After a fitful few hours of sleep huddled in the cold in the back of the Jeep, I awoke to the metallic cacophony of a train speeding by just behind where I was parked. Rubbing the cold and sleep from my eyes and joints, I got back in the driver's seat and set off south back toward Banff. It was raining, but the forecast showed sun below Jasper. It looked like I had beat the rain up north and it had caught up with me. On my return journey on the Icefields Parkway, the scene was a different one. Instead of bright, sunlit peaks framed against a clear sky, the mountains were now shrouded in cold, low hanging clouds. I had intended to participate in a guided hike out onto a glacier about halfway down, but the rain dissuaded me.
As I drove further south, I began to see the sun breaking through the clouds on the horizon. The warm morning glow grew stronger until the clouds had dissipated and I was back in Banff. Before I reached the town, I decided to make my way back to Lake Louise and take advantage of the sun. I rented a canoe and paddled out onto the water and just sat in the center of that azure pool for a good hour.
I made it back to the town of Banff in the early evening. I ran up one of the bordering hills to catch one last sunset before concluding the trip in my mind. I spent the next couple of hours having a giant beer and ribs back at the Bear Street Tavern. The next morning I drove back to Calgary and finished off the last of the This American Life episodes I had loaded just minutes before getting to the airport. Perfectly planned.