Category Archives: Canada

Jasper National Park and The Icefield Highway

After enjoying all Banf NP had to offer,  we headed up the Icefield Parkway, past the glaciers and two bears! This road is extremely beautiful, with glacial streams, wildflowers, majestic mountains and the glaciers. One thing it doesn’t have is fuel for the RV, so we gassed up in Lake Louise at 6:30 in the morning. The only fuel available the entire length of the Icefields Parkway is at Saskatchewan River Crossing.


Our first fun stop of the day was at Herbert Lake, where we had breakfast and walked down to the lake. We then drove by Crowfoot Glacier, Bow Glacier, and Peyto Lake. We stopped frequently for Charlie to take pictures and Woolly Bear to romp around.  We stopped Midway at the Icefield Centre near Sunwapta Pass,  and were dismayed to see how much the Glacier has melted since our last visit.

At the Junction of 93A we passed Athabaskan Falls and then the trailhead to a favorite hike of mine, the Valley of Five Lakes. Finally we arrived at Whistlers Campground in Jasper National Park. Our site was 26F, and was a nicely wooded site with a picnic table and no visible neighbors. No hookups, but perfect for the three of us!

We are heading to Hinton next, for a day of grocery shopping and laundry doing. The next day we will be on our way to the Alaskan Highway via the Big Horn Route and will be camping in some Provincial Parks we haven’t visited before. We can only post gen we have wifi, so it may be a while before I can update you on our trek. No worries, will catch you up when I can!

Banff and Yoho National Parks

IMG_1035After spending three nights at Glacier National Park, we headed the camper North to Banff. Our plan was to camp at Tunnel Mountain 2 at the same site we had camped at two years ago. It was an end site with views of both mountains and meadows, and I knew that Woolly Bear would have room to chill.

We were dreading our trip through Canadian Customs, as we received the full camper search two years ago. I made sure all was neat and tidy, even to the point of making sure we only had clean clothes! We drove up to the window and were amazed that after a few cursory questions we were happily sent on our way!

We stayed in Banff at Tunnel Mountain 2, with electric hookups, but we spent a day in Yoho National Park, visiting Emerald Lake and Takakkaw Falls. Yoho is a very scenic place, and we really need to spend more time there in the future. We also stopped at Lake Louise and Charlie took some pictures. There is a lovely hike up to a tea house on the side of the lake, we hiked it when Woolly Bear was younger. I was the only one of the three of us that wanted to hike it again, so we headed next to Morraine Lake.

The road to Morraine Lake was closed!!! Apparently there were too many people there, and you really need to visit it before 8:30 am, or after 7 pm.  We had spent lots of time there on previous trips, so our disappointment was not devastating and we just headed off to check out the Bow Lake wildlife loop. Even that was more crowded than I had remembered it being on past visits. Then I remembered that Canada is celebrating a very special 150th Canada Day this weekend! No wonder everyone was out and about! Entrance to all the National Parks and National Historic sites are free this season, and from the looks of the crowds, people are enjoying this!

 

 

Yosemite and Snow!!!

P1070091After spending time at Sequoia NP we drove a bit north to Yosemite. We were fortunate to be able to secure 3 nights camping in the park, as reservations often fill minutes after the availability opens. At first it looked like we would need to move camp each day, but once in the park the Reservations desk ranger helped me find a site for two nights, meaning only one move during our stay. We camped at the Upper Pines Campground in sites 102 and 112, no electricity or water and $20 per night.  Of the two sites, 102 was the best as it backed up to the woods and had plenty of space for WB. Site 112 was also spacious, but the adjacent campsite, with a family with two small wandering children, had their campfire within 20 ft of our camper. A bit too close for my comfort!

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John Muir, Ansel Adams, and Teddy Roosevelt were all correct about Yosemite being a very special place  in need of preservation!  It is one of the most beautiful places we have ever visited. And, because of the snow, Tioga Pass and Glacier Point Roads were still closed. But the valley itself is magnificent, Yosemite Falls, Vernal Falls and Bridal Veil Falls were all surging down to the valley. The meadows were beginning to bloom, and I had my coffee each morning while watching the sun progress over Half Dome!

