Bernard O’Brien – From ‘The Bern Wandering Years’

Thursday 15th September 1988

Spent yesterday wandering around Calgary – got myself an Olympic pin and a lovely sweatshirt. In the evening went to watch the Saints beat the Irish in some cup competition. Had a quiet night after. I was in two minds what train to catch. One stops in Banff and I would spend 24 hours there but the other goes over the Rockies in the daylight. I wanted to go on the latter but was really disappointed to find that it is $370 and the other is $74. I went to get a ticket today and the bloke told me it was all sold out. I got a ticket to Banff – The guard said are you a student? I asked why and he told me it is cheaper “OK I am a student then” The fare to Banff is now $9 and the whole trip is $50 – probably kip in the tent again tonight.

Banff Friday 16th September

Had a really productive day travel wise yesterday. I dosed around all morning killing time before the train. Got chatting to this Scot who had been travelling since 1984. I bought a book RAGE for the journey which is great. The train journey took us into the Rockies which are obviously really spectacular – billions of peaks. There was nowhere at the station to store my gear so I went to the Banff Youth Hostel – sharing a room with 3 others for $9; I ate and read, then went out for a beer with 4 lads – 2 Ozzies a German and an Englishman. – They are travelling around in a VW van so I have joined them hopefully for a couple of days – today we are driving up to the hot springs and hopefully later on to the ice fields. The weather is dreadful so there is a chance they may go to Calgary, which would be a shame as I would carry on going west. At the pub there was a brilliant pianist – I phoned dad cos it was his birthday.

10pm – the 5 of us just went to the hot springs. The temperature outside in the mountains is fairly cold but in the springs it was boiling. We had to keep getting out to cool down – it was great – so relaxing. The van we are in is a real wreck – We have to park it uphill as the starter is wrecked. We left the hot springs on the way to the ice fields + then it started snowing – it was great. We picked up two French girls and packed them into the van so there were 7 of us. The snow got worse and the van started skidding around a bit so we came into a youth hostel called Mosquito Creek. We have got a fire going and it is snowing heavily outside. It is really scenic and spectacular. The dorm is loads of bunk beds which looks great. Everyone is in a party atmosphere. Snow is forecast again for tomorrow so I don’t know how long we are going to be stuck here for. I have taken some brilliant photo’s.

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