I recently posted our Favorite Alaska Memories so now it is time to post our favorite memories of traveling through Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon Territory. We spent 23 nights in Canada and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, and friendly Canadian people.
We started our travels in Canada by spending almost a week in Alberta in Banff National Park and Jasper National Park.
Elk by the side of the road in Banff National Park
Elk on the Bow Valley Parkway
Peyto Lake is a much deeper turquoise than the other lakes along the parkway
Elk near our campsite in Jasper
We saw lots of wildlife as we drove through British Columbia on the Alaska Highway before arriving in Alaska for the first time.
Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway! in Dawson Creek, BC
Stone Sheep on the Alaska Highway
Caribou on the Alaska Highway
Moose on the Alaska Highway
Bison herd with calves near Liard River Hotsprings
After a week in Alaska we drove through Canada to Dawson City, Yukon and across the Top of the World Highway before returning to Alaska.
Black Bear beside the road in British Columbia
Panning for gold in Dawson City, Yukon
View on the Top of the World Highway
Our journey back to the lower 48 took us along the Cassier Highway through British Columbia.
Sunrise at Burwash Landing, Yukon Territory
Salmon Glacier in British Columbia about 17 miles past Hyder, Alaska
Bear Glacier near Stewart, BC
For a map of our entire journey be sure to check out Our Route. And for a list of all the campgrounds where we stayed check out our Campground List.
WOW! Everywhere we looked we had another WOW moment. Blondie and I didn’t have to go far before we had our first wildlife sighting of the day. A group of five mule deer were grazing on the plants around some of the empty campsites.
The clear sky opened up the views to the mountains all around us.After breakfast Henry, Blondie and I hiked on the Hoodoos Trail. The trail winds atop the mountain with views of the Bow River Valley below and mountains above. The sounds of the Chickadees had us searching the tree tops. Ravens flew above and perched in the trees.
Mule Deer in the campground
Blondie and I spotted these mule deer in the campground
Our view as we walked along the Hoodoos Trail
Hoodoos beside the Bow River
Wildflowers along the trail
Bow River Valley
Two park employees worked on planting grass seed along the trail. They gave us a great recommendation on where to look for wildlife. We took their advice to drive along the Lake Minnewanka Loop. Minnewanka rhymes with Willy Wonka.
I packed a picnic lunch and off we went in search of Big Horn Sheep. We stopped at the Cascades picnic area at the beginning of the drive where we were serenaded by the sounds of the ground squirrels as we ate and enjoyed the spectacular mountain views all around.
At one of the overlooks we saw what is left of an old coal mine. There was once a village where the workers lived. When the coal mine was shut down they moved the entire town! Some of the buildings are now in the town of Banff.
The beautiful turquoise Lake Minnewanka is a popular recreational area with a swimming area, boat docks, and a boat ramp. Surrounded by the craggy Canadian Rockies it is a beautiful place and many people were out enjoying the nice day.
After a stop to enjoy the lake we continued our drive which took us across the dam. With the lake to our left and rocky cliffs to our right we stopped at a few more overlooks. In hopes of finding Big Horn Sheep I looked up the cliffs as we drove along. As I was looking up Henry spotted a herd of Mountain Goats in the road. They quickly disappeared down the embankment but not before Henry stuck the camera out the window and got a few photos.
Two Jack Lake was our last stopping place along the drive. It is a smaller lake with a hiking trail.
Lake Minnewanka boat docks
Mountain Goats on the Lake Minnewanka Loop
This mountain goat was in the road before he headed down the mountain
Our last stop was the town of Banff to visit the post office for post card stamps and a bank to convert some US currency to Canadian. Banff is a picturesque village with it’s main street lined with shops and restaurants and of course, magnificent views of the rocky mountains.
Day 19: Monday, June 3, 2013. Ft. MacLeod, AB to Banff, AB. Banff National Park Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court Site 636. 181 miles traveled
Just when you think you will have a really easy travel day, the unexpected happens.
After hearing the rain hit the roof of the camper all night, we woke up to having to hitch up the camper in, surprise, more rain! Henry was dodging puddles as he put up the water hoses and hitched up the trailer. One of the items on his check list before leaving a campsite is to check the tire pressure. One of our new tires was losing air.
Our first order of business after leaving the campground was to find a gas station with not only an air compressor but room for our 40+ foot truck and camper to maneuver so we could put air in the tires. Luckily there was a Shell station in Ft. MacLeod that fit the bill and for the cost of a loonie (one dollar) Henry filled the tire and we were on our way.
Driving through Calgary in the rain was no fun but we made it past the city safely. Henry continued to monitor the tire pressure and saw it was still leaking air. As we approached Canmore, the only town of any size before Banff, I searched the GPS for a tire store and found OK Tire Company. We followed the GPS directions to the store which was located in a residential section of town with no big parking lot for our rig. Henry pulled over to the side of the road across the street from the store and walked to the store to see if they could help us. They told him to drive a couple of blocks to the parking area for the ball field . A technician would meet us there.
A few minutes later the technician arrived as promised and found a sharp object in the tire. He was able to remove it, fix the tire, and remount it all for the huge cost of $25. I highly recommend OK Tire in Canmore, AB if you are ever in need of assistance in the Canadian Rockies.
While he was working on the tire, I put on my rain jacket to take Blondie for a walk. As we walked around the parking lot for the complex of ball fields I heard dogs barking. Blondie and I went to explore and found the city dog park. I retrieved her chuck it and tennis ball from the back of the truck and off we went. She ignored all the other dogs as she chased her ball time after time over the grassy field. While she played I was looking at the jaw dropping beauty of the mountains all around. Even though they were mostly covered in clouds they were still spectacular to see.
Before we continued on to Banff we stopped at the Visitor’s Center for directions, maps, and more brochures. Elk were in the campground to greet us when we arrived. When we arrived at our site in the Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court all we could say was “WOW”. All the sites are long pull through sites with full hookups and a view of Mount Rundle. Even with the clouds and rain it was amazing. After the long stressful day we just sat in our chairs and enjoyed the view.
There would be a lot more WOW’s before departing Banff. Stay tuned….