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Day 39

I have a really hard time sleeping in! I woke up a few times around 5-6am, then around 7:30 I just couldn't fall back asleep. Since we decided well ahead of time, that today would be a sleep in day, I didn't want to miss one of the few opportunities (and I didn't want to wake up early just to wait around for the boys, then be too tired to do anything tonight!). So, I forced myself to stay in bed until I couldn't handle it anymore. I quietly got my journal and some pop tarts and then found a nice spot in the hotel to just relax and write. I also delayed our check out time to 1pm (that was the latest time we could checkout without being charged extra!). I went back to the room at 11 to wake the other two up. We went to walk around the lake. It was overcast, but at least not raining like yesterday! As we were near the end of the trail, we noticed one of the canoes had tipped. There was one guy clinging to it (with most of his body under water). We thought it was weird that there was only one guy we saw, and hoped the other was alright. Then we noticed the canoe beside him also had only one person in it, so figured they were friends and each decided to take their own? Not sure how it happened because Lake Louise is very calm, and canoes are pretty hard to tip if you're just paddling along. Our first instinct was to run back and get help. Even though we were a little ways away from help, we would be MUCH quicker than anyone out paddling on the lake. But we quickly noticed the lifeguards were coming in a motor boat. We talked to an American couple (on their honneymoon) who were also watching what would happen. They said the guy was there for a few minutes and they were told you can only survive in the water for 7 minutes before you would get severe hypothermia and die. He seemed to be alive though when they brought him into the motor boat, so I guess he was only in the water for a minute or so. (But, this was all witnessed at a distance, so who knows what the deal is). The couple was also saying that the hotel only has the one motor boat and one year there were like 12 people capsized one year because there were a bunch of people out on the lake and a killer storm hit, and since they only had the one boat, the had helicopters come to help rescue. Don't know the technicalities, or where they called the helicopters in from, or if they were able to save everyone, but it's kind of crazy! And that water is COLD! We were running out of time, so quickly headed back to our room, got packed up, and checked out. We spent another hour chilling and writing in our diaries or reading the paper then headed out for Banff. On our way into town, we made a detour to Moraine Lake. The detour took MUCH longer than we thought it would (it was like 12km out, pretty much all uphill). We did a quick hike there. I was feeling VERY pressured for time because I didn't realize we wanted to do two hikes before hitting Banff, and I had never met Julie's dad before, and he was nice enough to let us stay at his house. So I didn't want to get there too late and keep him up late waiting on us (especially since I didn't know what time he woke up for work, so for all I knew, he woke up at like 6am). I later felt bad for this, but at the time I rushed Michael and Travis so we didn't spend too much time at the lake (which was too bad because it's the lake on the twenty dollar bill, which is cool!). The lake itself was much smaller than I thought it would be. But it was gorgeous! Then we headed back into Lake Louise (and got pelted with rain!) to eat before we hit the road. I called Mr. Moberg to ask what time he wanted us there, and he was VERY nice and said it didn't matter. Even if we show up at midnight, we show up when we get there, and it would be alright. I was so happy he was so nice, but felt even more guilty for rushing at Moraine Lake (but still didn't want to show up too late out of politeness so I was glad we didn't spend TOO long there...). We went to the hostel for food (Julie said it was the best and cheapest food in town). The food was average price (around $13 after tax and tip) anywhere else, but because Lake Louise was SO expensive, it seemed cheap in comparrison. It tasted really good though. After eating, we hit the road. Travis recommended going the Bow Valley Parkway. He said it was nice and scenic, with rolling hills the whole way. He was right. It was gorgeous, with very little traffic. It was cloudy for most of the ride, but cleared up near the end of the highway. It was really cool because every so often there was a little information area where they would talk about the area, the wildlife, or the history (ie. The internment camps). It was pretty cool! We also did a hike (the Johnson Canyon) which was really cool! The path was bolted into the side of the canyon at times, so it looked really cool. We went to the lower falls (we didn't have time to go to the bigger, upper falls), and walked through a small rock tunnel to get a closer look at the falls. Then we hit the road and gunned it for Banff. At the second last information booth, I noticed a sign that said to stay off the roads past 6pm because there is a lot of wildlife in the area, and less traffic gives them a chance to safely cross the roads to get food, and to mate. It was too late now (we left Lake Louise around 5, so we were unintentionally disobeying for a while), and we were so close to the end that we (having no other choice) obviously finished. Not long after seeing the sign, we saw two deer up ahead, where the road forked (where people who were going south went to one side of the forest and people heading north on the other side). Travis and I cycled past, and Michael hung back to take a picture. Travis and I were slowly cycling (mostly to not have to unclip while we waited for Michael). Travis was only a few meters ahead of me, and then, all of a sudden, we saw a bear just bolt across the road only like 10m ahead of Travis! We both gave each other a look, and called Michael. We needed to get off that highway quick to not have anymore wildlife encounters! Especially not any THAT close! But that brought our bear tally up to 14! We only had like 10km left in the highway, and we didn't have any more wildlife sightings until the end, where it met back up with highway 1. All I heard was Travis yelling “Antlers!” from behind. It took a bit, but finally I saw them ahead. There were two male elk sitting RIGHT at the side of the road. Realizing that the male elk could destroy us (we later found out antlered animals aren't bad now, but in the fall it's their mating season, so watch out! This is good to know, but a little disconcerting as we'll be in Newfoundland probably at the start of mating season, and they have quite a few antlers there!). We decided to stay together, in a pack, to look big to them, and we cycled on the other side of the road (obviously aware of traffic coming in our direction), and made as little noise as possible to not spook them. We were fine, and Michael got his wish of the day (he wanted to see antlers). Then we got into Banff just as dusk was beginning. It was easy to find Julie's house because Banff is really small (and a really cute town!). Julie's dad I guess heard us outside because he came out to meet us. We put our bikes away, and he gave us a tour (and he told us not to call him Mr. Moberg, but call him Dave instead). He was so nice and funny and quirky. I got a long e-mail from Julie with a bunch of things to do, and I talked to her on the phone which was fun! Then we had a quick snack and went to bed.