to return to our campsite.
About a block from our tent, we encountered a wall of rain. It was a dark line on the pavement headed straight towards us and it hit without shuddering.
We ran to our tent, and threw off all our clothes to stash them under the tarp so they didn’t humidify our sleeping area any more.
Luckily, our tarp did a great job of keeping the rain off, so we could kick back in our sleeping bags and listen to the show going on without worrying about getting any wetter.
This is the sound of the rain from inside our tent:
There were also thunderclaps that came and went, sporadically.
Luckily, we were safe and warm inside.
Except for that occasional train.
Day 14 Costs:
- Tim Horton’s: $8.98
- Matching Dollar Store bandanas and drinks: $6.14
- Mosquito Coils and Tarp @ Canadian Tire: $13.62
- Gas in Canmore: $78.56
- Oil Change at Lube & Muffler in Canmore: $70.30
- Groceries at Safeway in Canmore: $43.58
- Good Earth Café Coffee: $8.09
- Night of camping at Wapiti: $27.00