Monday, September 30, 2013


 We met Keith Brodsky and his wife, Leslie, through Amber.  He told us to give him a call if we came up to, we did!  Keith and Leslie live in Banff.  They are both servers at a popular restaurant.  Keith owned his own sporting goods company, and not long ago, decided to retire early, move to Banff, and work hours so he could play during the day.  And, take off during the slow season.  Sounds like a good plan, eh?  They were so generous with their time, took an entire day and showed us the beautiful country they live in.  Keith told us, that in order to live in Banff, which is in a national park, you have to show proof of employment, or no deal.

 We were going to hike to the teahouse at Lake Louise, but warm weather steered us over to Morraine Lake, and a 6 mile up and down to Larch Valley, which was more shaded.  I was glad of that!
We stopped at a stream and had a light lunch, then went on to the view of the cirque, surrounded by peaks and glaciers, and holding a small lake.

Luna and I cool our feet.

 These are larch, whose needles fall off in the winter.  A deciduous evergreen!
 Next stop was Yoho National Park.  Here you see the Yoho River flowing with straight glacial melt.
Takaka Falls
Over the ridge lies Emerald Lake, a beautiful spot for a lodge and all its amenities.

We ended the day by having a lovely dinner at Baker Creek Inn, a really cute log restaurant with great food.  We learned so much from Keith and Leslie.  Leslie just finished doing the Pacific Crest Trail, and is fluent in French, having worked in Switzerland and Quebec.  Keith is an avid mountain biker, road biker, hiker, skier....he works at a heli-ski lodge in the ski season.  He helicopters in for 2 weeks, then is off for a week.  All I can say is, "what a life!".  We hope to cross their paths again.....

Saturday, September 21, 2013


 Icefield Parkway runs north from Lake Louise to Jasper.  Nothing but beauty all the way up.
 This is one of the overpasses built specifically for wildlife crossing.  The government is trying to avoid so many deadly bear/deer/elk/moose and car collisions.
 We reached the Athabasca Glacier, which you can park and walk right up to view.
 When we visited here in 2007, we were able to walk right up onto the glacier.  Now the melt flows in front of it, and people are not allowed anymore.

 The melt is all glacial at this time of year, so the water is a milky white.
 Weird ice formations, some covered in black dirt.
Luna didn't care for the bridge going over, it was open metal she and Darrell returned via a small stream crossing.
 She had to go back for a drink.
 All the melting glaciers form the Athabasca River, which flows northward to Athabasca falls, not too far south of Jasper.

We passed this somewhat familiar looking structure on the way up.  It looks just like the skywalk at the Grand Canyon.  Still under construction, they will probably charge a similarly exorbitant fee to walk on it when it's done.


We camped here in Tunnel Mountain Campground for about 3 days.  It's kind of like a parking lot, but we were hardly there, and it was centrally located.
 Up at the foot of Sulphur Mountain, the gondola takes thousands of people to the top for a great view of the valley.  They even let dogs ride...however, we opted for a walking tour of the area.  Here is a glacier bus which takes people out onto the glaciers.
We explored Cave and Basin National Monument, the first national park in Canada.  There are hot springs here.

 We walked along the Bow River, where canoe rides are available, and happened to hit the final farmers' market of the year.


Monday, September 16, 2013


 From Fort Macleod, we traveled west through miles and miles of rolling prairie grass and farmland.  This area, we are told, is the windiest place in Canada; as such, windmills are put to good use.

 We stopped to see Frank Slide. The town of Frank was a coal mining town of 600 people with a railroad passing through.  Back on April 29, 1903, at 4am, a giant wedge of limestone broke off of Turtle Mountain, shown here, and obliterated the eastern portion of the town.  70 people died.  A few were never recovered. 
 Canada's interpretive centers are beautiful.  The stories are depicted artfully, and really engage you as a viewer.
 From Frank, we headed up the Cowboy Trail to find a campsite for the night.  The first park we pulled into had some flood damage from the Elbow River.  Lots of flooding in the central part of Alberta, and they are still recovering from it.

We found a beautiful spot in MacLean Creek campground for the night.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Tallest and longest railroad trestle in the world

About 30 miles to the east of Fort MacLeod is Lethbridge, where we discovered this railroad trestle, 100 yrs old, and still in operation.  It took us a bit to find an observation spot to take pictures, but Darrell succeeded.  It was a rr highlight for him.

Head-smashed-in Buffalo Jump

This site is located northwest of Fort MacLeod, where we stayed for 2 days.  For 5 to 6,000 years, Indians hunted buffalo on the prairies of Alberta.  This was how they accomplished a major kill; by "herding" them into a narrowing avenue of the prairie, getting them going so fast that they couldn't see or turn back from the cliff.  They didn't have horses yet, but were skilled at this method of providing food for their tribes. The center was built in the late 80's, but is beautifully done and looks and seems brand new. 



Our pack trip scheduled for next spring leaves out of Choteau, which is on the east side of the Rockies.  On the way there to see what it was like, we stopped in Browning to see the Museum of the Plains Indians.  It was mostly a beautiful collection of native costumes of the Blackfeet Indians.  Well worth the stop, though it doesn't look like it from the outside.
In Choteau we discovered we had been through there before, about 10 yrs ago.  We decided not to take the trailer, but use a motel when we embark on our 3 day pack assisted trip.  We've talked to the outfitter, and she sounds like a great lady, and we can't wait.  More later....