Monday, July 15, 2013

Vancouver to Lake Louise

  I had been to Canada before.  Years ago my husband and I had honeymooned in the boundary waters canoe area on the Canada/Minnesota border.  And some years later we drove across the Canadian prairie from Sault Ste Marie to Regina, Saskatchewan
--but I wasn't any more impressed than if we'd just crossed Nebraska.
Friends had been telling me as I planned this leg of the trip, "You are in for quite a treat.  Nothing beats the Canadian Rockies--absolutely nothing."  But nothing anyone said quite prepared me for the amazing drama of it all.

First of all, the sun does not want to go down at night. This picture was taken at 10:30 at night about 50 miles east of Vancouver.

And this one at 11:00 PM! Then Sigh Me started waking me each morning at 5 AM because it was fully light outside and time to eat.  We were both confused and I was getting very sleepy.

I was back on a schedule again but I had lots of time to explore.  Son, Ron, was due to meet me in the little town of Canmore, Alberta the first week of July and we were going to spend a week together.  His dear friends, the Brennands (Remember the wonderful gift of the Laurel Burch purse?), had offered us their condo in Canmore for the week--an offer we could hardly refuse. The plan--Ron was flying into Calgary and taking a shuttle from the south while I would be driving in from the north.

The towns I encountered along the way as I headed toward Glacier National Park were small and every one warranted investigating.  There were lovely, quiet rest stops every 50 miles or so where I could spend the night, and free dump stations in every medium size town. It seems this area is very RV friendly.

I accidentally stumbled on a free dump station along the river and it was such a lovely spot I just spent the night.  The only disturbance was that train track--Canada sure believes in using their rail system.    

In Kamloops I pulled into the Safeway parking lot....

...and this was my view.  Safeway was also kind enough to supply a picnic table for their customers,  so, after shopping, I stayed for a picnic lunch followed by a nap before moving on.

I love all the English names--Juliet's creek, and towns called Portia, Revelstoke, Romeo.  And the mailboxes are so can spot one anywhere.

This was another picnic spot, on the Shuswap.


This beautiful lake takes its name from the Shuswap Indians, northernmost of the great Salishan family and the largest tribe in interior B.C.  Once numbering over 5,000, these people were fishermen and hunters.  They roamed in bands through a vast land of lakes and forests stretching 150 miles.

This was taken after 11pm.  

The snow-capped peaks were getting closer all the time.  My plan was to camp in one of the campgrounds in Glacier National Park for 3 or 4 days before driving on to Canmore.

I spent one last night in a rest stop and learned the next morning that it was also the site of "The Last Spike".  I would probably have missed the marker except for a tour bus of very noisy Chinese (I think) visitors that pulled up next to me at 5:45 am and their enthusiastic chattering forced me out of bed. Obviously they couldn't sleep either. 

A nebulous dream was a reality: an iron ribbon crossed Canada from sea to sea.  Often following the footsteps of early explorers, nearly 3000 miles of steel rail pushed across vast prairies, cleft lofty mountain passes, twisted through canyons, and bridged a thousand streams.  Here on Nov. 7, 1885, a plain iron spike welded East to West.

 But clouds were stalking me and the rains were getting heavier and more persistent.  When I reached Revelstoke National Park the rains were really coming down.  As I crossed into Glacier I started looking for a campground--they were closed!  Every single campground was closed!  And no more rest stops. That day turned out to be very long, filled with steep curvy roads and occasional blinding downpours.  Finally, quite late I pulled into the town of Lake Louise where I joined a few other RV's in one of the ski area parking lots for the night.  And for once I was very glad for the long, long day of light. 

1 comment:

  1. I loved the glacier road, with over 200 glaciers and then on down to Lake Louise....the veiw behind the Lake Louise Hotel was for me the most beautiful scene I have witnessed. I wish it was not drizzling at the time, I wanted to make the trek up the mountain to the tea house...Was not impressed with the area between Vancover and the Glaciers/Lake Louise and Banff....we really enjoyed our stay in Banff and the shopping downtown....thanks for the Canadian journey....we were on rail for most of the trip.Again...I could live out my days in the old Lake Louise Hotel....a grand hotel indeed.