A Glacier Day at Stewart, BC

At Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, Cathy and I both felt that we were home – back in the North. It looked and smelled familiar, and we soon decided to stay for a third night. On Day 51 of the trip – Monday, June 13th – we’d drive into Stewart for a look, with the main focus for the day being the Salmon Glacier Road.

We put just over 200 km (124 mi) on the Tracker during the day. Click on the map to open an interactive version in a new window.

Map - Meziadin Lake to Stewart and the Salmon Glacier
I was up early, and by 06:00 when I shot this photo from our campsite, the day was looking like it was going to be perfect for touring. It would have been a wonderful morning to have a canoe. While I hadn’t had many days during the trip when I’d wished that I’d brought mine, there were a few.

Early morning at Meziadin Lake Provincial Park
Looking over the campground from the day-use picnic shelter on a bench above the lake, at 08:35.

Meziadin Lake Provincial Park campground

The Glacier Highway

We started the 65 km drive into Stewart just after 10:00. BC Highway 37a is called “the Glacier Highway” because you pass by about 20 glaciers and icefields (most unnamed – see map). There are also apparently 72 avalanche paths, some of which cause the highway to be closed even now and then during the winter. Below all the ice, snow, and bare granite, the vegetation is lush, a vibrant green that almost glows. I love this country! I believe this is Entrance Peak (because it’s the entrance to Bear Pass, I expect).

Mountain scenery along BC's Glacier Highway
There appears to be some superb glacier-access hiking until you get close and look at the vegetation – there are no trails, and this is very tough country to bushwhack through.

Unnamed glacier along BC's Glacier Highway
This tongue of the Bear Glacier (Bear River Glacier on the topographical maps) is the heart of Bear Glacier Provincial Park, which was just created in 2000. It flows from the massive Cambria Icefield east of Stewart. I’ve posted 5 photos that I shot between 1975 and 2015 to show the dramatic retreat of the Bear Glacier.

The Bear Glacier (Bear River Glacier)
The tongue of the glacier. I really want to get over there, but haven’t seen an easy way across Strohn Lake or the Bear River yet. The names in this area add to the confusion caused by the topography – Strohn Creek doesn’t flow from Strohn Lake, the Bear River does.

The tongue of the Bear Glacier, BC


We didn’t spend much time stopping along the highway, and crossed the final Bear River bridge into Stewart at 11:00.


Our first stop in Stewart was the visitor information centre, to pick up a copy of the excellent Glacier Highway and Salmon Glacier Self Guided Auto Tour booklet (which can be downloaded at that link).

I was pleased to see across the street that Stewart once again has a newspaper, the Stewart Times, which was started a few weeks ago by Mary Mandelin.

The Stewart Times newspaper office
The constant “must” for me whenever I visit Stewart is the estuary boardwalk. It’s apparently 805 meters long (2,641 feet), and a recent extension connects it to the road to Hyder and beyond. There are many interpretive signs along its length, adding to the spectacular views over the estuary to the Portland Canal, the docks, and up to the peaks and glaciers.

The estuary boardwalk at Stewart, BC
The poor old fire hall, afflicted with wet rot, looks worse each time I see it. It used to house the museum, but that’s now been moved to city hall, though the putside artifacts are still at the fire hall.

Historic fire hall in Stewart, BC

We stopped in at the “King Eddie” (the King Edward HoteL) for lunch, and just after 1:00 passed through Hyder on our way to the Salmon Glacier.

The Salmon Glacier Road

Stop #8 on the auto tour is the site of the Riverside Mine, where silver and copper were discovered in 1915. Development began 7 years later, and some 4,000 feet of tunnels were blasted out. In some years, it was the most productive mine in Alaska for silver and copper. It operated intermittently until 1961, but fires and floods had destroyed most of the mine structures by 1987. I recall there being a fair bit at the site when I lived in Stewart in 1975.

The historic Riverside Mine near Hyder, Alaska
Looking down the Salmon River from the Riverside Mine site.

Looking down the Salmon River from the Riverside Mine site
I pulled over to let a pilot car go by, and the large load of mining equipment that followed proved to be a good excuse to drive very slowly up the road.

Mining equipment going up the Salmon Glacier road
This view (Stop #12 – the Premier Mines Viewpoint) is the one that’s most changed since I travelled the road to work every day 41 years ago. On that hillside was the massive Premier Mine, with buildings dating back to about 1918 (see a 1975 photo). The truck full of equipment I was following went up the road behind the building to the left of centre in this photo, but I haven’t yet discovered where it went.

Premier Mines Viewpoint
Looking down on the Salmon River. A very enticing view, but all but impossible to reach except by helicopter.

The Salmon River and a clear glacial pool
The toe of the incredible Salmon Glacier. As with the Bear Glacier, I’ve posted a series of photos showing the dramatic retreat of the Salmon Glacier. I was disappointed to discover at about this point that the road terrified Cathy – if you have a fear of heights, this is not a road you want to be on.

Toe of the Salmon Glacier
I was surprised to see a Sikorsky S-64F SkyCrane slinging loads to what appeared to be a new communications tower above the glacier viewpoint. A 1993 model, the helicopter is operated by Erickson Air-Crane from Oregon.

Sikorsky S-64F SkyCrane slinging loads over the Salmon Glacier
At Km 37.0 on the Salmon Glacier road, which is the main viewpoint, the road has now been closed by the mining company now working the former Tide Lake property of the Granduc Mine where I worked. Last October, I was able to drive a few miles further, but the last time I was able to get right to the Granduc site was 2002.

Km 37.0 on the Salmon Glacier road - closed beyond this point
I was hoping to be able to hike the old Granduc road seen in this photo (it gets much closer to the glacier), but the access to it is now beyond the security gate.

The old Granduc road
I hiked above the viewpoint to get this shot. There’s a vague trail to start but also lots of snow and bare granite to reach this point. I was tempted to keep going, but…

The Salmon Glacier
Starting back down at 2:50, after a much shorter day than I’d planned on.

A waterfall along the Salmon Glacier road
Back in Stewart, the Global Hero was loading a cargo of raw logs. Thanks to the Stewart Times, I know that the 179-meter-long ship is registered in Panama, has a crew of 20 under Captain Pangan Gelera, and that she loaded 31,000 tons of logs for China.

