I’m writing in the lobby of a backpacker’s lodge (youth hostel) in Banff, Alberta. The Rockies loom all around the town, and I can see a snow-capped peak out the window. I flew into Calgary (airport code YYC, for some odd reason) and rented a car; the drive here was gorgeous. As I got into town, I saw a fleamarket/auction, and stopped in for the local flavor; I picked up a couple Sarah McLachlan CDs for a loony (1 Canadian dollar) on a lark.
It’s been a while since I stayed in a dorm-style hostel (replete with creaky bunk beds and slightly questionable bathrooms)… not since my days hitchhiking through Europe, if I recall correctly. The place is bustling with young-uns. Naturally, several of them are Australian (the kudzu of travelers), and most of the rest seem to be French-Canadian (though we’re a long way from Quebec). I think most of the residents are here for hiking, snowboarding, and skiing in the mountains. I plan on doing some hiking while I’m here, too, but I’m reluctant to do anything more X-treme, lest I need an X-ray afterward.