Banff, Alberta, Canada.
Saturday March sixth 2017. Antwerp, Belgium.
“Ok, so are there any more questions?” He asked. “No, everything looks good!” I answered the travel agent. He was a very friendly man in his 50ties, who had spent the last half hour telling us everything we could ever wish to know about our upcoming trip. His father, the founder of this travel agency, suddenly peeked around the corner and said something in the local spoken gibberish. “No thanks, we have plenty.” Koen smiled, while pointing at his coffee. Thank god at least he understood.
At first, we were welcomed by this man. I already started panicking that I wouldn’t understand a word from the upcoming conversation. I even texted Koen a message under de table that he would have to take the word. Because I was faking to understand him. All while friendly nodding with every word he said. Not soon after, however, he introduced us to his son, who would do the conversation. Phew.
“Can you maybe tell us something about the weather there in September?” I asked. I know I was going to research this for myself as well, but I didn’t think it a bad idea to hear the man’s firsthand experiences. “Well, it isn’t that bad actually in September!” He said. “Not like high summer of course, but you can still be very lucky and have 20+ degrees then. Of course it will be colder at night en when you go higher in the mountains, but nothing too bad. Sure pack for rain though. I once had a couple here who had had 2 full weeks of rain there, in July!” “Oh really that bad?” I asked. “Well, that was an exception of course. I just mean to say that it can go either way with the weather. A bit like a Belgian summer really. If you’re lucky its 22 degrees and sunny and if you’re not, well then you’re going to have 15 degrees and rain.” He answered. “You will surely be able to hike in shorts, as long as you bring a good sweater and a raincoat.” He added with a smile. “Ok, perfect.” I smiled. “Ok, so you will receive your tickets and documentation shortly upon departure this summer. And if you would have any remaining questions, please contact me.” He concluded. We exchanged pleasantries and departed the travel office with a smile.
Wednesday September twentieth 2017. Banff, Alberta, Canada.
I came out of the bathroom, freshly washed and ready for the day. I started clearing away our travel book and maps, on which we had been making notes last night. Because of the forest fires, we would have to alter our route in the next days. The travel agency had been calling us to give us the locations of a couple of new hotels on this new route. It was unfortunately, but we were flexible. I put the documents away and started rummaging in my luggage to find some clothes to wear. From the corner of my eye, I could see Koen looking behind the curtains through the window.
“Is it still snowing?” I asked. He laughed as he looked at me. “Yes”.
Always make sure to pack wisely, especially when there are height differences and hiking involved. It doesn't matter where it is you're going. Check the climate conditions in advance, but surely pack for the worst possible weather. Image that you will be stuck in the mountains for 10+ hours while it is storming. Pack for that. Seriously.