Freighter Global Hero loading raw logs at Stewart, BC

We were back to the campground by about 4:30, and had a quiet evening – there were enough periods with the right conditions to have a campfire for a while (mostly, that meant enough wind to keep the mosquitoes away but not enough to blow us away 🙂 ). For Tuesday, I decided to see if I could get to the toe of the Bear Glacier.

Burns Lake to Smithers and Meziadin Lake Provincial Park

Our final few days of the trip had only the vaguest plan of action, and the weather played a big part in the way they played out. Prince Rupert unfortunately got deleted from the itinerary, as did hiking at Smithers, but all in all it worked out well.

On Days 49 and 50 – Saturday and Sunday, June 11th and 12th – we put a total of 411 km (255 mi) on the motorhome, and a few more on the Tracker. Click on the map to open an interactive version in a new window.

It had poured all night and morning at Burns Lake, so by 10:15 we were hooked up and ready to head west in search of sunshine.

RV leaving Burns Lake in the rain
By the time we stopped at this rest area east of Smithers just before noon, the skies were at least brighter.

Rest area on Highway 16 east of Smithers
Cathy checked RV park reviews as we got close to Smithers, and we decided that the small Glacier View RV Park (20 sites) would be good. It was perfect – we were the first arrivals of the day, and got the site furthest from the highway noise (#20), though it didn’t have the glacier view out the front windows. The park has had a great deal of work done recently, and is very nice, for $31.35 for 30-amp full services.

Glacier View RV Park, Smithers
Cathy and I spent the rest of the day looking around Smithers, enjoying some sun occasionally. When Cathy wanted to go into a kitchen shop, I probably rolled my eyes, but it was me that came out with a bag – they had a good sale on Riedel single-malt whiskey glasses 🙂

Riedel single-malt whiskey glasses
For dinner, I took Cathy to my favourite restaurant in town, the Mexican Trackside Cantina. It was excellent as always (though Cathy makes better margaritas 🙂 ).

Trackside Cantina, Smithers
I had hoped to be able to hike the difficult Glacier Gulch Trail on Sunday, to expand on my Destination BC article about the Twin Falls Recreation Site, and we were open to staying another day to make that happen, but despite a fairly decent weather forecast, and it had potential even at 05:00, the clouds soon lowered and got wet. This photo shot from the RV park at 05:00 shows the Hudson Bay glacier I’d planned to hike to.

We were on the road by about 10:30, with Meziadin Lake Provincial Park the planned destination. Nothing of note happened on the drive, and by about 4:00 pm we were set up in a beautiful site on the shore of Meziadin Lake, with power and good wifi! Yes, good wifi in a provincial park in the middle of nowhere, and yet many (most?) commercial RV parks up here will cry and whine that it just can’t be done. Anyway, good value for $27, and another $5 total for wifi access for as long as you stay.

Meziadin Lake Provincial Park

When we arrived, we were the 2nd rig to set up on a spit with about 10 sites, all of which had “Available” tags on the posts. At about 6:00 pm, a camper-truck from Colorado pulled up as I was about the pay the park operator, and he claimed that he had reserved the site we were in. After a couple of minutes of his bitching, including saying that we might have just taken an “Available” tag from another site and put it on ours, I said that I’d pull up stakes and move 20 feet or whatever to one of the other available sites. Perhaps realizing how stupid he sounded, he agreed to take the one beside us. Geez…

Meziadin Lake is beautiful, but sudden violent storms blew through often – this guy took advantage of a calm period to get his canoe out, but didn’t go very far. With high water, there was pretty much no place to land if a wind came up. Mosquitoes were quite bad, so some wind was a good thing.

Canoeing on Meziadin Lake
The park was great for the dogs. Even though there was only a few feet of water access over by the boat dock, there’s lot of good walking.

Boat Dock on Meziadin Lake
With a bit of a breeze, some good bug dope and long sleeves and pants, our first evening at Meziadin was perfect. The next day, we’d day-trip to the two largest glaciers around Stewart.

Campfire at Meziadin Lake Provincial Park

Back to the Fur Trading Days at Fort St. James

Day 48 of the trip – Friday, June 10th – was fun, spending a few hours at a Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading fort, and then making a fairly short drive to another lakeside campground.

Cottonwood Park on Stuart Lake at Fort St. James was a lovely spot to wake up at, and at 06:00, it looked like we might have decent weather for the day.

Cottonwood Park at Fort St. James
While the rest of the family slept, I was out wandering just after 06:00. This is the Tom Creek steam shovel, which was built by the Marion Steam Shovel Company in the 1920s. In the mid-1930s it was brought under its own steam to the Fort St. James area by Thomas A. Kelley. It was barged to Takla Landing, then walked 19 miles to Tom Creek, where it worked at a placer gold mine until 1940. It was brought to Cottonwood Park in 1994.

Tom Creek steam shovel at Fort St. James
We were having breakfast at 09:00 when I spotted a potential photo. Walking a couple of hundred feet from the RV, I got this shot of the Ripples of the Past Interpretive Trail and Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic Church.

Ripples of the Past Interpretive Trail and Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic Church
Looking back to the campground from near the washrooms. In the foreground is a 1/3 scale Junkers W34 float plane. This type of plane was used by Fort St. James aviation pioneer Russ Baker’s company, Central British Columbia Airways in the late 1940s. Note: various Web sites use several names for Russ Baker’s airline – this photo of Baker and the Junkers from “Bush Flying to Blind Flying” confirms the name I’ve used.

We dawdled around as usual, and after dumping the rig’s tanks and filling the water tank at the free Cottonwood Park sani-station, made the short drive to the Fort St. James National Historic Site.

Our Parks Canada annual pass got us in, and we began our tour with the short film “A Letter Home”, which summarizes the fort’s past. It was the North West Company that built the original fort in 1806 – the second permanent fur trade post west of the Rocky Mountains. Fort St. James became the centre of the northern fur trade district, known as New Caledonia. In July 1821, the North West Company amalgamated with the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), and the Fort St. James operation continued on the original site until 1952.

Fort St. James National Historic Site, BC
While student groups can be disruptive to a historic site visit, they can also be fun to watch, and the reality is that student tours make up a large percentage of visitors to some sites, including Fort St. James. Here, some kids are learning about piece en piece building construction.

