Glacier National Park to Calgary, Saturday, 8-Jul

Time to drive north to Canada, but not before driving through Glacier on the Going to the Sun road. Once we got to Calgary, it took longer than we expected to figure things out, but once we did, we ended up hopping all around our particular part of the University of Calgary campus.

Leaving Glacier

We once again got up early enough that we got a good start on the day. Breakfast, packing the car, and checking out were all done quickly, and we proceeded to Glacier National Park for the last time this trip. We had done portions of the Going to the Sun road, some several times, but we hadn't gone past Logan Pass. Since it was about the same amount of time to drive through the park rather than around, we did the scenic route.

We had done the segment between Apgar and Avalanche Lake four times already, so we didn't stop to look at anything. We did stop at a couple places, Haystack Falls and at The Loop to take a look around (we were so intent on catching the shuttle that we didn't see very much). By this point the road was getting quite narrow and windy; the rocky cliffs felt right next to the car, jutting out past the edge of the road.

When we did the Highline Trail, we did look around quite a bit at Logan Pass, so we proceeded downhill, this time mostly on the drop-off side of the road. There are several parts of the guard rail which are removed during the winter, presumably so it's easier to clear snow from the road.

We were considering doing the short hike to St. Mary's Falls, but the shortest route was from the shuttle stop (where there was no parking), and the longer route started from a parking lot which was full. We kept going, knowing we would probably have other sights.

One vista point had a great view of the Jackson Glacier, but we didn't stop there. We did stop at the Wild Goose Island overlook, which is a very picturesque view (with lots of people taking photos, of course).

Not long after that, we were going out the St. Mary's entrance, then retracing our steps from the previous day up to Many Glacier. Once past that, we were driving into new territory.

The trip up to the Piegan/Carway border crossing was short. Even though we have Nexus cards, we hadn't registered them with our car yet. Since we rarely drive into Canada and for this trip are planning to go through less-used border crossings, we figured we would be fine. We had to wait for one car in the one open lane, so we were fine.

The drive through Alberta had us going through a huge agricultural area. We figured we would get to Fort MacLeod at around lunchtime, and we hit that goal. After doing a pass through the couple main drags, we parked near what looked like a possibility, then saw a bakery right across the street from us. We went in there and had soup and sandwich, then got dessert. It was a good choice. We also noticed that there were a lot of Chinese or “Western and Asian” restaurants.

Back on the road, and we were surprised how far south we passed the Calgary city limits. We also knew we were on the far east side, so it must be huge.

Calgary

We had made arrangements to spend the night in one of the dorms at University of Calgary, so we went to the address where we were supposed to check in. We didn't really see the building, but found a parking garage. Unfortunately, even though there were no ticket machines when you went in, there were signs all over saying that you need to pay as you were walking out, so we did.

Looking around a bit, we found the Hotel Alma building, and went to check in. The dorm we were staying at was at a different part of campus, so after we got things squared away at the front desk, we went to retrieve our car and park in the lot near our room (alas, we needed to pay for parking there, too). We found our way into the building, using the provided key (not a card, but a rubberized round stub you put into a hole) to gain access to the building itself and then our room. Actually, there were two different bedrooms, so we had to use the key again to get into there from the common area (which had the kitchen and access to a bathroom). We found the key finicky but were able to get it to work.

First on our list was laundry. We found the laundry room in the basement of the building, but our key didn't seem to work for it. We went back to the main hotel to ask, and it sounded as if would be much easier for us to use the coin-operated machines in that building. We weren't sure if we had the right change (and our Canadian cash was in the room at the time) so we went back to the room, gathered our clothes, then once again went back to the main hotel. I got in line to get change and soap (while we were away, a busload of people were checking in), but once that was done, we proceeded up to the machines. Fortunately everything went smoothly after that. The wireless was quite good, so we just stayed in the laundry room starting to figure out a strategy for Banff, including purchasing gondola and lake tour tickets.

Laundry done, we hauled it back to the room, then headed out to find food for dinner and breakfast. We saw there was a Calgary Co-Op about a mile away, so we started out on foot. The route took us through campus, and at one point we saw a hare just sitting by a sculpture. We watched it for a bit, then continued on our way. We exited campus, then went another long block to a pedestrian overpass which went over a major road and a light rail line (with the station half way across). Down the other side, and we arrived at the store.

Looking around, we were intrigued that they were selling a basket of what looked like large ground cherries. We picked those up, as well as other breakfast items. Then to the deli counter where we got dinner and dessert, then after paying, we sat at the provided tables to heat and eat.

Dinner, check. Back to our room. This time we saw many more hares, and noticed they didn't seem particularly scared of humans.

Once we got back to the room, we realized that was one of the latest nights we've been out this whole trip, and knew we wouldn't be awake much longer.

Oh, and yes, our visit to Calgary coincides with the Calgary Stampede, but no, we didn't go.