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!
After 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!
After two days camped at Teddy Roosevelt NP, we aimed the camper North to Montana. What should have been an 8 our day turned into a 13 hour trek, but ended with awesome views of Glacier!!!!
The Going To The Sun Road is still under snow removal, but we managed to see 7 Grizzly bears in the open 12 miles from St Mary’s.
in addition, we spent our second day there at Two Medicine Campground and picnic area, one of my favorite places on earth!!! The wildflowers were the best I have seen, Bear Grass, lupine, columbine, etc flooding the ground.
The weather has been cooperative and we are now heading for Banff National Park.
We saw 7 Grizzly bears at St Mary’s and Chas has the photos, but I can’t access them yet! Will post the bears later:)!
The beginning of our trip was a bit hectic, as most beginnings are. We set the alarm clock for 4 am, planning to be on the road by 4:30. I thought everything was in order: had packed everything but the dog the day before, had prepped the coffee pot so it just had to be turned on, and had our travel mugs ready to be filled. Those that know me know I don’t function without my morning coffee:)! All should flow smoothly, or so I thought.
What actually happened was not what I had planned. The coffee part was perfect, but when we hooked up the Jeep to the Winnie, the lights did not work!!! After a bit, Charlie found some contact spray and the connections worked perfectly, lights blinking in sinc. So we began our journey, only to get to I 95 and realized that someone didn’t have their good reading glasses ( and it wasn’t the one of us addicted to reading) so back home again. Had to park in the street because the camper towing the Jeep cannot go up our driveway, nor turn around if it did. Finally, at 5:30 am we were on the road.
The next few days are a whirl of driving and camping at mostly 5 star rated commercial campgrounds. It costs a bit more, but the standard of quality accommodations is worth it at this time of our lives. We like KOA’s for the consistency of the services. We did stay at one 3 star, but quickly wished we had not. Even WB did not want to wander outside!
Our first real stop was at Teddy Roosevelt National Park at the far end of North Dakota. This has long been a favorite of Charlie’s, but this time we had a rude awakening!!! Sometime in the last year or so they have started letting people reserve the campsites. We were operating under the old rules, first come, first served, and arrived at 9:00 a.m. Only to find that all the sites on the Little Missouri River and with a view of the mountains, were reserved ahead!!! The interior loop sites( read undesirable) were still up for grabs. So we found ourselves a nice site for the requisite $7 fee( senior pass is half price) and stayed in the 90 degree heat dry camping. Unfortunately, the majority of the pre-reserved sites remained unoccupied for the two days we were there. Now I will reserve my site ahead of time, but this time we were caught unaware after 35 years of first come, first served!!!
We have better pictures, but they are on Charlie’s computer and inassessible at this time:) Will post wild horses later:).
I am taking a break from packing the RV for our “Back to Alaska” trek, and I realized we never posted last summer’s adventures. Last summer was a low key trip, in August, to the Badlands, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Glacier.
Buffalo on our walk around the campground.
Highlights included driving through the Big Horn Mountains, dry camping at Colter Bay in the Tetons, camping in Yellowstone at Fishing Bridge, and driving the Going-to-the Sun Road in Glacier National Park. We were only gone for three weeks, but saw plenty of animals and beautiful scenery!
We drove down into Valdez after leaving Tok. Valdez sits at sea level, so the mountains seem much taller than ones starting a thousand or so feet above sea level. Clouds covered some of the peaks, but our campsite had, as the real estate people would say, ” location, location, location”!!!
We pulled the nose of the RV up into the site, and had a great view of the small boat harbor from our window. Better yet, we put our camp chairs outside next to the bank and watched the fishing boats, kayakers, and sea otters as they traversed the harbor.
We took a trip back up the highway to Worthington Glacier and hiked the short walk to look at it up close. It is one of the easiest glaciers to access, and Charlie took lots of pictures of it, but we can’t access his photos due to poor internet connections. His photos of the glacier and other scenic Valdez images will follow, once we reach better wifi!
View from our camp site, Valdez small boat harbor
We enjoyed watching the Eagles, boats, and sea otters in the harbor but all good things come to an end, and when Charlie and I looked at the wild fire situation to try and decide where we should go next, there were not good choices! Fires had increased from 200 to 300, and we were reading reports of heavy smoke on the Kennai Penninsula, Denali Park Road, and Fairbanks. So, after much deliberation we decided to head back to the Alaskan Highway, which had managed to burn itself both sides of the road between Tok and the Border Crossing in our short time visiting!
Map showing wild fires on day we decided to turn around!