Piece en piece building construction at Fort St. James National Historic Site, BC
I’d never known whether the “World Famous Chicken Races” billboard that I’ve passed by many times on Highway 16 was serious. It is – every day at 11:30, five chickens run down a track from their pen to freedom in the open grassy yard.

Chicken races at Fort St. James National Historic Site, BC
And they’re off!! It’s over in about 3 seconds, but good fun. It was mostly fun watching the chicken-wrangler getting them ready – one was just not in the mood to play 🙂

Chicken races at Fort St. James National Historic Site, BC
An interpreter was running a kids’ program in the General Warehouse and Fur Storage building (from 1888-89), getting them to guess which animal each fur came from. There’s a small fortune in furs there.

Fur storage at Fort St. James National Historic Site, BC
We were free to look around the building, which has a wide range of products from the site’s target date of 1896. Included are these boxes of Santa Claus brand “Pile Annihilator”. I wonder if it’s mostly old truckers who take particular notice of products like this? 🙂

Santa Claus brand Pile Annihilator at Fort St. James National Historic Site, BC
Parks Canada says of the building: “The general warehouse holds the highest designation Parks Canada can bestow on heritage resources. It is perhaps the finest example of Red River framing (or ‘piece-on-piece construction’) in North America.” Today’s warehouse is from the fourth rebuilding of Fort St. James.

Fort St. James National Historic Site, BC
What is now the Men’s House, built of squared timbers in 1884, provided accommodation for temporary and permanent fort employees, as well as occasional visitors. It served first as a clerk’s house, then as a men’s house, and later as a guesthouse, a school, and finally, in the mid-1900s, as a private residence. The newspapers on the wall kept out drafts – they’re reprints of historic papers.

Men's House at Fort St. James National Historic Site, BC
The views out many of the windows at the fort, looking over Stuart Lake, are extremely nice.

A view out a window at Fort St. James National Historic Site, BC
Picking through items to decide which ones you’d take with you on a winter trapping expedition was a very interesting process, with some surprises – like a rifle not being on the list.

Fort St. James National Historic Site, BC
The Trade Store and Office was originally built in 1884, but the current structure is a reconstruction, as the original burnt down in 1919.

Fort St. James National Historic Site, BC
The Trade Store and Office was the heart of the fur trade operation, and Barry did a great job of explaining its role, and the processes including replacing money with beaver pelts and porcupine quills.

Trade Store and Office at Fort St. James National Historic Site, BC
An HBC clerk was always on duty, so having his bed beside his work desk made life easier.

Fort St. James National Historic Site, BC
Life was very good for HBC officers, as can be seen in the Officers House, another structure from the major 1884 rebuild. A. C. Murray was the Chief Factor here in 1896, so the house reflects his life. This building operates as a B&B once the site closes for the day.

Fort St. James National Historic Site, BC
A young relative of the Murrays “got in trouble”, and came to Fort St. James to have her baby, later going home with few knowing what had happened, as the Murrays adopted the baby (if I remember the story correctly).

Fort St. James National Historic Site, BC
“Caution: Jumping Goats” said the sign. They didn’t jump, but they did snuggle 🙂

Fort St. James National Historic Site, BC
We decided to have lunch at the on-site Commemoration Cafe, prompted by “Mr. Murray’s Chili: This is the best chili you ever ate or your money back. $7.95”. It was very good, but not as good as mine (but I paid 🙂 ).

Fort St. James National Historic Site, BC
From the fort, we went back to Cottonwood Park, hooked the Tracker up to the motorhome again, and then it was 175 km (109 mi) to the municipal campground I’d read about in Burns Lake. Click on the map to open an interactive version in a new window.

Map - Fort St. James to Burns Lake
Following rough directions and then finally some camping signs got us here. This couldn’t be right but we knew we were close, so went for a walk in the rain that had arrived.

The campground was indeed close, at Burns Lake Spirit Square (part of the recreation complex we initially parked at) but you have to turn at the road before the camping sign, not after it. Anyway, we had our choice of sites – no services, lovely view, washrooms close by, and free. Destination BC says that the campground “has seven free tenting sites on Burns Lake”, but as you can see, they are RV-friendly.

Municipal campground, Burns Lake, BC
The view out the window. We took Bella and Tucker for a long walk before the heavy rain started, and we do like the sound of the rain on the roof, but any incentive to look around Burns Lake was soon washed away.

It was good weather for ducks and Canada geese, though, and Molly thoroughly enjoyed her viewing window.

Canada geese at Burns Lake

Cat watching Canada geese at Burns Lake

The plan for Saturday was to make the 90-minute drive to Smithers, where we’d spend the night.

From Purden Lakes Park to Fort St. James

Our route on Day 47 of the trip – Thursday, June 9th – took us west on Highway 16, and after a stop at the Vanderhoof Museum, north on Highway 27 to Fort St. James.

When we first bought the motorhome, I envisioned 240 km (150 mi) as a good mileage for an average day, and that’s worked out to be very good for the way Cathy and I like to travel. The route from Purden Lakes to Fort St. James is 222 km. Click on the map to open an interactive version in a new window.

Map - Purden Lake Provincial Park to Fort St. James
The campground at Purden Lakes Provincial Park is very nice, though the bugs were fairly bad when we were there.

Purden Lakes Provincial Park, BC
It was a big surprise to find flush toilets in what looked to be old-fashioned outhouses.

Flush toilets in the outhouses at Purden Lakes Provincial Park, BC
I took Bella and Tucker down to the lake and just sat on one of the docks for a while. The welts and wounds from the bugs at Gregg Lake were still bothering me 3 days later.

Bug bites on my feet
We’re pretty consistently one of the last people to leave each campground we go to, and this was no exception – we pulled out right at the 11:00 checkout time. There’s a sani-dump available as you leave the park. There’s a $5 charge, but we didn’t need it anyway – without any conservation measures, we can go a week without services.

RV at sani-dump at Purden Lakes Provincial Park, BC
Heading west on Highway 16 at 11:20. This is pleasant country – nothing dramatic. The stop at The Ancient Forest, however, has given me much more of an appreciation for what’s along the road.

Highway 16 west of Purden Lakes Provincial Park, BC
Approaching Prince George at 11:45. Our only stop there would be a pet shop. The last 2 nights of bad thunderstorms had really bothered Bella, and even bumps in the road were becoming a problem, so we decided to see if we could find a Thundershirt for her in Prince George (it’s an anxiety-reduction shirt that many people get great results from).

