Sunday, 25 October 2015

Meziadin to Calgary then to Banff

Travelling south on the Cassiar from Meziadin, the highway was in good shape, but there was some resurfacing being done, and we had to wait for the pilot car. John got out, and noticed a trail of water. A stone on the newly chip-sealed section of the road had sheared off the drain valve of our fresh water tank and all out fresh water was draining out! There was nothing we could do right then, but a few phone calls to CanAm, and to dealers in Prince George, and we were good to go. We just had to be sure to have water hookups until then!

Just before the junction of the Cassiar and the Yellowhead highways, was a small Indian reserve of Gitwangat, with a row of some of the finest authentic totem poles in the area.
Fascinating Totem Poles

They were really interesting, many completed,


but some only just started. Just across the road is St Paul’s Anglican Church with a bell tower beside it housing the original bell from the 1893 Bell tower.
Church and Bell Tower

View through the church window
We drove as far as the town of Smithers

Smithers Main Street
for lunch at Two Sisters, a fabulous little restaurant,

A wonderful restaurant just off the Main Street
and a walk around.

Top of Main Street

It was a lovely town, but we decided to go further before we stopped for the night, so we could be as close to Prince George as possible. We stayed on Fraser Lake at Pipers Glen Campground. It was a modest little campground with much to be modest about.

Pipers Glen - Fraser Lake

We were up and off early (for us), heading to FraserWay RV in Prince George.

Prince George!
Luckily, it was a fairly easy fix. They put on a better grade drain. It surprised us that this sticks out at the bottom of the trailer, and is not protected. The trailer was not ready until late afternoon, so we decided to stay at the Casino for the night with a dozen other folks.

Casino parking overnight
We ate at the restaurant attached to the hotel, and were able to watch the Blue Jays game- they won.

We planned to stay at the Provincial Campground at Mount Robson, but needed to stop one night on the way, so we could arrive early to get a good site. We stopped for lunch at the little town of McBride.

This town set up a model Solar System within the town’s boundaries.

Model Solar System

The historic train station where we ate lunch, is the Visitor Information Centre and has The Beanery2 Internet Cafe, a café with all home-made soups and sandwiches.

Train Station
We chose to stop here for the night at Beaverview RV Park and Campground, not even unhitching. We were once again in a large field but with water and electricity.

A field, but hookups.
The next morning we were off again to the Provincial Park at Mount Robson. On the way we stopped at Rearguard Falls on the Fraser River.

Rearguard Falls
This is the upper limit of the 1300km migration of Pacific salmon. As we watched, a group piled into 2 rafts and headed off to the rapids for some fun.

Just before we got to Mount Robson Park, we stopped at Mount Terry Fox Rest Area, with a beautiful memorial to Terry Fox,

View over to Mount Terry Fox
 a park and a view of the mountain named in his honour.

 Mount Robson is spectacular, even as we first saw it through the smoke from the Washington forest fires.

Mount Robson in the smoke
We found a beautiful campsite in Mount Robson Provincial Park, Robson Meadows Campground.

We stayed for two nights to see the area. The next day, the smoke cleared somewhat and we were able to get a clearer view of the mountain.

Mount Robson without smoke

John 's perspective from around the smaller hill
It is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Later, John hiked up the smaller mountain to the east and got a somewhat different view.

We walked down to Overlander Falls. It was a 15 minute walk, but what they didn’t say was that it was all downhill, often on a switchback trail.

In 1862, 175 men and one woman travelled overland from Ontario, heading to the newly discovered goldfields in central BC. The usual route was around the tip of South America, hence this group was named the Overlanders.

The Story...

The Falls

They reached this spot in August 1862.

The next day we started toward Jasper. The smoke was so thick that the vistas were eerie.

Eerie but Beautiful

We stopped at the Yellowhead Pass, elevation 3760ft/1146ft, the border between BC and Alberta.

Park at the Yellowhead Pass

We drove into Jasper

The Junction of the Icefields Parkway and the Yellowhead- ringed with mountains!!

to go to our favourite coffee house [in the laundromat] for a latte before heading down the Icefields Parkway towards Calgary. Jasper is ringed with mountains. However walking around town, you couldn’t see any of them for the smoke.

The Icefield Parkway south of Jasper

We stayed for the night at the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre’s huge parking lot,

That is us way off in the smoke!
Here we are! closer - still in smoke though

across from the Columbia Icefield which covers 241sq.mi./388, and its most visible long finger, the Athabasca Glacier.

The glacier used to cover this whole parking lot
Terminal Moraine behind the parking lot

It used to be free overnight parking for RV’s, but now cost $15.70, the same price as the unserviced National Parks campgrounds. We walked up to the Centre, but everything was closed, so we just wandered around. John went out fairly early the next morning to get some pictures of the icefield before the smoke settled in.

Part of Columbia Icefield

Athabasca Glacier
The smoke was really bad all the way down, so we saw some views of some of the glaciers close to the road, and only ghostly images of some of those which were further away, as we drove beside the Saskatchewan River.

The glaciers are dim ghosts

We even saw several sheep at Big Bend.

The smoke was thick right into Calgary.

South Calgary

In fact we could not even have a fire in the fire pit for the first week that we were at our son’s house because the air quality was so bad, outdoor fires were banned.      

We had a lovely visit with our grandkids, giving Karen and Garry a holiday while we looked after them for several days. We spent a lot of time playing at the local park,

She loves to climb

Look at me too!
and spent a day at Heritage Park.

"Gasoline Alley" with all the cars was their favourite

A ride on a riverboat

I'm not sure which he like more this swing or

the big Ferris Wheel

But they both loved the Steam engine train ride- but not the hand stamp!
We even spent time at their favourite stores, “Malnart” and Mastermind Toys.
The wooden trains were the favourite in the store

The trailer got a good scrubbing inside and out, then we were on our way again. The first trip took us back to Banff.  We had to go down to Ocotocks first to weigh the trailer, axles and truck, so we took the Black Diamond route to the main highway.

A beautiful day and beautiful drive
However, we were soon on the Trans Canada and into the mountains.

Back to the mountains

We stayed once again in the Tunnel Mountain Campground in the RV section with full hookups. The first day was warm and sunny, so we took a trip back to Canmore. The views were spectacular, but still there was smoke.

The drive to Canmore

The bike trail beside the highway had more traffic than the highway, with folks of all ages enjoying the beautiful weather. Canmore is such a pretty town

Entering Canmore- The Three Sisters Mountains

with interesting buildings.

Main Street


A store on the ground floor

We walked all over, and then took the boardwalk trail over the marsh, beside the river.

Boardwalk over the marsh

Beside the river

We crossed a beautiful wooden bridge

A beautiful wooden bridge

to a stunning condo complex, with the Three Sisters Mountains in the distance,

An idyllic location for a condo

before walking back to the truck.

The weather turned a little wet, then cold and we woke up one morning to snow.


Out came hats and gloves and an extra layer! We discovered a section of Banff that we had missed before, to the south end of the City Centre. We took a walk around the area, and a walk along the river

Gazebo in the Park beside the Bow River

The Bow River

Bow River and Forty Mile Creek

The trails we discovered

to the Canoe Club. It was pouring most of the time, but umbrellas worked to keep us fairly dry- just not our feet!

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