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Subject: The First Adventure is Drawing to a close from Ed and Edith
Ole, For the list Thanks
We are winding down our adventure so this will likely be the last travelogue until next summer when we head for the East
coast of Canada and New England. We will be going to AZ this year but won't bore you with those details. A new upload
should be on the web page in about 3 days and then I will do the last two from home about 2 weeks apart so check often as
there are some great pictures you do not want to miss!!
Since the last upday we made a day trip out of Prince George to Fort St. James and Dawson Creek I changed the oil so that
makes 15,000 miles since we left home as that is the 3rd oil change so we likley will be near 20,000 miles for the trip
when we get back to Salem. We put on nearly 600 miles today so it was a long day. The scenery from here to about 100
miles south of Chitwynd, BC would be like the Black Hills but with the mountains about size. At that point we got into
bigger mountains but they had what I would call folded rock patterns and were nearly barren. They were like those we
seen in the first part of the trip on the ALCAN in BC but these were not nearly as high or massive. These are the tail
end of the Rocky Mt. chain. One area on the pass reportedly gets about 40 feet of snow a year. It apparently is warm
enough that is melts at various times as they don't have 40 foot setting on the ground at one time based on the way the
buildings were constructed and the signs along the road, etc but that is a lot of snow. Chitwynd was a nice town and is
the chain saw carving capital of the world and we seen some beautiful ones and Edith got a picture. We got some Canadian
money at 1.534 exchange rate at the bank which was the best of the trip. We then went on to Fort St. James and crossed the
Peace River right below a large dam and traveled up the river and found cows, hay, alfalfa and small grain on the bottom
and a ways up the side of the river bottom which was a half mile to a couple of miles long. One spot was especially
large and was called Bear Bottom which reminded me of the Missouri in its natural state and still like it is below Ft.
Randall with Sunshine Bottom, etc. Ft. St. John is on the ALCAN and had lots of agriculture going on as well as logging
and oil/gas. It looked very progressive. We then traveled down the ALCAN about 50 miles to Dawson Creek where the
ALCAN begins and I was shocked that there were section lines, large open areas, lots of cattle, hay, small grain and some
logging and oil/gas but definitely the most agriculture activity we have seen since the first part of our trip in
Manitoba and Alberta. We seen a bear number 28 and a moose number 19 of the trip.
We left Prince George and as we headed east on the Yellowhead Hwy 16 is got into more and bigger mountains and more trees.
There was some haying, horses and cattle in small open areas before McBride. We got to McBride and got some Jasper and
Baniff Park literature at the visitors center. We went into Mt. Robson Park which is very nice and as we rounded the
corner there was Terry Fox Mountain with fresh snow sprinkled on it, makes you know fall is here. It gets down in the
40's every night and up to the low 60's during the day.
Before going to Jasper or Banaff I would suggest doing some research on the Internet and see if one could come up with a
detailed map. The one in the tourist information places outside the parks are very helpful but not detailed enough for
my liking. Even the one they give you at the gate is good on Camp Grounds BUT THE MAP IS LACKING IN DETAIL to get to the
lakes and other sites! We ended up buying a map, they are in the gas stations and tourist shops and cost $5.95 Canadian.
We got one that covered both Jasper and Baniff. The individual ones are a bit better in detail but of course you need
to buy two maps then. LET ME WARN YOU THAT THE TOWNSITE OF JASPER was crowded in September way after the peak season so
I can not imagine what it would be like during peak season. It is difficult to get around in with a 5th wheel and
parking is a REAL PROBLEM. Corners are sharp and would give Class A's with a tote a terrible time as well. Class C's
got by OK as well as pickup campers. My suggestion if you can pull it off is to go directly to a campground if you have
a 5th or Class A and use just your pickup or toad. The Whistles CG is huge and right by Jasper so that would work well.
You can then go to the information center. If you don't need hookups then Snaring River CG is where we stayed and is
only about 6-8 miles north. You want to walk it as the paths and height is none to much for a big rig in spots but it
is do able if you check it out first. It was $10,00 where Whistles is quite a bit more. There are others in the park
but are quite aways from Jasper which is a good center point to work out of. We were going north first but were low on
diesel so had to go to Jasper as that is about the only place to get fuel in the park. We decided to change plans and
checked out Patrica and Pyramid Lakes which are right west of town and right below Pyramid Mt. They are very nice.