Approaching Prince George from the east on Highway 16
Cathy spotted a Total Pet store as we passed it on our route through town, and it wasn’t too hard to go around the block and get into the fairly large parking lot. The staff there was great, and Bella soon had her Thundershirt (for $56.99) – and we had our fingers crossed that it would work for her.

Bella in her new Thundershirt
We fueled up in Vanderhoof ($211 worth, at $1.219 per liter), then went to the Vanderhoof Community Museum, which I’d been to a few times, but never when it was open. A guide greeted us and showed us around the property, which is a “heritage village” of buildings that have been moved here. Many of the buildings have been re-purposed over the years, and the museum has done a good job of showing what the different stages woud have looked like.

Vanderhoof Community Museum
The Vanderhoof school as it would have looked in the 1920s.

Vanderhoof Community Museum
In 1918, R. M. Wade & Co. introduced and patented the gasoline driven one-man drag saw for loggers. It had a wheel on one end, making it possible for one man to operate it by himself. It was originally made by a factory located in Oskosh, Wisconsin. Later production was moved to the Multnomah Iron Works Company in Portland. It was a world famous product, sold in Australia, England and Germany. A Youtube video shows one at work sawing a log.

Wade Drag Saw at the Vanderhoof Community Museum
We left Vanderhoof a little after 3:00 pm, and by 4:00 were set up in Fort St. James at Cottonwood Park, which includes a 10-site municipal campsite right on Stuart Lake. There are no services, but there’s a firepit and picnic table, and the location and view make the $15 fee a bargain. The marina manager keeps an eye out for arrivals and drives over to collect the fee.

RVs camped at Cottonwood Park in Fort St. James, BC
Cottonwood Park was great for the dogs. We played on the beach and then walked a bit of the Ripples of the Past trail that runs in front of the campsites.

Ripples of the Past trail in Fort St. James, BC
Our Lady of Good Hope Church, built by Oblate Father Blanchet in 1873, is one of the oldest Roman Catholic Churches in BC. In 2010, following many years of awful treatment of the Natives who moved to be near the church, the church and land around it were transferred to the Nak’azdli Whut’en, a non-treaty First Nation.

Our Lady of Good Hope Church in Fort St. James, BC
The detail on the church steeple is wonderful. It’s a later addition to the 1873 structure, I believe by Father Morice, who was the church priest from 1885 to 1904.

Our Lady of Good Hope Church in Fort St. James, BC
Enjoying the evening sun with margaritas on the lakeshore at 8:00 pm.

At about 10:30, it looked like another storm was moving in.

The plan for Friday was to have a good look at the Fort St. James fur trading fort, then make the short drive to Burns Lake.

Experiencing an Ancient Forest in BC

On Day 46 – Wednesday, June 8th – we stopped to see BC’s newest Provincial Park, an ancient forest east of Prince George that volunteers have put 14,000 hours into developing. Walking all the trails that have been built among the massive cedars was a powerful experience.

This was a fairly long day – 400 km (250 mi) from our overnight spot at the Freson Bros. grocery store in Hinton to Purden Lakes Provincial Park. Click on the map to open an interactive version in a new window.

We got away from Hinton just after 09:00, heading west on Highway 16 under skies that were far friendlier than had been forecast.

Highway 16 west of Hinton, Alberta
We’d be re-tracing our route for the 80 km to Jasper before continuing on into new country. Three bridges east of Jasper are being rebuilt, but delays were minor. Two vans full of Asian tourists apparently thought that the delays were too long, though, screaming by us on a double solid in a construction area – a few minutes later, we passed them as they were getting out at a photo stop. Idiots.

Bridge rebuild on Hwy 16 east of Jasper
The weather stayed good enough to make a stop at Mount Robson Provincial Park. Mount Robson is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies at 3,954 meters (12,972 feet).

Mount Robson, BC
Mount Robson has very special memories for Cathy, who spent a few days hiking to and on the mountain about 25 years ago.

Cathy and Bella at Mount Robson, BC
The small interpretive centre on the lower floor of the visitor centre is very good, but few people go down to see it. The history of tourism on the mountain is very interesting.

Interpretive centre at Mount Robson, BC
We’ve seen very few traffic accidents during the trip. This one just west of Mount Robson was an odd one – a semi had gone into the Mount Terry Fox Provincial Park rest area at high speed, lost control, took out three lights, jack-knifed and crossed the highway where he flipped into the ditch. Thank heaven nobody else was involved – or so it seemed from the type of equipment and traffic control being used in the cleanup.

Semi crash on Hwy 16 at Mount Terry Fox Provincial Park rest area
I had read a few weeks ago about the creation of a new provincial park at The Ancient Forest, and it was on my must-see list for the trip. We reached the site just before 3:00 pm, and were surprised to see no signs about it being a park, and by the overgrown picnic area in particular. The steep parking lot wasn’t very rig friendly, but I decided to park on the side of the short access road down by the highway where it’s level, and have a look at what’s there.

Overgrown picnic area at The Ancient Forest, BC
This is the entrance to the forest that’s been developed by the Caledonia Ramblers Hiking Society of Prince George. The Ancient Forest is part of the Interior Cedar Hemlock forest, the only known inland temperate rainforest in the world.

The Ancient Forest, BC
The first Ancient Forest Interpretive Trail was officially opened on June 4, 2006, and there is now a circuit with a couple of branches, most of it on boardwalks.

The Ancient Forest, BC
Many of the western red cedar here are over 1,000 years old. To get this one in a photo I had to create a panorama with two 18mm verticals. There are many interpretive signs along the trail system.

The Ancient Forest, BC
The beauty and the power of this forest is breathtaking. When I lived in the Fraser Valley 30 years ago, I knew where to find old-growth forests like this, and spent a fair bit of time in them, in places like the lower Carmanah (years before it became a park in 1990), Stein, and Chilliwack River valleys. To once again walk among the ancient ones was a very moving experience.

The Ancient Forest, BC
This story of the saving of this forest goes back to 1990, but it got critical in 2005 when, as Block 486, a license was issued to log it. The paint from the timber cruising done then is still visible on some trees.

