5 Minutes With Banff Squirrel

For McCool Travel’s 43rd travel profile, I am extremely honoured to present Banff Squirrel. Banff Squirrel, aka Crasher Squirrel, was featured a few years ago in National Geographic, where he photobombed this couple’s scenic picture.
banff squirrel
While this was not Banff Squirrel’s first interview (here is another), it is believed to be his first official profile (yippee, a McCool Travel exclusive). As you can imagine, it was a challenge talking to a squirrel. In between photobombing tourists, chasing other squirrels, and hiding acorns, he provided the following information.
“I am a squirrel who loves Banff National Park. Unlikely spokes-rodent for Banff Lake Louise Tourism on Twitter, sometime blogger on www.theRealBanff.com
banff squirrel

Banff Squirrel

Hometown
I have about 30 dens located within Banff National Park, up here in the Canadian Rockies. One is a co-op I regretfully invested in with a bunch of pikas.

banff squirrel - pika
Dave, an unruly Pika

Always in my luggage…

  • Bear spray. Me and bears are fine, but I use it as a condiment to liven up bland dishes.
  • My gigantic Pharrell Mountie hat.
  • Flintstones vitamins.
  • Pair of crocs. So comfortable, but I won’t be seen in public with them on.

banff squirrel
3 favorite home-away-from-home places…

  • I cherish visits to Skoki Lodge in the park. 11 km’s from any road, gorgeous, rustic, well stocked with cheese, and the hosts there-Katie and Leo Mitzel-always make you feel like family.
  • Any of nearby parks, like Yoho and Jasper, Kananaskis, and Peter Lougheed. I have family in all of them and once I am sure that there is a time when no relatives are in a certain park, then I visit it.
  • Buffalo. I love the Bills, chicken wing sauces, and their can-do attitude.

3 favorite travel brands…

  1. National Geographic. Everything they do is interesting, and I owe a debt of gratitude to their Marilyn Terrell for introducing me to this interweb.
  2. KLM’s customer service on twitter is great. I sometimes tweet them false flight numbers, asking which gate I should be at, just to keep them on their toes or if I’m lonely.
  3. Shout out to Melbourne’s Metro Trains, if only for the fact that I’ve watched ‘Dumb Ways To Die’ a million times.

3 money-saving travel tactics I use are…

  1. Eat from the roadside stands. Food trucks have almost become too fancy these days and prices reflect that. I look for the hot-dog-stand-that-looks-like-it-was-in-a-grease-fire type setup, and then I barter.
  2. Don’t buy insurance against a dealer’s ace.
  3. Tomatoes. If you are making yourself a tomato sandwich, don’t cut off that bottom part that looks like a wee nipple. It’s fine to eat. You’ll stretch your tomatoes an average of 2% farther.

3 ways that I have fun while traveling are…

  1. Visit somewhere when they are having a festival, especially small towns. I’ll search these out and plan travel around them. Small towns always put their best foot forward during festivals, they are usually ridiculous (see ‘Spock Days’ in Vulcan, Alberta), and the locals are stoked to see you.
  2. I like to go to a local dive bar and chat up the oldest man or woman there. Great way to get a feel for a place, learn what is right and wrong with wherever you are, and to also learn about hip ailments and rheumatism.
  3. Try to try everything where you are. Eating silk worm larvae from a roadside stand? Public traditional dance you can join? Polar bear dip? Nacho Libre amateur night? Yep.

banff squirrel nacho libre
8 word (or less) travel mantra…
You’re worst travel experiences can easily age into your fondest memory.
My favorite non-travel website…
TMZ is my guilty pleasure, but how else can I keep up with what’s going on with Selena and the Beibs?
Also use Google Translate a lot. A few P’s and Q’s in a local language go a long way and I can now say ‘Beer, please’ in 43 languages.
most memorable souvenir…
I once accidentally swallowed the toe in the ‘sour toe’ cocktail in the Yukon. Bedlam ensued.
recent discovery…
‘The Club’ at the Banff Centre. Intimate and funky 180 seat venue with a most eclectic variety of world class performers. Drop-ins from people like Reggie Watts, Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), some of the best jazz you’ll hear, comedians, puppeteers, cellists, you name it.

The Club, Banff Centre
The Club, Banff Centre

fortunate to have met…
The Queen. We discussed how to wear fascinators, and the flowers she gave me were delicious.
banff squirrel with Queen Elizabeth


Thank you very much, Banff Squirrel.
Follow Banff Squirrel on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.


Check out McCool Travel’s previous profilesMcCool Travel presents tips from travel experts in our 5 Minutes interview series—featuring travel industry giants, super frequent travelers, and adventurous persons. Previous 5 Minutes post: Kristin Addis.


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