Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On To Boise

We had fun camping on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille.
We did not realize that there was so much wheat and soybeans grown in northern Idaho.
Time to harvest the wheat
We camped on the Snake River above these cute cabins. I want one. William says maybe on the other side of the bocce ball court.

An interesting bluff above the Snake.  Lewis and Clark expedition  came through here.
On down through Idaho.
William stopped to swim in the Salmon River. Now he can say he has swum in the California Salmon and the Idaho Salmon.
William sans suit

Another ideal camping place at Lake Cascade.
All these places will be total mad zoos next weekend, but we will be home at our own mad zoo.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Radium Hot Springs and Fort Steele

Off to Radium Hot Springs for a soak this morning. It rained during the night and snowed on the high peaks. Getting ready for winter.
new snow

We stopped for a short hike at a viewpoint for the HooDoos. Nice view of the surrounding peaks and a vista back to Banff.

Looking back to Banff

Just as we stopped at the hot springs it started to rain. A chilly walk under the highway. The hot pool is not too very hot and full of children. We finally find a couple of obscure hot water delivery pipes and spend time by them. We chatted with a couple from Edmonton. They had a relatively mild winter. After a nice soak we head off to find a place to camp for the night and have a picnic lunch.
Radium Hot Springs

Our first choice of campground for the night is full, so we head back into an edge of the Kootenay National Park for the night. We have a nice quiet spot, but they were almost full. We got a leftover “short” spot by virtue of our size.
After we get a camp site at the Fort Steele Resort we head over to the Historic Town of Fort Steele.
The Entrance

The entry building was a brewery and this was a beer vat. Mmmm beer.
William and the brewery beer delivery wagon

Wm freaks in the territorial jail

We saw a cute melodrama about the fight to keep the railroad coming to Fort Steele. In reality the wiley developer won and the railroad went to Cranbrook. Fort Steele became a ghost town. Drat that Col. Baker.

A wagon ride about town

A trip on the railroad. The tracks were built for the town restoration.

Blowing off the steam to clear the boiler.

A view down from the high train stop.

William and old 1077

Sweeping up in the enlisted mens quarters

Boiled Mutton is on the menu

William and the log hauler

William by an old waterwheel that is now home to doves. We heard them cooing.

The old outhouses are boarded up. Unlike in Fairbanks where they are still in use.
We had a fun afternoon in Fort Steele.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jasper and Banff National Parks

By August 20th we had made it to just outside the National Park.  We stopped at an Info Center and view Mt Robson.
Mt Robson highest point in the canadian rockies
We stayed at a British Columbia Provincial Park, Lucerne, next to Whitney Lake. We had a lovely spot overlooking the lake. It looked like berry picking to me so I took my baggie and went on the hunt. I found low bush cranberries and then a huge bush of gooseberries.

 William came to help and we also found huckleberries and high bush cranberries. 
William with a handful of gooseberries
We also found the ubiquitous snake berries, deadly poison, and soap berries, an acquired taste. We met some people from Edmonton who told us where the beach was. William braved the cold water and went swimming. I just waded. 

 The train track is on the far edge of the lake.
A Canadian National Passenger train

 A black cloud was heading our way so we went back to the RV and arrived just before the deluge. The rain was short and we still were able to have a campfire. I saw a few more berries. Raspberries made a lovely before dinner snack. The other berries I cooked into a sauce for dessert.
Off we go on the Yellowhead Highway on toward Jasper.
 Then the fee station. We were not expecting a park entry fee here. We thought the fee would be after we entered the Icefield Highway. The fee is not cheap. Senior rate is $8.30 per person per day that you plan to be in the park. We would have bought Discovery Passes in Dawson City if we had known. Kind of a downer way to start our visit. When we visited Jasper in 1968 there was no park fee. The lady at the Jasper Museum said there were plans to raise the fees by quite a bit. I also found out that the Raven Totem pole, that I remember from 1968, was sent back to the village on the coast where it was carved because it was deteriorating. The village carved a new totem called two brothers and it stands in place of the old one.
The new two brothers totem pole
William at lunch. His beer is named after Bullet Nosed Betty.

William in front of Bullet Nosed Betty
We took the poorly marked old highway 93A all the way down to Athabaska Falls. Very impressive. Lots of water moving here from the Columbia Icefields all the way to the Arctic Ocean.
 Athabaska Falls

 We are camped tonight next to the Athabasca River. We sat next to the river a while until a black cloud started moving toward us. Drat the Rockies. No berries except snake berries and soap berries at this campsite. Lots of mushrooms, but I need to take a class. One mushroom looked just like oyster mushrooms. We met a bicycle rider who has been riding for two months from Quebec City.
The Icefield Highway to Lake Louise.
William remembers a lot more snow on the peaks when we were here in July of 1968. We stopped at the Icefield Centre, but did not do what most people were doing and that was buy a ticket on a huge bus to go up and drive on the glacier.
The view from the Icefield Centre
 In '68 there was a much smaller center near the glacier and we bought a ticket to ride on the glacier in a snow cat. This visit we parked in the place to hike to the glacier. The toe of the glacier was about at the current parking lot in '68 and the hike up to the glacier is quite an uphill slog.