The Ancient Forest, BC

Boardwalk in The Ancient Forest, BC

Boardwalk in The Ancient Forest, BC
Here, the boardwalk goes around a fallen giant.

Boardwalk in The Ancient Forest, BC
A side trail leads to…

Waterfall trail in The Ancient Forest, BC
… a waterfall, Treebeard Falls, 34 meters high.

Waterfall in The Ancient Forest, BC
I’ve seen a lot of this “gold dust” on old trees, but didn’t know until reading a sign in The Ancient Forest that it’s Gold Dust lichen, a delicate species that’s unique to old-growth forests and only found in abundance on trees over 250 years old.

Gold Dust lichen in The Ancient Forest, BC
Protection has been put in place for many trees that have been damaged by people climbing on them. Much of the bark has been torn off the lower part of this tree. Some people just don’t think, even when they come to a place like this.

The Ancient Forest, BC
A great deal of thought has been put into signage, which includes this one: “Look Up At The Cedar Circle In The Sky”.

Look Up At The Cedar Circle In The Sky at The Ancient Forest, BC
And yes, I probably wouldn’t have looked directly up to see it without the sign’s help.

The Cedar Circle In The Sky at The Ancient Forest, BC
Me at “the Big Tree”, which is apparently almost 16 feet in diameter.

The Big Tree in The Ancient Forest, BC
The side trail to The Big Tree goes under another fallen giant – head clearance is almost 6 feet.

The Ancient Forest, BC
The boardwalk-builders had some fun, here putting it tightly between two trees.

Boardwalk in The Ancient Forest, BC
Cedars sometimes grow in circles of 3 to 5 trees. It’s not known why, though some speculate that a tree starting life in a shady spot will grow laterally in search of light, and can sometimes touch the ground and root itself.

A cedar circle in The Ancient Forest, BC
Walking back to the motorhome after spending an hour and a half at The Ancient Forest. Cathy walked the 500-meter universally accessible boardwalk, and I walked the full circuit and side trails with the exception of the Driscoll Ridge trail, which is 15 km long. All in all, an exceptional stop that I’m sure will remain one of the highlights of the trip.

Just after 5:00 pm, we reached Purden Lake Provincial Park, and were soon set up for the night on a very nice site.

Purden Lake Provincial Park
The flat light didn’t do justice to Purden Lake, which I expect is beautiful on a sunny day. That night, we had another extremely violent lightning storm, though we didn’t see much because we were in a dense forest.

After some discussion about the route home, we decided that historic Fort St. James would be our destination for Thursday.

3 Days Around Hinton, Alberta

Days 43, 44, and 45 of the trip – Sunday through Tuesday, June 5-7, were quiet time with my son and his family in the Hinton area. We had learned in Kelowna how perfect RVs are for having quality family time together, and that was the plan for much of the Hinton-area stay.

On Saturday night, Cathy and I started off at the Hinton/Jasper KOA Campground, where the quality of everything except the wifi is at a very high level – including the view – for $50 per night. On our last visit we’d stayed at the KOA for our entire visit.

Hinton/Jasper KOA Campground
The KOA is very dog-friendly, and the kids had a lot of fun in the agility park – I think that I need to build some of this equipment for them when I get home 🙂

Dog agility park at the Hinton/Jasper KOA Campground
On Sunday, we got the rig ready, took it into town for its first wash in weeks, and did some shopping. Steve had his new trailer loaded at about the same time we finished, so we met in the Walmart parking lot and made the short drive to the Gregg Lake Campground in William A. Switzer Provincial Park. We got a pair of sites in the Fox Den circle that backed onto each other, with power, for $33 each per night.

Once we got set up, we walked the lovely 800-meter trail to Gregg Lake. My grandson, Brock, just turned two, but walks a good dog with no problem – and Gracie is a good dog until there’s a ball or stick to fetch 🙂

Trail to Gregg Lake
There are 3 public areas on Gregg Lake – the boat launch, a tiny gravel swimming beach where no dogs are allowed, and another tiny spot with a gravelled beach, which is where we went. Bella had never had warmish water to swim in before, and loved it. Fetching a ball got her into the water a few times, and then she started swimming just for fun. Steve and Rachel’s old dogs both love the water.

Playing with dogs at Gregg Lake
Tucker had never been swimming at all yet. We got him in the water, but not very deep except a couple of times, and he’s still not a big fan of the idea. And yes, he’s one funny-lookin’ dude when he’s wet! 🙂

Wet puppy
A friend of Steve and Rachel’s came over to our beach on a paddleboard with her kids, and the way the conversation went that evening, it was no surprise when a trip to town on Monday resulted in a kayak coming back with them. I took it for a spin, and it looks like a good investment in fun.

My son and grandson in a kayak
Another couple of the kids’ friends who have a dog and a pair of kayaks joined us on Monday, and it was a wonderful day.

Kayak and dog at Gregg Lake, Alberta

The Gregg Lake Campground is beautiful, and was perfect for what we wanted to do. The downsides to Gregg Lake are its horrible clay-mud bottom everywhere except the two tiny spots where gravel has been poured in, and the bugs. I have never been bitten so badly, or by such a variety of bugs – some tiny bites, some large bleeding wounds. I didn’t see most of the bugs, and don’t even know what they were. Days later, I still itch.

On Tuesday, Rachel had to go to work, and we all headed back to Hinton. Cathy and I stopped at the lovely little lake called Kelley’s Bathtub to walk the 1-km trail around it.

Kelley's Bathtub

In Hinton, Cathy and I parked the motorhome at the Freson Bros. grocery store, and then met the boys for dinner at Boston Pizza a couple of blocks away. Freson not only welcomes RV camping in their lot, they have free and fairly fast wifi that reaches the RV area. It’s where I’ve always done my shopping in Hinton anyway, but that sort of service certainly cements the idea. There’s also a Walmart that allows RV parking, so Hinton makes it very easy to stay longer.

We went over the the kids’ home, were the boys played and played and played 🙂

My grandson playing
…until Brock was so tired that he couldn’t even lift a dessert spoon!

My very tired grandson
Back at Freson Bros. just after 8:00 pm, with a storm moving in.