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Yosemite is also one of the most dog friendly national parks we have visited. Woolly Bear was allowed just about anywhere on the 12 mile paved bicycle loop that traverses the valley. He could also walk on paved paths to the lower falls, and we did take him on dirt paths that did not forbid dogs. Yosemite has a kennel in the summer for pets,  but it was still in the 50’s most days, so he could safely stay in the camper while we hiked.

There is a free shuttle bus for hikers, and a for fee bus from the nearby commercial campgrounds and hotels. It is very easy to get around the Yosemite Valley.

P1070025Our visit came to an abrupt end on Thursday evening when we overheard the Ranger telling another camper that  6 to 12 inches of snow was expected the next morning! We have no desire to drive in that type of weather, and we knew we could not get another day’s campsite, so we left that evening and drove to a KOA 23 miles outside the park, but at a much lower elevation. Friday morning we had a cold, steady rain, and the Yosemite to Sequoia area got the predicted snow.

Yosemite is a very special place that we need to return to at a time when the mountain passes are open and we can truly appreciate the entire park! Maybe mid July some year??? With reservations made well in advance!P1070039

 

Schoodic Penninsula and Campobello Island

We drove from Mt Desert Island in Acadia through the Schoodic Penninsula and took some great pictures of the waves crashing on the rocky coast. This is an area of Acadia National Park that we had never visited before. It consists of a one way scenic road with lots of places to stop and take in the scenery. Well worth the drive!

Schoodic Penninsula, Acadia NP

Schoodic Penninsula, Acadia NP

Schoodic Peninsula, Acadia NP

Schoodic Peninsula, Acadia NP

After driving along the Peninsula, we traveled on Route 1 until encountering the FDR International Bridge.

Bridge to Campobello Island, New Brunswick

Bridge to Campobello Island, New Brunswick

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Our last day in British Columbia

August 1st, day 20 of our vacation trip, arrived with sunshine. We had spent the night at Red Streak Campground at the south end of Kootenay National Park. We plan on spending today here as well, and will hike to Stanley Glacier.

Our campsite here is not as nice as the Jasper and Lake Louise sites, but is still okay. Red Streak CG is quiet, and each site has a few trees as a buffer zone between the RV’s in the pull through area. The tenting area and back in sites are much more secluded, and if we camp here again that is where we will choose to go.

We headed into Radium Springs for groceries, at a cost of $92.00. The we headed down the road for our hike!

Two Medicine Lake, Glacier NP

Two Medicine Lake, Glacier NP

View of Two Medicine Lake in Glacier National Park. My favorite!August 2nd we headed toward Glacier National Park, and our favorite campground at Two Medicine Lake.   We had camped at site one at Two Medicine last year, and were fortunate to get the same site gain!

View of Two Medicine Lake in Glacier National Park. My favorite!

Lake Louise continued:

View from campsite at Lake Louise Campground.

View from campsite at Lake Louise Campground.

Charlie, me and Woolly Bear on the far side of Lake Louise, at the start of our hike "View of the Six Glaciers".

Charlie, me and Woolly Bear on the far side of Lake Louise, at the start of our hike “View of the Six Glaciers”.

July 29th, Day 17 of our trip, arrived with sunshine and cool air. We decided to hike the Lake Louise trail to View of the Six Glaciers. This was a beautiful hike and consisted of 6 miles, round trip. Then we visited Moraine Lake.Lake Louise Continue reading

Looking Back: Jasper NP – Rain, Elk, and a Bear

Day 12 of our summer 2012 trip began with rain and a cool 58 degrees inside the camper. We decided to go into town and find a laundromat. The Town of Jasper was scenic and had a rustic looking information centre with extremely helpful volunteers staffing it. We found the laundromat and paid $4.00 per load for two loads of laundry. Total cost: $16.00 for 2 loads washed and dried.   While the laundry was being done WB and Charlie familiarized themselves with the Town of Jasper. WB actually visited me in the laundromat, but when more people arrived, we decided it might be best to abide by the “no dogs” sign.

