I crossed into Banff National Park, crested the continental divide and entered Alberta just after 5:30, having come 135km in just over 7 hours. The heat of the days was subsiding and in my weariness I decided to push on for Banff rather than camp at Castle Junction. I started to have thoughts of staying in a bed.
After descending from the height of the continental divide, I opted for Highway 1A to avoid the traffic of Highway 1 for the final ~40km into Banff. I had most of the route to myself until I reached the outskirts of Banff. Weary legs and the effects of exposure did not make for an enjoying end to the day. I was pleased when I finally made the turnoff for Banff and came across sprawls of people. I, alongside many others got caught by a freight train at the level crossing. Two cyclists soon joined me. They were making preparations for their ride to Vancouver — minimal gear on their road bikes as they were credit carding it (staying in hotels). They planned on taking only 6 days for the trip!
I pushed on into the downtown core, arriving at the tourist information centre 56mins past closing. I finally found a town/tourist map and located one of the hostels, only to determine that they, and the others in town, had nothing available. My weary legs were none too happy about having to ride a few more kms up to the Tunnel Mountain campground.
Once I arrived at the campground, I met an Australian working on the gate and we had a good chat (including about the bear in the area). She had come to Banff on a working holiday around 3 years earlier and never left. This being my second time in Banff, I could understand why! After setting up camp, I decided that a few days rest were in order. I was soon relieved that the hostel was full. It was relatively peaceful in the campground and I was enjoying the space it afforded—something I would not have had at a hostel.
Having achieved the main intent of my ride—climbing the Mountain ranges of BC, especially the Rockies, which, whilst being tough were not the most challenging—the following day I would consider my options for what was next.