There is a beach on the Southwest side of Pyramid that is sand and great picnic areas along that side. There is also
an island on the lake you can take a bridge and go to. We then went south of Jasper and took the tram up Jasper
Mountain. It was $38 for both of us and we both agreed worth the money. It is a good long ride and you can see the
lakes around Jasper and the roads going all three ways so it really helps you get your feet on the ground as to what
is what for roads and lakes in the immediate area. It spit some snow while we were up and it is totally barren on top!
We then headed for Maligne Canyon and lake. The is what is called I believe Face Mountain that looks like a face and
it is a beautiful drive in and out and on an oil road. We got some great shots of a bull moose and the lake is very
nice. If one wanted to you could take a boat on the lake to an island. The clouds were rolling in and it was to late
but if it is not to expensive I would recommend it or if you were spending lots of time in the park one could hike
down along the lake. BTW if you plan to ge in the parks awhile be sure and investigate an annual pass!
From there we looked at Edith and Annette Lake which were a beautiful turquoise color and one had a sandy beach.
We head north in Jasper Park and get some GREAT PICTURES OF THE MOUNTAINS REFLECTING in the LAKE. We have been trying
for the whole trip and this is by far the best. The scenery going north is just as spectacuar. We went to Miette Hot
Springs which is quite away's back on an oil road which is narrow and has some switch backs. The spring has been
developed by the park and the hot water piped into three pools.. It cost $5.00 to swim so it would be a good deal.
Since we have been in a couple of hot springs we passed but sure looked as neat and clean as any we have seen.
we then went back to the 5th and packed up and headed south. We took the tailer to the Edith Cavell trailer drop of
lot band headed up to view the mountain. It has some severe switch backs andi is bumpy oil and narrow but in comparison
to all we have been on pretty tame. We got some great photo's on the way up and Edith Cavell is a very pretty mountain
and there is a glacier that hangs that is very nice and you can get some great pictures. If you have the time allow an
hour to hike a circle path up along a mountainside trail and then down and on the flat going back to the parking lot.
The path is paved for as far as we went so very nice. We then went back down and picked up the 5th and went on to
Athabasca Falls and Sunwapta Falls. Athabasca was definitely the nicest one and it would even be nicer if the river
would of had more water in it, but both are definitely worthwhile seeing! We then headed south toward Baniff and the
scenery is great. Toward the south end of Jasper getting ready to go into Baniff you start picking up more glaciers and
more snow on the mountains. The Columbia Ice field center is a place where you can drive down to and walk on the glacier
or you can take a bus out on the glacier that has big rubber tires on it. We have been on other glaciers so we passed
but if you had not this would BE A GOOD SAFE PLACE TO DO IT. Nearly all glaciers are very, very dangerous to be around
and you should not go on them!
As we got into the Baniff I believe the scenery got even prettier. It may just looked that way because of more snow
on the mountains. Anyway it continued to be breath taking. Shortly after going into Baniff we had the longest,
steepest pull of the trip. We drive nearly all the time out of over-drive so that leave 3, 2 and 1 for the ranges
in the automatic transmission. We shift to 2 at about 44 mph and it will stay in 2 until about 49 mph. We don't shift
to 1 until about 20 mph so at that point you are really crawling with no power until you shift. If you get above about
24 mph you shift bact to 2 and it starts all over again if you are pulling hard. I found the secret is to just shift
to 1 and watch the tach and keep it under 3000 rpm and one can manually shift between 1 and 2 if need be. Works much
better than waiting for it to do automatically in a lot of situations. We also found it works a lot better on a really
steep downgrade, and there were a couple of them, to just shift to 2. If it would be really steep I would use 1 so I
have learned a lot about using the pickup today in the mountains with the 5th on the back.
About 4 pm we got to Mosquito Creek CG and found a nice spot and got set up. We then just took the truck and went back
to Peyto Lake! WOW! IT IS BEAUTIFUL! It is not far off the road on a oil road to a parking area and then about 1/4
mile walk on a paved trail. It is quite a large lake and a beautiful turquoise color with Peyto Glacier up above it.
Definitely I would rate a must see if you can hike.
We were up at 6:30 am and on the road to Lake Louise by 7:30 am We arrived at the parking lot a little after 8 am and
it only had about 5 cars in it and there were no buses! We did not exactly know where the lake is but we seen Lake
Louise Chateau on the way in and I was sure it was right on the lake so I knew the general direction. We headed down
a trail and after about 100 years we could see the turquoise water thru the trees. There were not many people there.
