Alberta – 10 – 22 July – Summer 2017

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Saying Goodbye to Glacier National Park

We left Glacier National Park about 10 in the morning and left for the border to enter Alberta.  There were two ways to go, so we took the longer route so we could stop at the Duty Free shop – WHICH THEY DIDN’T HAVE – just a gate and a guy.  He let us through with no problems and laughed at me when I said Where’s the Duty Free? 

We arrived in Waterton Lakes National Park and decided to stay at the Townsite Campground right in town.  They were pretty full but had a couple of overflow spots left so we took site F9.  This is a wide open campground but it’s okay.  We did not have hydro and we were right by the road.  We had to park our truck in the parking lot as you aren’t allowed to park anything on the grass.  But where our site ended there were guard rails and then the parking area so it wasn’t bad.  When we sit outside at our trailer, we are surrounded by a lake, the mountains and the town !  We can walk into town from here which is pretty great.  We stopped at the lake that is close to our campground and watched a bunch of magpies for a while, trying to get their picture.   They are always on the move those magpies ! We don’t have these birds in Ontario so we find them fascinating.   We stopped at the Visitor Centre to get some information before taking the road to Cameron Lake.

Beautiful scenery all through this park.

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SIDE NOTE  –  On 12 September, just two months after we were there, a horrible fire went through Waterton and destroyed the visitor Centre and several other structures causing a lot of destruction and damage.  They were able to save the town itself but structures outside the town were affected.

The road to Cameron Lake was a dead-end road (12 km long) and we parked and walked to the Lake which had a “Lake Louise look” to it.  Very pretty.  We started to do the one trail that was there but the mosquitoes were crazy bad !

 

On the way back down Cameron Road there was a herd of bighorn sheep on the road just walking along minding their own business.  There were two Parks staff trying to keep an eye on them and get them off the road but those sheep run that place !  They weren’t going anywhere !  We drove really slowly while they led us down the road, so funny.  We just kept following them.  At one point all of them, except one, turned and headed back.  We stopped our truck and they marched right past our truck although the one lone guy kept walking forward so we kept following him.  He seemed to know where he was going.

When we were off that road, we drove to the Red Rock Canyon road and stopped at the sign to get pictures.  They had a sign shaped like a bear so Trum and Digby got their photos taken, naturally.  Gotta keep all the men in the truck happy.

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Blakiston Falls

Beautiful wildflowers and scenery.  We parked at the end of the road and walked to Blakiston Falls.    There were stairs leading to two viewing stations.  On the way back we stopped and walked along the canyon, very pretty colors.  Yes those reds are the real colors, no Photoshop here folks !

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Red Rock Canyon

IMG_4182We drove back to our site and parked and walked downtown and around the streets for a bit.  It started to rain so we went into the Thirsty Bear Socialhouse and sat at the bar to have dinner.  We had a taster tray of beer and ordered dinner.  It was delicious. The bar has a lot of character and is well maintained. We spent a lot of time talking our bartender, he grew up in Pincher Creek just down the road.  Really nice guy.  Another young guy sat at the bar with us, he was a teacher from Iowa and he was on holidays.  It was a nice evening getting to know new people.   Left and walked home in the rain !  Still beautiful here even with the rain.   The next day was rainy and gloomy and only 15C !  Where’s the heat?

We went to Cameron Falls right in town and walked around and spotted a mom deer and her two babies cavorting in a nearby field. There is nothing quite like watching deer cavorting !  Watched and photographed them for quite a while.

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Left and decided to drive Cameron road again.  Did not see our big horned sheep friends.  We did stop here and there for short hikes and wildflower picture-taking.

Update-21

 

We went to the Prince of Wales Hotel, Oh My !  what a beautiful hotel.  We sat in the lobby for a long time and sipped our coffee.  They have a little Starbucks booth right there in the gift shop.  Did some more driving around but it has been pretty much pouring down rain all day.

Tomorrow we leave for Calgary !

The morning started out nice as packed up to go to Calgary but then turned kinda cloudy and rainy again.

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We decided to stay at Riverbend Campground in Okotoks which is not too far outside Calgary.  The Park looked a little sketchy but the lady was real nice;  we paid $40 for water and hydro on site 51E right on the river.  All the roads and sites were gravel but our site was level, we backed in and didn’t have to move around at all.  Their free WiFi though was non-existent so don’t expect that !  We rarely had the advertised free WiFi at any of the campgrounds we stayed at this summer.  One guy told me that it was sporadic and depended on where you stood in the campground.  So you don’t truly have free WiFi then if I can’ t use it or can only sometimes use it.

