The second day of our tour was the easiest day by far. Not only did we cover a mere 60km but it only required a minor gain in elevation - relatively speaking. This was a great thing for me because it allowed my legs to partially recover from the 97km ride from Calgary the day before.

After a huge breakfast thanks to Makoto and Emi, we left Canmore at a leisurely 9:30am. Before my departure, I decided to leave my sleeping bag and folding tire at Makoto and Emi's place to save some weight. I figured that the hostels would all provide blankets and I knew that Dave was carrying a spare tire as well.

Thirty minutes later, we found ourselves at the Park gate.

For this trip, I simply brought along my Family Park Pass which gave us full access to all of the National Parks.


Since this was a short day, we decided to hang around in Banff and kill some time. Our destination for the night was the Castle Junction wilderness hostel and I knew for a fact that there was very little to do in that vicinity if we arrived too early. (And no, I wasn't in the mood to hike up Johnson Canyon.)

After arriving in Banff, we checked out some items at Mountain Magic before buying some overpriced lunch and pastries at Safeway.

The weather was cloudy with sunny breaks but the high must have been 22 or 23C since it was fairly chilly.

After wolfing down our lunch along the Bow River, it was time to hit the road again.


Here's Dave as he starts up Hwy 1 with Mount Borgeau looming in the distance.

After arriving at the exit to 1A, we finally got off the busy Trans Canada highway... for at least 2 more days.


Here's a view of Hwy 1A. As you can see, there's absolutely no shoulder on this stretch or road ! This did little to discourage the 20+ roadies who were riding this road.

Luckily for all of us, the maximum speed limit was 60 km/h.


Here's a view of Castle Mountain from the parking area at Johnson Canyon. What a striking view !

I thought the junction was just around the corner but it was actually 6km away. I kept on having to remind myself that a few minutes by car can equal 5 or 6km on bicycle.


Here's a view of Pilot mountain from 1A. The view from Hwy 1 pales in comparison because it's too close to the mountain.

Maybe I'll scramble this peak next year...


Finally, here we are at the Castle Junction wilderness hostel. We ended up arriving at 4pm so we had an hour to kill before the doors were open.

We ended up sitting around in the lounge chairs and walking to the junction for a quick snack at the general store.


To my surprise, the Castle Junction wilderness hostel actually had running water, electricity, etc. Due to it's designation as a wilderness hostel, I was expecting this to be a very rustic hostel with an outhouse, propane lighting, etc.

Here's a view of the living room which was super comfortable ! I'll definitely be back in the winter for some of the excellent XC ski trails in the area.

After a meal consisting of some vacuum packed Korean curry entrees with freshly steamed rice, we tucked in for the night at 10pm. We knew that the following day would be pretty hectic. Not only was it over 100km but it'd involve 2 mountain passes - the Vermillion Pass and xxx Pass.

Before hitting the sack, I took a moment to reorganize my inventory and after some thought, I decided to leave my heavy Teva sandals under a tree to save weight. I figured the temperatures would be too cold to use them anyways...