All hell broke loose that evening, with one of the wildest electrical storms I’ve ever seen. As it started moving away, it occurred to me that I should try to photograph it. Being in a hurry and not being very well set up, the photos I got aren’t much, but I now understand the concept in case I ever see another storm like that. Just set the shutter speed to as slow a speed as you can (this was a hand-held 1/4-second), and shoot continuously – maybe one photo in 40 will have lightning in it.

Lightning storm in Hinton
Looking at the weather forecast for the trip home, we were pretty disappointed to see a great deal of clouds and rain. Oh well…

On Wednesday, we’d start the drive home, with about 11 days to do the 2,300 km (1,429 mi) or so, depending on which detours we took.

Final Jasper Day: Mount Edith Cavell & Sunwapta Falls

It’s only 74 km (46 mi) from Whistlers Campground in Jasper to the Hinton-Jasper KOA Campground, so we had almost another full day to explore around Jasper on Day 42 of the trip – Saturday, June 4th. We wanted another shot at a good experience at Mount Edith Cavell, as we hadn’t seen much on our visit last September.

The 14-km climb from Highway 93a to Mount Edith Cavell is spectacular. There are several very tight switchbacks and steep climbs, so no motorhomes or trailers are supposed to be driven up it, though some small RVS make it. The mountain, 3,363 meters high (11,033 feet), is named after a British nurse executed during World War I for her part in helping Allied prisoners escape to the Netherlands from occupied Brussels.

Mount Edith Cavell, Alberta
There are some stunning views along the road.

Along the road to Mount Edith Cavell, Alberta
Conditions were near perfect for a hike with the dogs this time. The Path of the Glacier trail is the best one for great views. It’s just under a kilometer long, with a moderate climb. The upper few thousand feet of the mountain had gotten a dusting of snow the previous day.

Path of the Glacier trail, Mount Edith Cavell
The Angel Glacier, the most impressive of 3 glaciers seen from the trail.

Angel Glacier, Mount Edith Cavell
Looking down the valley from the trail. In August 2012, a large part of the Ghost Glacier fell about 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) into Cavell Pond, causing a flash flood that did a lot of damage to trails, the picnic site and the road.

The valley below Mount Edith Cavell
The Cavell Glacier at the base of the mountain. We saw a couple of avalanches come down – anybody who goes beyond the signs saying not to proceed is certainly risking their lives even on a beautiful day like this.

Cavell Glacier, Mount Edith Cavell
After spending a while at the viewpoint, Cathy took Bella and Tucker back to the car while I detoured up the Cavell Meadows trail to the right. No dogs are allowed on that trail because of possible wildlife conflicts.

Cavell Meadows trail, Mount Edith Cavell
I didn’t find the Cavell Meadows trail likely to be very rewarding in the time I had, so only hiked up a kilometer or so, and had already hit patches of deep snow. When I shot this photo back at the parking lot, we’d been at the base of the mountain for just over an hour.

Mount Edith Cavell
Back down on Highway 93a, we decided to follow it all the way south to Athabasca Falls. Here, the road crosses the Whirlpool River.

Whirlpool River, Jasper National Park
This was a nice quiet route that I’d never driven before, always having been stopped by snow on previous attempts.

A lake along Highway 93a in Jasper National Park
We didn’t stop at Athabasca Falls, deciding instead to drive about 20 km further south to see Sunwapta Falls, which neither of us had seen yet. This dramatic peak is along the Icefields Parkway on the way.

Sunwapta Falls above the footbridge…

Sunwapta Falls
…and the canyon below the bridge.

Sunwapta Falls canyon
At about 1:30, we left Sunwapta Falls and headed back to Jasper. We had moved the motorhome from the campground to the RV/bus parking lot in Jasper before starting out, so by 2:30 we were on Highway 16 headed for Hinton.

Highway 16 north of Jasper
A beautiful day for a drive along the Rockies.

Highway 16 north of Jasper
Some sheep on the road and not wanting to move off it, and climbing the cliffs beside the road, entertained us for a few minutes 🙂

Sheep on Highway 16 north of Jasper

Sheep on Highway 16 north of Jasper

Sheep beside Highway 16 north of Jasper

Sheep on Highway 16 north of Jasper
Soon we were set up at the KOA and had time for a refreshing beverage from The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company in Canmore before going in to town to see my son and his family.

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company

We’d be in the Hinton area for 4 nights, but mostly at the provincial park to the north, not at the KOA.

Jasper Aerial Tram, and Hiking Whistlers Summit

The main adventure for our second full day in Jasper was riding the aerial tramway. Cathy’s not a big fan of getting into the air that way, but did want to see the view so agreed to come with me. This was Day 41 of the trip – Friday, June 3.

We could see the upper terminal of the tramway from our campsite at Whistlers, so it was hard to ignore. I’d ridden it once before, many years ago, but it was early in the season, the weather wasn’t great, and there was too much snow at the top to hike further. This would be Cathy’s first ride on it.

Upper terminal of the Jasper tramway
The first job of the day, though, was to move the motorhome. We had reserved the serviced site, #52J, for 2 nights, but decided to stay another night, and no serviced sites were available. So, for $27, we moved to an unserviced site, #30GG. What a difference! This is apparently a very old part of the park, and both design and maintenance are at a lower level. The site wasn’t nearly level, the trees were close, and even the picnic table was old and in need of paint. Oh well…

Unserviced site 30GG at Whistlers campground in Jasper
Planning for a full day of exploring, we were at the tram just after 09:00, an early start for us. I like to be able to see what makes this sort of rig work – large windows make that easy here.

Machinery at the Jasper aerial tram
Starting up on the 7-minute ride, looking to the west up the valley of the Miette River. Two busloads of teenagers followed us up on the next “flights”.

Riding up the Jasper aerial tram
Nearing the upper terminal at 09:28. The lower terminal is at 1,258 meters (4,127 feet), the upper is at 2,263 meters (7,424 feet).

Riding up the Jasper aerial tram
The view to the north. Look down, look waaay down, to the Jasper townsite at 1,062 meters (3,484 feet).

The view from the upper station of the Jasper tram
I really wanted to do some hiking, and the 1.2-km trail to Whistlers Summit looked to be about perfect. It’s a 400-foot climb to 2,470 meters (7,847 feet).

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
Despite the signs, some people still build cairns at the summit, using the rocks that were put in place to mark the trail.