After we set up we headed for Calgary.  We drove by this huge building with an even bigger cowboy boot in front of it.  We thought we would drop in, it was called the Ranchman’s Bar.  They wanted $15 each just to get in and we said to ourselves, well that would make 2 beer pretty expensive, so we left.  The Calgary Stampede was on this week but we did not attend.  I am not a fan of the Stampede.  We went out for dinner and tried some Original 16 Beer.  I forget what we ate but it was really good beer which is made in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  When we got back to our campground there were two little mini horses hanging around the main gate, it was a cute mini version of the Stampede with no danger to the animals lol.  When we got to our site there was a heron hanging out on the river behind our trailer.  We only stayed one night here as we wanted to get to the Banff, Alberta area.  Off we go tomorrow !

So now its Thursday 13 July and we are off to Banff !  It’s sunny today and already 25C and its only 10 in the morning !  We decided to stay at a campground in Canmore which is not too far from Banff but less crowded.

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We stayed at Wapititi Municipal campground.  It was first come – first served so I would recommend getting there earlier in the day.  It was self-serve so we picked site 39.  We had hydro and we were lucky to get it as there were only about 3 other sites available.  This is not a big park but it’s convenient to Canmore.  We went to the Canmore Visitor Centre and found out there was an all day market downtown, THAT VERY SAME DAY.  I love markets so off we went !  We walked all around the market, twice, and bought tomatoes and other vegetables and a sign for our deck.  It’s really cute, there is a picture of a dog and it says “In dog years, I have had one beer”   A guy at another booth does carvings of bears, out of logs,  and they were also cute.  He is going on our back deck at home so we purchased one.  I shall name him Albert, you know cause we’re in Alberta………Then we walked over to the Grizzly Paw Brewery and sat outside for a taster tray of beers.   It was okay beer.  That’s all that is needed to be saided about that.  Left to do some errands and then saw the Canmore Brewing company !  We had another taster tray there and their beer was also just okay.  They can carve bears but when it comes to beer making………….meh.

Update-22

 

The next day, which was sunny and 30C, we drove to Banff and went up to see the gondolas.  We did not go up as we had done that last time we were here; the price has went way way up !

 

On to the Cave and Basin Hot Springs.  We saw the hot springs in a cave and boy was it smelly !  Really strong sulphur odor. There was no cost to this place and we were there quite a while.  We did all the trails that they had.  There was displays here and there and so I met me a new fella.     They were also playing movies in the main building.

 

After we left there we drove up to the ski slope and had a good over view of the town.  Then we drove through the golf course road to find the HooDoos !  Sadly, the HooDoos could not be found………

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Stopped at a trailhead for our lunch and then to Lake Minnewanka to walk the trails.  This is a beautiful spot, very scenic.  The Lake is 21 km long and 2 km wide at its widest point.  This is also the only park in Banff that allows boats, motor boats that is !

 

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We left there and drove to Vermillion Lake road, more marshy, swampy type of lake.

 

 

Back to Banff and parked behind the Banff Lake Resort and walked downtown.  It was crazy trying to find a parking spot but we did it and it was free !  We stopped at Mary’s a store which sold all different varieties/flavors of popcorn, then on to Beavertails and had, what else?  a beavertail!  We love these things.  Of course we stopped at a chocolate shop and a couple of other stores for a look-see.  I’m not much a shopper……………..I think we have established I’m more of a beer drinkin’ girl…………..

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Sitting on the upper balcony of Banff Brewery

We went to Banff Brewery and sat on the balcony on the second floor overlooking the town.  We split a taster tray and bruschetta.  The bruschetta consisted of two pieces with tomato/basil, 2 pieces with mashed beans and the last two were smoked salmon with pink peppercorn cream cheese.  Unique and tasty.

Back at our campground, we chatted with the guy across from us.  They are from Australia and are here visiting their son who is here on a work visa.  There are a lot of Australians here working, younger people who love this area for all the outdoor activities it offers and the beauty of the mountains.

The next day, Saturday 15 July, we drove to Kanaskis.  The highway was really nice with lots of mountain views.  We drove the 3 Sisters highway  and then to Quarry Lake.  We stopped here and there along the way.  Went to the Kanaskis Ski Resort and walked around and had a coffee and sat in Adirondack chairs overlooking the resort.  Nice spot they have here.

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We spotted the cutest little bird sitting on the bike rack outside the gift shop.  Not sure what type of bird he is but we got some photos.  Saw some deer and stopped at various places for photo ops.  It was hot and overcast in the morning and hot and sunny in the afternoon !

 

 

 

The next day we left to go to Lake Louise, there were no campgrounds with availability so we ended up over the border at Yoho National park in British Columbia.

