Ahhh...long weekends. They seem too few and far between, so we tend to cram a lot into them to make the most of our short summers here in Alberta.
This past weekend Trev and I headed south to Banff for a few days of backcountry hiking. We stopped to pick up our backcountry passes in Banff, in the middle of the Canada Day celebrations there. We grabbed a quick bite at a sushi place then headed to the Red Earth trail head. We had planned on taking Healy Pass, but it's still snowed in so we had to take the slightly less interesting route.
We started our hike at around 3:00, and easily made it to the first tenting site. We arrived early enough that we decided to continue on to the next site at Pharaoh Creek. The difficulty of the trail increased...we kept telling ourselves that the site would be after the next bridge (there were 9). We eventually arrived and started preparing dinner right away. Luckily, dinner was an easy backpacker meal. The dehydrated chicken stew was actually pretty good; maybe a few crunchy bits, but it filled the void.
The next morning we continued on to Egypt Lake. We arrived early and set up camp then cooked up my favourite camping lunch, quesidillas. We wanted to do a day-hike up to Whistler's Pass, but the trail had tons of snow. It was tough going, but we ended up at a nice view point with a good view of the surrounding mountains and the lakes below. The hike back down to our tent only took about 1/3 of the time as we slid through snow banks.
For dinner that night we cooked up some instant rice with soy protein curry. Still a little on the crunchy side, so I guess I'll have to adjust the recipe in the future. We had pistachio pudding for dessert. It's so easy, you add a package of instant pudding to a ziplock bag with 2/3 cup of powered skim milk powder, then add 2 cups filtered water to the bag and squish it all together to mix. Bring the bag down to the river and hold down the edge with a rock and let it sit for a while. The icy glacier water sets the pudding up and makes a nice treat.
On our third day we got up early, had some oatmeal and hot chocolate to warm up (it was below freezing at night) then started heading back. The hike out was loooong. It was just over 20km, and it started raining when we were about halfway. We finally arrived at the parking lot (after some whining from me) and started heading for Calgary.
Believe it or not, I've never been to Peters' Drive-In in Calgary. I guess we don't really make it to Calgary that often, so I was really looking forward to it (it's how I kept my feet moving for the last 3 kilometers). After our backcountry adventure we earned the treats we devoured!
Peter's Drive-In has been open since 1964, and not much has changed since, which is amazing. You can go through the drive-through or you can park in their parking lot and order from the window. They only take cash (to keep things speedy) so make sure you come prepared. We each ordered a single burger with cheese and a milkshake (maple walnut for Trev and banana-peach-coconut for me) and we ordered a small fries and onion rings to share. All of that was only $23 and it was SO much food. The burgers were really good and had real cheddar cheese. The fries and onion rings were tasty and hit the spot, but we could only finish about 1/2 of each order. The milkshakes were fantastic - thick and creamy, and they use real fruit in their shakes. Sadly, I couldn't finish my shake either, but I gave it my best effort. Now that I've tried Peters' once, I'll need to think of a reason to head down to Calgary so I can try another flavour of milkshake!