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
Cathy started walking with me, but soon went off on a less-steep trail to the side. The elevation no doubt compounds the steepness of the trail.

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
The TrailPeak.com summary of the complete trail that starts in the parking lot (not using the tram) says: “The final kilometre to the summit is a cake-walk compared to the rest of the trail. Weaving in and out of hyperventilating and often ill dressed tramway riders will give you an ego boost that’ll put a spring in your step.”

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
There’s no shortage of excuses to stop and enjoy the views and catch your breath for a minute. There was plenty of huffing and puffing going on among the students on the trail as well as those of us not quite so young.

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
The final climb crossed a few patches of snow even on the 3rd of June.

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
The rounded summit of Whistlers Mountain. As hard as it is to believe at almost 8,000 feet elevation, it seems to me that a glacier must have rounded it off.

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
The views from the summit were definitely worth the climb. This is to the north, with Pyramid Peak to the left.

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
Mount Edith Cavell to the south.

Mount Edith Cavell from the Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
The summit monument seems an odd choice of places to live, but some hikers might be quite generous. These are Golden-mantled ground squirrels (Callospermophilus lateralis).

Golden-mantled ground squirrels on Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
None of the students, many very poorly dressed, lingered on the windy and chilly summit, but many of us did, savouring the views.

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
Climbing some of the huge glacial erratics was irresistible to some 🙂

Whistlers Summit trail, Jasper National Park
Looking down on the Canadian National Railway, Pyramid Lake Road, the meandering Miette River, and the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16).

The view down from the Jasper Tram
Rejoining Cathy at the upper tramway terminal, we decided to extend our stay by having an early lunch at a window table. The burger was very good.

A burger at the Jasper Tram
A glass of water wasn’t available in the cafe, only bottled water. Given the logistical problem of getting water up there, that wasn’t surprising. It was surprising to see water available for the dogs who come up on the tram or trail, though – two thumbs up, tram operators.

Dog water at the Jasper tram upper station
On our way back down at 11:30.

The Jasper Tram
We spent the rest of the day wandering around the town, and playing with Bella and Tucker at the leash-free park. I was surprised by the length of the VIA Rail trains – I thought that rail travel was still on the decline.

VIA Rail train at Jasper
Molly always lets us know when she wants to join her family outside. It doesn’t happen very often, and she’s always great with a harness and leash to keep her safe.

Our cat Molly relaxing with Murray outside the RV

On Saturday, we’d continue on to Hinton for a 4-night stay, after doing a bit of hiking at Mount Edith Cavell.

Exploring Jasper: Maligne Canyon

Day 40 of the trip – Thursday, June 2nd – was our first full day to explore the Jasper area, and with mixed weather, Maligne Canyon was our first destination. Cathy and I had tried to go there last September, but access was blocked for some reason. In March 2014, though, I’d hiked up the canyon floor on the frozen creek, and it was amazing, so I was looking forward to getting back.

We had camped at Whistlers Campground just south of Jasper, and loved it. On Wednesday evening, we were visited by one of the elk we were warned about as we registered. Cow elk can be very dangerous when they have a little one with them. We were very surprised by how far she was allowing her calf to stray, though.

Elk in Whistlers Campground, Jasper National Park
The calf elk came within about 50 yards of our campsite, but the cow came right to the edge of it. One of our idiot neighbours got charged by her when he pushed his luck to get a photo.

Elk in Whistlers Campground, Jasper National Park
Bella watching the elk. Tucker wasn’t as respectful and wouldn’t quit barking so got put in the motorhome.

Sheltie-husky cross, Bella relaxing in Whistlers Campground, Jasper National Park
The cow bedded down for the night in front of our site, but her baby was nowhere in sight. The green boxes behid her are electrical lockers – for $1 you can lock your electronic gizmons in one and charge them up.

Elk in Whistlers Campground, Jasper National Park
The huge campsites at Whistlers really let visitors enjoy their surroundings, and we were in no hurry to get moving. At 10:30, though, we reached the top parking lot at Maligne Canyon, where this sign shows the trails and bridges.

Map of Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
Most people probably start their walk at the bottom of the parking lot where the canyon starts, but seeing the creek at the top of the parking lot puts the canyon into perspective. The creek there is just a normal Rockies creek.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
Then it suddenly starts carving into fissures in the limestone.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
Some wonderful formations can be seen.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
Then the creek drops into the canyon some 25 meters (80 feet).

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
The trail provides some excellent viewpoints, and 4 bidges across the canyon give even better views.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
A waterfall as the canyon gets deeper and deeper.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
Wedged in the narrow top of the canyon is what’s known as a chockstone. Some day, it and the canyon walls will erode to the point that it will drop into the canyon.

Chockstone in Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
Looking up at the first bridge.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
I found myself wanting to get down to the canyon floor at many points, including this one. There’s no way down, though.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
Another look at the spot above.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
The view up the canyon from the third bridge, which a sign says is 10 meters (33 feet) above the canyon floor. It feels deeper. At many points, the opening at the top of the canyon is very narrow, perhaps 1 meter (3 feet).

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
By 11:15 we were down by the fourth bridge, where the canyon starts to get much shallower.

Maligne Canyon, Jas per National Park
Looking down from the fourth bridge. This was a particularly impressive spot to see from the ice, looking up.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
The next two photos are of a waterfall as the trail nears the canyon floor.

Small waterfall in Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park

Small waterfall in Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
This large pool is as far down the canyon as we went. Somewhere just below this pool is where I began the hike up on the ice.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
At 11:50 we were back at the first bridge, and it started to rain. By the time we reached the car, the rain was very heavy. Perfect timing.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
Back in Jasper a few minutes later, the sun was out again, so we took Bella and Tucker for a town walk.

Welcome to Jasper, Alberta
Jasper the Bear used to be very visible on the main street, but now he’s tucked away in a tiny park pretty much out of sight.

Jasper the Bear in Jasper, Alberta
Back at the rig, some quiet time while the sky dropped some more moisture.

When the rain eased off, we decided to drive up to Pyramid Lake, which has some excellent hiking and photography. With this weather and flat light, neither worked for us.

Pyramid Lake, Jasper
Pyramid Lake Resort.

Back in Jasper, we took advantage of some sun to run the dogs at the leash-free park. Nobody else was there, but it had potential for future visits during our stay. The fence is very impressive, designed to keep out even the largest and most agressive wildlife.

