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We arrived in Banff NP and hiked the Johnston Canyon trail – almost 13 km.  The first 3km are on paved trails and catwalks through the canyon past many waterfalls; some beautiful scenery.  Then you continue hiking and the terrain changes to a well maintained dirt path with some tree roots at times and lots of uphill!  The trail ends at the “Inkpots” which are 7 spring fed pools with different shades of blue green water next to a glacial river surrounded by mountains; quite spectacular.

From there we went into Banff and spent the night.  We had some rain there.  Friday morning Doug did another hike alone (too steep for Fran especially after two days of hiking) – Sulphur Mountain.  He did it in record time and was very exhilarated.  Then it was off to the Banff Upper Hot Springs where we enjoyed the 40⁰C water in a beautiful setting.  The weather was gorgeous and it was not too busy.  Best public hot spring’s we’d ever been too; clean, well-kept and not expensive.

We did stop in Lake Louise for half a day visiting the area; we’d been here twice before so it was a short stop.

Then we headed into the city of Calgary where we caught up with friends from Doug’s UBC days, Ben & Jane, and enjoyed a lovely pub dinner.

Saturday we did some work on the RV and then went to visit a high school friend, Dave and his family.   We enjoyed an afternoon at their subdivision’s club house on a small lake where we played tennis, sat on the beach (they have a sandy one) and Fran & Annette got more exercise on the paddle boats.  Harder than it looks.

Sunday saw us taking in the Calgary stampede for a few hours (it was family day so arriving before 9 got you in free) before Dave kindly took Doug to the airport for his flight to LA for a few days’ of work.  Fran stayed behind with Annette (who has become a wonderful friend) and took in a few more sites before going back to their house.

Ben & Jane treated Fran to an early Bday dinner that night at a quaint little Greek place near their home.  Fran then spent the next couple of days parked outside Dave & Annette’s but sleeping in their house.  Very hospitable and gracious hosts.  Thursday after Doug got back from LA we joined Dave & Annette taking in the Grandstand show at the Stampede.  It was quite a good variety type show with singers, dancers, comics, etc including Colin James and a grand finale with fireworks.

We stayed in Calgary until July 19th (Doug was in Sacramento or LA a lot of that time) – thank you Dave & Annette from Fran for putting up with her parked outside on the street all this time.

From Calgary we headed east towards Drumheller to see the Horsethief Canyon – not as spectacular as we’d been led to believe, so a little disappointing.

On our way north to Edmonton to see some friends, we stopped at Sylvan Lake for some yummy ice cream at Big Moo.  Nice little town on the lake and a pleasant, tasty stop.

In Edmonton, we enjoyed an afternoon with friends we met on the Inca Trail in 2011, Barb & Dean, (where they graciously let us do a load of Doug’s work clothes laundry), then that evening we caught up with a high school friend, Colleen.

Gas prices in Alberta are much lower than in BC and we are appreciating that.  Luckily, we can make use of Costco as well to help ease that expense – our biggest one.  Edmonton had the cheapest we experienced so we filled all three jerry cans as well.

Weather so far on this escape has been quite good; warm/hot and sunny most of the time.  Summer in Canada can be so enjoyable!

Sunday we headed into Elk Island National Park for a few short hikes and some bison viewing.  This is Canada’s smallest park and it has so many bison, it offers them to parks across North America.

As we headed east across Alberta, we were on roads we’d never travelled and crossed the border into Saskatchewan at Lloydminster.