Those that were seem to be staying at the Chateau. I would say about half were Japanese. We have been amazed by the
number of foreign tourists from Europe and Japan. At many locations here in Jasper and Banaff we estimate that only 40%
are US and Canada and the rest foreign. We are told Banaff is almost all Japanese owned. Anyway the lake was calm and
we could see beautiful reflections so we snapped pictures like mad! The sun would go behind the cloud or mountain from
time to time. We walked along the north side of the lake and then went in the Chateau for a few minutes and got some
more pictures. A slight breeze was coming up which rippled the water and spoiled the reflections. About 8:30 am the
buses started arriving and we were invaded with foreign visitors of the buses. Mostly Japanese. We decided to leave
but definitely if you go to Lake Louise get there early. If it is mid summer then earlier than us as it will get light
a lot earlier. You need to be there in the morning so the sun is to your back and you get the reflection on the lake
from the mountains on the three sides. We got the best reflections from the west and north end and not much from the
south. The Chateau is on the east end and no mountains. Lake Louise is not real large. I'd say less than half mile
wide and about 1.5 miles long. It is bigger than it looks due to the size of the mountains. Considering all the visits
over the years they have done a wonderful job of maintaining it. BTW a little later in the day they take canoes out
on the water which in my opinion spoils it also SO BE THERE EARLY!!!! WE WERE IMPRESSED!
We then went to Moraine Lake which is a turn of on the road to Lake Louise. It is about 9 miles in and a decent oil
road. It is also a nice lake but the mountains don't reflect as well but definitely worth the trip!
We then headed south to Banaff and went to the south park entrance on HWY # 1 and then took Tunnel Mt. Road in Banaff
and seen the Hoodoos which are some unusual shaped rocks We then went to downtown Banaff and it is one tourist shop after
another, worse than Jasper and very tough to get around. Not for us and we were out of there! We took the Bow Valley
Parkway back Lake Louise. It is a scenic route with a speed limit of 60 KM/Hr or about 40 mph. A lot of places the
trees block the view but is is nice. We then went just north of Lake Louise and went west on Hwy 1 over into BC and
went to Takakkaw Falls which is a very, very high falls It is worth the trip BUT BE CAREFUL!. It is about 10 miles
north of Hwy 1 but not that far into BC. We almost got sideswiped by a huge bus. I just could not believe tour buses
were taking the road as it said absolutely no travel trailers. He was talking and got over the center line and it had
to quickly get over and I was on the cliff side so I really got close to the edge. Not a good deal. We came to a
switch back that TOPS ANYTHING OF THE TRIP. I COULD NOT MAKE IT WITH THE F-350. I had to back up and reposition and
then I could make it. I COULD NOT FIGURE OUT HOW THE BUSES MADE IT HERE. ON THE WAY BACK WE SEEN HOW THEY DO IT. THEY
PULL AHEAD AT THE BOTTOM IN A LITTLE EXTRA SPACE AND THEN BACK UP THE HILL, AGAIN INTO A LITTLE EXTRA SPACE AT THE HEAD
OF THE SWITCH BACK AND THEN GO AHEAD. GOING DOWN IS JUST THE REVERSE, THEY PULL AHEAD INTO THE LITTLE SPACE AND BACK
DOWN THE HILL! I NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT. THE HILL MUST BE AT LEAST 100 YARDS LONG THEY BACK UP/DOWN DEPENDING ON
September 8th Sunday
We had a travel day going south out of Banaff into Kootenay National parks. The road is nice and scenic and has quite
a few passing lanes. The downgrade into Radium Hot Springs is quite long and steep. Radium Hot Springs is a nice town
with lots going on and the Hot Springs is right along the road and has a nice pool. Going south of there we immediately
noticed it was very dry and much warmer. We must be hitting dry country. In talking to the locals they did not have
much snow last winter or much rain this summer and temperatures have gotten to 100 degrees which is hot for here but we
are west of the mountains so the climate is much drier. The Columbia Lake and the start of the Columbia River is a nice
area and trees and mountains continue all the way to the US border and I am sure beyond. They just are not as rugged.
A little less than the Black Hills but similiar. We eat steak at Cranbrook which is a good size town. I'd guess 30,000
or more. We are at Yaka, BC about 12 miles from ID.
Thanks for riding along and if you don't want on the list for Eastern Canada next year be sure and let me know as I sure
won't be offended!
Ed and Edith
Day 91 probably get back a little before day 100.
[MID: 1148_W0SD Sent Via: KA6IQA Date: 2001/09/10 04:30:27]