Update-138

Above is the view from our campsite at Yoho National Park.  I believe we were in the Kicking Horse campground.  It was just a hop, skip and jump from Lake Louise.  We had site 52 with no hydro but only for a night or two so no problem.  I have never been so close to another campsite and the family that was at the site next to us walked through our site regularly even though they had a trail that led from their site to the road.  It was 2 steps closer to go through our campsite I guess.  When I mean through our campsite, one time the guy literally moved one of our chairs to walk through !  lol  Thankfully I had gotten up to get another beverage but I saw him from the door as I came back out.

One day we drove to Takakkwa Falls and how beautiful the falls are.

 

We had to drive up a winding road and at one point there was a corkscrew turn which buses and sometimes even trucks had to back up to get around the corner.  It was quite something to see the buses go up and down at that particular spot !  When the buses went down, they had to back down and then turn at the bottom.   It’s hard to explain but it was very interesting to watch them.  Here we are stopped to watch the buses manoeuvering.  Some people were getting annoyed at the wait but we were fascinated by the skilled driving.  I remember on the way in, we saw a bus and then we got to this point I was thinking how in the heck did they finagle their way up here?

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The falls are beautiful and we walked the trails to get closer and then we walked around the area.  Really nice spot.  We left there and stopped at different spots on the road coming out.

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We then went to Emerald Lake, and it was emerald in color !  another beautiful spot and we also saw a family of Merganser ducks swimming along.  Or as I like to call them, Punk Ducks because of their pointy little heads of hair.

 

 

There is a place called the Natural Bridge which is another scenic spot.  Nature is something else isn’t it?  In the second photo below you can see how the rock has formed the bridge so that people can walk over to the other side.

Update-135

 

British Columbia

We drove through the little town of Field on the way back to our site.   And I mean little…….

It drops to 2 celsius at night and stays about 8-10 celsius in the day.  You can really smell the smoke from the BC wildfires and there is haze hanging everywhere.  It’s a horrible thing going on in British Columbia and I hope they can recover.

The next day was cold but sunny and we were up early to go to Moraine Lake.   As we left our campground there was a herd of elk on the road !  We stopped at Lake Louise ski hill but you couldn’t see the mountains because of the wildfire smoke.  Got to Moraine Lake and we did the trails from one end to the other.  What a beautiful spot.

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After that we drove the Bow Valley parkway which is about 50 km each way.  Of course we stopped at different spots along the way.  One stop was a Ukrainian work camp.  I didn’t know this part of our history so it was interesting, and sad,  to read about it.  I know about the Japanese internment camps but I hadn’t realized all of the history behind these camps.  It’s like when we went to Neys Provincial Park last year and we found out it had been a German POW camp in WW2.  I had not known that either.

We drove through the Marble campground and then over to Marble Canyon across the road.  The walk around the canyon was about 1 1/2 hours and a really nice walk.  It was neat to look down and view the way it cut through the rocks.

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We went home after that for dinner and after dinner we went back to Takakkwa Falls.

So now it’s Tuesday 18 July and we are leaving for Jasper.  Warm today and sunny.  On the way into Jasper, there was a bear in the ditch along the road eating his breakfast.  there must have been 60 people standing there taking pictures.  And they were literally standing less than 10 feet from the bear, all lined up like they were going to a U2 concert.    We also saw a little “goat with pants on” or mountain goat.  I always say that as they look like they have pants on !  They are so cute.

Update-21

So we got to Jasper area and found out campgrounds really fill up fast but we took a chance and drove into Wapiti Campground even though the sign said Full.  Thankfully they did have overflow in their winter camping area which is a paved parking lot !  We had site 28 on the end and we did have hydro.  And something weird in case anyone noticed, the campground we stayed at in Canmore, Alberta is also called Wapiti campground !   We noticed there are lots of elk in this area.

Update-91
Now THIS is a Photobomb !

We set up and drove through Jasper to Maligne Canyon.  Walked for an hour or more and went down into the canyon and back up.  Nice walk but I think I liked Marble Canyon better !  We stopped at 5th bridge and saw a deer and stopped at 6th bridge as well.

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We drove around Jasper’s golf course and then to Lake Edith and  Lake Annette.  Saw another herd of elk and then headed home.

The next day we were up at 6 and on the road by 7.  As soon as we hit the highway we saw the herd of elk again !  They crossed the town and went into the campground.

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Maybe 2 kilometres later we saw a brown bear and he also went into our campground.  Stopped at Horseshoe Lake and walked the trail,  then to Athabaska Falls and walked around a bit taking photos.

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Sunwapta Falls

 

We like to drive through campgrounds so we drove through Honeymoom Campground and then on to Sunwapta Falls.  It is a nice falls with a canyon behind us and different bridges and lookouts.

 

 

Stopped to grab a coffee and then drove to Jonas Campground.  We walked around the campground and then crossed the road to a spot I had seen as we were driving in.  but it was one of those spots that looked better from the road lol.