Downtown Jasper

Downtown Jasper

Next we headed to Maligne Canyon and walked the nature trail in the rain. We also drove down the valley past Medicine Lake, but could not drive all the way to Maligne Lake because the road was flooding that day, and there had been several mudslides in the area in recent days. Medicine Lake was glacial blue and the first of many beautiful lakes we visited last summer.

A totem pole in downtown Jasper.

A totem pole in downtown Jasper.

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Looking Back: Jasper National Park

July 23rd found us headed to Jasper NP. We got off to a rough start because one of us had lost the camper keys. Finally left without them, using the spare set. We stopped in Hinton for a fuel and grocery break, and went into price shock when Charlie picked up a six-pack of beer and was charged $15.00 for it. That’s right, $2.50 a bottle!!!

Charlie found the missing keys while I was in the grocery store, so we were quite relieved.  We entered Jasper at 2:30 pm and headed for Whistlers Campground in the park for the next 5 nights. Our site was private, wooded, and had resident momma and baby elk in it most afternoons.

Elk calf resting right outside our camper at Whistler Campground, Jasper NP.

Elk calf resting right outside our camper at Whistler Campground, Jasper NP.

Baby elk sleeping  next to our campsite at Whistler in Jasper.

Elk sleeping next to our campsite at Whistler in Jasper.

Looking Back: Elk Island National Park

July 20th found us only 403 miles from Elk Island National Park, and our reservations were not until July 22nd. This meant we could take our time.

As an aside, we had hoped to visit a Provincial Park, but found that it was virtually impossible to find a vacant site on the weekends.  It is for this reason that I have already made many of the National and Provincial campground reservations for our Maritime Provinces trip this August. I am not making any for after Labor Day, but prior to that I have booked just about every night in either a Provincial or a National Park.

We camped at David Laird City Park just south of North Battleford on the Yellowhead Highway ( Route 16) that evening for $17.00, no hookups.  Our site was on a beautiful meadow, it was uncrowded, and we had two deer to watch first thing in the morning.

After a fuel and grocery stop in North Battleford the next morning, we arrived at Elk Island National Park at 1pm.  Even though I had reserved the site months ago, our assigned site #35 was small, steeply sloped, and next to two fifth wheelers with at least 10 small children. While WB loved the site, and the children loved him, we chose to move the next day.

Buffalo in the brush on our hiking trail.

Buffalo in the brush on our hiking trail.

We saw hundreds of wood buffalo! We hiked several trails, but then realized that the buffalo were using the trails, too, and with the thick brush on either side of the narrow trail we thought it might be difficult moving the dog and us out of the way!

Buffalo were every where, even on the roadways. I was glad I was not sleeping in our tent!

Buffalo were every where, even on the roadways. I was glad I was not sleeping in our tent!

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Looking back: Minnesota and North Dakota

Our campsite at Iron Lake.

Our campsite at Iron Lake.

The morning of July 18th, which was Day 6 of our vacation, we woke at our campsite on Iron Lake and watched a Bald Eagle soaring above the lake while we had breakfast and our coffee. We broke camp at 8:00 a.m. (central time) and entered Minnesota an hour later via the Bong Bridge (?). We laughed at the bridge’s name, but found it to be a very picturesque, s-curve bridge. No pictures, though.

We made a short stop at Cabela’s for binoculars, as Charlie had forgotten to bring his, then drove until 5 pm, when we stopped at Woodland Resort, Devil Lake in North Dakota.$ 31.00 for a site with electricity and shade, but no view of the lake. We were too tired of driving to care much, and WB definitely wanted out of the camper!!!

Day 7 we woke early and the View was headed down the road before 7:15 a.m. heading for Saskatchewan Province. We entered Canada at noon time, and easily went through Customs. We headed northwest on Route 39, and stayed in Regina at a rather unattractive campground as it was the only game in town.  It was sort of like a parking lot, but was clean and quiet for the night.

Making Hay in Saskatechewan

Making Hay in Saskatchewan