Leash-fre dog park in Jasper, Alberta
Lac Beauvert was our next destination. Along the road, the forest area was all closed due to elk calving.

Closed area at Jasper due to elk calving
The light didn’t show off the colours that gave Lac Beauvert its name (“beautiful green lake”). That’s the gorgeous Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge on the far shore.

Lac Beauvert, Jasper
Back at our campsite for dinner.

RV at Whistlers Campground in Jasper
Barbecued steak and a nice Okanagan wine – a fine way to end the day.

RV at Whistlers Campground in Jasper

For Friday’s adventure(s), we’d be looking at the aerial tramway, and Mount Edith Cavell.

A Grizzly Experience on the Icefields Parkway

We didn’t get the sunshine we’d expected for our drive up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper on Days 38 and 39 of this journey – Tuesday, May 31st, and Wednesday, June 1st – but we did get the best experience either Cathy or I have ever had with a grizzly bear.

Meeting the grizzly was made possible because the only level spot at the Peyto Lake parking lot was taken, so we moved back to Bow Lake for Wednesday night. None of the campgrounds along the Parkway were open for the season yet, so our choices were very limited, but there are few other places along the highway that have a view like this.

RV at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
I had parked in front of a sign warning about a grizzly frequenting an area that the map showed we were right in the middle of, and at 7:20 pm, I saw a bit of a traffic jam down the highway. The cause of it showed its head shortly – the grizzly, and it was coming our way.

A traffic jam at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta, caused by a grizzly
The bear was walking along the grassy bank of the highway eating grass and flowers non-stop, which is how they get their digestive systems back in order after the long winter. About 10 minutes after I first saw the bear, it was right behind our motorhome. By the rather small size and general look I think it was a 2-year-old sow. Her silver-tip coat was particularly beautiful, and she was in very good condition.

Grizzly bear at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
The traffic jam had moved down to the parking lot that we had been the only vehicle on, and at 8:00, the bear walked across the highway, between the vehicles, to start eating on the lake side of the road.

Grizzly bear at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
The bear-jam at 8:07 – she can barely be seen just to the left of the garbage cans. Over the next few hours I saw some of the stupidest behaviour around wildlife that I’ve ever seen. A woman from the tan car with the backup lights got too close to the bear, and when she rushed back to the closest door (I assume the bear moved towards her, though I didn’t see it), it was locked, and it took a very long time for the driver to figure out how to unlock it.

Cars watching a grizzly bear at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
By 8:25, we could have rented out viewing windows in the RV! I ended up taking 184 photos of her. Some, like this one of her with the bear warning sign, are rather funny 🙂

Grizzly bear at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
I’d never had a vantage point like this for bear-viewing before. Opening the window beside the driver’s seat for many shots, I could hear her munching the grass.

Grizzly bear at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
She was about 10 feet away for some of the shots like the next two.

Grizzly bear at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta

Grizzly bear at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
That’s snow behind the bear, and there was a lot of garbage around the parking lot, including an appalling amount of used toilet paper.

Grizzly bear at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
This candidate for the Darwin Awards was actually charged by the bear, though she didn’t charge directly towards him, and broke it off quickly. Even at the point show in the photo, though, she could have easily gotten to him before he reached his car.

Grizzly bear charges man at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
One of several “Selfie with Grizzly” photos we saw being taken, some of them far too close to the bear.

Shooting a selfie with a Grizzly bear at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
We went to bed at about 10:00 pm with the bear action still going on. The dogs didn’t get their usual before-bed walk. When I got up at 05:45, the lake was calm and stunningly beautiful – perfect to get out and take a bunch of photos.

Dawn at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
Well, it was a perfect morning for photos except for the grizzly 60 feet from the door 🙂

Grizzly bear at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
This is my favourite of all the photos I shot, with the lake reflection as the background. What a magnificent animal.

Grizzly bear at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
With no traffic and nobody getting in her space, the bear wandered freely across the highway and back again. I took advantage of her time on the far side of the road to get the Tracker ready to be towed again (just putting the key in the ignition and turning it to Acc – everything else needed was still in place).

Grizzly bear at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
Molly watched the grizzly for a while the night she arrived and again the next morning. There was no reaction from her except obvious curiosity – pretty cool to see my little Adventure Cat in a situation like that.

Grizzly bear at Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
At about 07:30, we had to leave, mostly because the dogs hadn’t had a walk for more than 12 hours! We returned to the Peyto Lake parking lot, where a fairly heavy rain started, but we got the kids walked, and then made breakfast. A tour bus arrived a few minutes after 8. There’s a brutal schedule to be way out here at that time of the morning – a 05:00 wakeup call in Jasper? And then to see the most beautiful lake in the Rockies on a day like this 🙁

RV in heavy rain at Peyto Lake in the Canadian Rockies
Back on the road, we stopped at a “Viewpoint” that actually had no special view.

RV at a viewpoint on the Icefields Parkway
I found a rough trail that led down from the “viewpoint” to a road and perhaps picnic area that were abandoned decades ago, and this lake, which might be Mistaya Lake. It’s probably lovely on a nice day – with rain and clouds, not so much.

Lake along the Icefields Parkway

We went back to bed, with the excuse that the rain might stop or at least that there might be some improvement in our views – the “nap” lasted almost 3 hours! 🙂 And when we got back on the road at 11:40, nothing had changed.

A small band of sheep was on the highway near Saskatchewan Crossing.

Sheep on the Icefields Parkway
We stopped for a few minutes near the summit of Sunwapta Pass, at about 1,900 meters elevation (6,234 feet).

Near the summit of Sunwapta Pass on the Icefields Parkway

Snow in June - near the summit of Sunwapta Pass on the Icefields Parkway
We’re always looking for hints about which breeds went into making Tucker – there’s apparently some dashhound in there 🙂

Our little dog Tucker on the dash of the RV
Our draft plan had me going for a steep high-country hike in the sunshine at Parker Ridge at Sunwapta Pass – with the weather we got, a brief photo stop was it.

The Icefields Parkway at Sunwapta Pass

Just before 2:00, we arrived at Whistlers Campground in Jasper, where we had a full-hookup site booked for 2 nights. We began our Jasper exploring with an early diinner at the D’ed Dog Pub – I love their Wild Game burger.