PHOTOS: Finally made it to Banff and hiked up Sulphur Mountain

Finally made it to Banff. It was my 3rd straight year in Calgary working at the Stampede and every year I’d say to myself, “I’ve got to see Banff.” Just could never find the time to take a day away during Stampede. So when work finally ended, I extended my stay and jumped in a Chevy Cruze for the drive to Banff. (all photos Richard Budman. Yes, even the ones I’m in (self-timer mode.))

After a week of almost perfect weather in Calgary. My day to drive to Banff began with clouds and rain. I was pissed. Thankfully, it would clear up later in the day and we did see some blue skies.

After checking into my Banff hotel I decided to walk into downtown for lunch. About 5 minutes after leaving the hotel I’m taken back by an Elk walking down the sidewalk. Really, how many times do you see that in Toronto?

I loved how everything was so mapped out in Banff. They do a great job of guiding you into the things you might want to see.

It felt great to be in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. But Banff has this amazingly quaint little downtown. Cool shops, pubs, and great restaurants I was able to easily discover.

I was in Banff to hike a mountain. I concluded that Sulphur Mountain was the best place to start. It would be an almost 6.5 km uphill hike to the peak and take about 2.5 hours. Two things became quickly clear – carrying my DSLR camera and its 10 pounds of extra camera lenses was not a smart move (it will be just a point & shoot camera for the next climb!) and I didn’t carry enough water.

The trail to the summit of Sulphur mountain does get rocky at times. Once again, my new hiking shoes were perfect for the occasion.

My plan was always to hike up Sulphur Mountain but take the Gondola down. You would see the Gondola taking people up during the hike and I just couldn’t help thinking on the trail, “only pussies take the Gondola up.”In the annals of mountain hiking, Sulphur Mountain ain’t considered no big thing. But gotta admit, it still felt damn good to summit.

Shots from the summit.

I was surprised to meet a few hikers who had their dogs with them for the hike up. Sulphur Moutain ain’t considered an easy hike. It was actually good to see the dogs as it provided me some extra motivation (“If a dog can do this hike up, fuckin’ right I can do it to!)
Sulphur Moutain Weather Observatory at Sanson Peak (7,667 feet.)

I will certainly return to Banff one day soon. There is still so much to see and do. Would like to attempt a Cascade Mountain climb one day – a much more challenging mountain.