We went to Tangled Falls and I loved it !  one of the nicest falls I have ever seen. Just down the road from the Falls we stopped at a beautiful field of purple wildflowers along little creeks and a flat rocky plain with mountains in the background.  Beautiful and we spent quite a lot of time there taking photos.

On to the “Big Rock” landslide area. I have no idea the real name, just a portion of the road with huge rocks/boulders on either side so we are assuming there was a landslide at some point !   While we were there, we watched a black bear cross the road.  As we drove away we saw a brown bear eating at the side of the road and on my side of the truck !  So I was able to get some photos.  They have a Goats and Glaciers lookout area but no goats.  Maybe they didn’t get the memo.  Drove through the Kerkeshkin Campground and then drove up another road that led to a resort but it was blocked off.  As you can tell, we like to go everywhere.  If there is road or path, we are driving, biking or hiking it; if there’s water, we’ll canoe it !  Coming back down this road, we saw yet another brown bear – different one, honest to God – he was eating and then we watched him climb up the rocks and leave into the woods !  Going to the Teddy Bear picnic I bet !

We took the A93 highway back to Jasper.  Clint noticed a book sale sign in front of a little museum and as I can’t get enough books (they are crammed all over our house) we had to go in so I could purchase just a couple more !  and Yes I have an IPad with book capability but I like books………..period.  Anyways, left there and headed to Patricia Lake where we think we stayed years ago in one of the cabins when we flew out here.  Kinda looks the same?   Then on to Pyramid Lake which is a huge resort and all kinds of people out paddling canoes and kayaks.  This watching people paddle gave us a thirst so we headed over to Jasper Brewery and had a taster tray !  They were okay beer but they ran out of stout, which Clint loves and then she told us we wouldn’t have been able to have a stout on our taster tray anyways.  Taster trays don’t include stout apparently.  Say What?  No real answer and I mean all the beer is priced the same so not sure where their logic entered into this.  So good thing we don’t live here cause we wouldn’t go back, you know just on principle. Walked around Jasper and went into a couple of shops.  I like Jasper, very friendly little town.

When we got back to our campsite, the whole herd of elk were right across the parking lot from us !  One of the young ones was right by the swing as if he wanted to figure it out and be a kid !  So cute.

Well now it’s Thursday and our last day here.  It’s cloudy and there is a chance of showers.  We drove Hwy 16 (towards Edmonton) and stopped at ALL the campgrounds along the road !  Pocahontas and Snaring and another one in a big field.  I think I mentioned we love driving through campgrounds. No reason, just nosey I guess.  Stopped at Talbot Lake for photo ops.  Saw more elk.  The smoke had lifted somewhat from the mountains due to the rain.

We ended up on Miette Road to the Miette Hot Springs and wow !  There were tons of goats !  And one little baby mountain goat!  We were there a very long time taking photos.  They were going up to cars and sniffing them and going right up to people; not shy at all.  We normally keep our distance from wildlife but there was no keeping your distance from these guys.  They were all over the place, so cute.  I met a nice couple from Ontario there.  Tracy is her name and not sure of her husbands.  Now we’re friends on Facebook, how cool is that?  Tracy and I were just enthralled with this one little baby goat, so sweet.

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These guys run this place !  And there’s Clint the Goat Herder.

 

We left to go back to Jasper and went to the Visitor Centre, yes I know one would have thought we would have went there on our first day !  But we didn’t.  We talked to the park staff there and then off to the Kimchi House for dinner.  $32.95 for a dinner for two, very reasonable.  Oh My!  It was terrific! One of the best meals we had on our trip,  Dumplings, soup, chicken and vegetables, beef and vegetables and steamed rice.  So good.  We ordered tea and when we got the bill it was $10 just for the tea !  Must be really good tea that grows on some very high mountain top and is hard to get to !

Friday 21 July – Leaving Jasper now and the first portion of the road we took has some spectacular views. Mountains, lakes, all the different landscapes.   I will miss it here.

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We are headed straight to Grand Prairie, Alberta to Grand Prairie Rotary RV Park.  We only stopped once for coffee and just motored through.  This RV Park has two levels, an upper level and then you have to drive down a little hill and there is a circle with all the campsites on the outside.  We chose to go there, site 27.  There is only 12-15 trailer sites in this loop.  This is a really nice park, one of the nicer ones we have been too.  And it’s conveniently located close to London Drugs, Walmart, grocery stores and more.

We ate dinner at the Great Canadian Brewhouse and watched the Jays game on the big screen.  Typical bar food but good.  And………….I am pretty sure the Jays lost that game. Back to our site and we sat outside until about 1030, it’s still very light out, I guess because we are getting further north !

Leaving tomorrow for British Columbia !

 

 

 

 

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