Today we had to rearrange plans to allow the smoke to clear. We dreamed of hiking every day, visiting lakes, exploring the Rockies. It’s really frustrating and making me nervous that we won’t see the views at all but it did start to clear and tonight we even saw the moon and one star! One little star.


my beloved


I woke up about 7:30 and read my book in the communal living room. Ali met me there at 9:30. We had some toast and decided it would best to go to the hot springs today. We were going leave that until the end of the trip, if we had time, but there aren’t any hikes worth doing because of the low smoke. We drove about 30 minutes there and it was really just a warm chlorinated pool in the middle of mountains that we couldn’t see. We could barely see the other end of the pool. However, it was good to relax. We picked up cheap groceries from Banff and decided to visit the closest (and biggest) lake nearby. Lake Minnewanka.


our version of lake minnewanka



everyone else’s version of lake minnewanka


Strangely enough, as we drove along the road a bit there was this tiny patch of clear aqua water… it gave us some hope that tomorrow the views would be better. We tried to take some selfies and then we headed back to the hostel for lunch.


our little patch of hope



this is what i meant by trying to take a selfie


After lunch I read 100 more pages of my book and Ali took another nap, concluding his sleep amount to 12 hours for this day.

When he woke up, we took a walk down to the ‘mall’, as they call it, which is really just six little shops. We passed through and did a short 2k walk down the river. The air is very humid and dry. There is no wind and everything is covered by a thin hanging grey. We don’t take any big breaths because it’s not good for the lungs and maybe we shouldn’t even be outside at all but we came over 4,000 miles to get here so we will not waste our time.


z7Because of the smoke, bears are coming down the mountain for better quality air. They’re coming as low as civilisation which is obviously a threat to humans. There’s a trail we want to do which you need to do in at least groups of 4 for safety since there’s been a quite a few bears spotted. So of course Ali had to ask if there would be bears on this trail. From that moment, that’s all we thought about and most of our conversations then revolved around ‘what would you do if a bear appeared now? what would you do if…’

But we did not see any bears (today). Only cute little chipmunks!!!!! I love them.

Back at the hostel we started making stir fry and Ali’s new wee pal, Hylke, joined us.


only after Ali made dinner did I remember to mention that I don’t actually like stir fry, whoops


He sat with us during dinner (we offered him food but he was ‘stuffed’ ). We played pool and had adult conversations about uni and house prices and alcohol and felt all very sophisticated but also laughed and made fun of each other too.
After I beat them at pool (obviously lol) we headed our separate ways. I don’t know why the girls go to sleep so early here but I went into my room at about 10:30 and they were all in bed with the lights off. I used my phone light to sort out my stuff and then climbed the two ladders up to the top bunk. As I was climbing, one girl was looking at me in pure disgust. Another had taken the mattress off the bed and was sleeping on the floor. When I heaved myself onto my bed, I accidently kicked a family size bottle of shampoo off the nightstand and it plummetted to the floor right next to the woman’s face. Everyone woke up, a woman came rushing up to the upper level of the dorm, handed me the bottle of shampoo (which wasn’t even mine) muttering something in another language, as I profusely apologised. I put the shampoo back, slowly and carefully wriggled myself into bed, and made sure I breathed very quiet and didn’t move a muscle all night long.


minnewanka mist



the smoke slowly lifting



Ali on the phone… again. Prize to whoever guesses his phone bill!



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