At the   Athabaska Glacier

The trail was steep

Now we are driving to Lake Louise. We don't have campground reservations and it looks to be close as to whether we will get a spot.
When we arrive at the campground there is a line and the board notice says full. But we stay in line and are given a spot in the tent campground since we are small. We go over to check out the spot and it is really not level. But the spot next door is level and looks unoccupied. So we head back to the registration office and are able to trade. Great!
We head over to Lake Louise to hike the edge of the lake to replicate our '68 trip. We even found a parking place in the crowded parking lot.
When we walked over to the hotel and looked out at the glacier we saw what we thought was a waterfall coming from the glacier. Then we heard a loud boom and saw no waterfall. Then right away we saw a larger fall and then a louder boom. The glacier was calving at the edge of a cliff.
Victoria Glacier is much smaller and is now a hanging glacier.

The path to the head of the lake was a huge 8 foot wide semi paved path crowded with people when we remember a small forest path.

 We did walk all the way to the end of the lake and saw some rock climbers scaling the vertical cliffs, No big begging marmot this time, just a fair sized begging chipmunk.

We stopped for a beer in the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel saloon. The patio has a pair of beggar birds. Clark's Nutcrackers.
Me at the  Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel saloon 

 Clark's Nutcracker

We wondered around in the hotel for a while before heading back to camp.
On the road to Banff. I wonder if the wildlife corridors are effective.

The Hudson's Bay Company since 1670

The Garden of Time looking back at downtown Banff

We admired the burl birch bridges in the garden
Lunch at the Maple Leaf Grill
And now a rush job on this blog at the local library.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

From Whitehorse to K'san

After we left Whitehorse we lunched at Boya Lake. A sign that said fire camp pointed in the way we went, but then up to an administrative area.
We didn't smell smoke, but then William spotted the fire.
fire smoke over my head

We camped that night at Kinaskan Lake. Float planes were taking off from the lake.

Every once in a while there were delays on the Cassiar Highway, either for road repair or power line construction.
We were stopped as a helicopter picked up logs from the power line clearing and stacked them in giant teepees to be burnt in winter.

Lots of scenery along the road and we stopped to take pictures of Bear Glacier.

Bear Glacier

We checked in at Rainey Creek Campground in Stewart, British Columbia. We heard that last year it was rainy or cloudy all but nine days in the summer. This year has been much nicer.
We headed for lunch to the “Bus” in Hyder, Alaska. It was a long wait for lunch, but worth it.
At the "Bus" the kitchen is a bus

We came to Hyder to watch the bears eat fish. The park service has a fish viewing platform above Fish Creek. The fish are running but the bears prefer to eat in the early morning and in the evening. So we decided to take the road up to the top of Salmon Glacier. Many miles of incredibly bad road. Part of the road is being redone, but the rest has been beaten to death by heavy trucks hauling mining equipment. Hardly an inch between huge potholes. The summit is lovely and we hang out for a few hours to get unjoggled.
the toe of Salmon Glacier

Salmon Glacier

William at the Summit of Salmon Glacier

Back down the mountain rattlety bang to find a parking spot near Fish Creek.
mist over fish creek as we head to the observation platform

 Our Golden Ages passes get us on to the platform for free. But we wait and wait. There are lots of fish, coho I think.

 But where are the bears? Finally as dusk begins to settle a huge black bear, 8-900 pounds, shows up.
too dark for my camera to take a good picture of the bear

 He has been here earlier in the day and is not too hungry. He catches a few fish and takes a few bites then ambles up and down the creek. The fish swim madly out of his way.
Assessing damages later at the campground from the bad road to the glacier, we find the shoe hanger has broken, but next morning we find parts in Stewart and it is better than new.
On 8/17 we planned to get to Smithers. But events got in the way. We were on the Yellowknife Highway and had just passed Seeley Lake when there was a huge crash. We pulled over and find that we have joined the numerous ranks of people who lose tread on the highway. We creep up to a flat spot at North Boundary road. The tire was not flat, but by the time we read the manual to find the jack and tools, it has gone flat, complicating the job.
William jacking up the tire. You can see where the tread peeled off.
  I help as much as I can. Two girls Alissa and Cindy stop in separate vehicles to help. William gets the tire changed and Cindy who lives around the corner has a tire pump for the really low spare tire. We creep slowly into Hazelton, aware that our other tires are potential time bombs. Drat that bad road. Those tires only had 22K miles on them.
We find Mount N View tire shop. A tiny operation, but they assess the tires and sell us replacements for the rear tires, pump up the spare, replace it and rebalance the front tires which seem OK.
Pleasure Way at Mount N View tire shop
We are stopping in Hazelton overnight at K'san campground to recover from our trauma.
This is a First Nation campground. They were just finishing up a salmon BBQ. We went over after showering up and were served for free, since they were just finishing up. They said we must stay for the Cultural Days Celebration over the weekend. So we stay.
We begin the day at the Historical K'san Village. There is a museum, gift shop and replica long houses. These houses replicate their former winter homes. They escaped contact with the white man until 1870, so their culture was not so decimated as many. We go on the tour, that is very worthwhile. You can only take pictures outside.

Then on to the Cultural Celebration that takes place on a huge grassy field next to the campground. Lots of lovely costumes, heavy in this hot weather.

 William says it is not more than 80 degrees, but the sun is bright and we use the big umbrellas as sun shades. I run through the kids sprinkler at the side of the RV park office.
I always like to try different food, so I am thrilled to find a vendor selling herring eggs and seaweed on rice.

 William has a taste, but chooses a clam chowder from another vendor. Herring eggs are kind of crunchy, but I thought it was good. Not as strong as pickled herring I had in Munich. I liked that also.
A small drummer caught my eye. I thought he looked a bit like Ben.
littlest drummer
 They were having another Salmon BBQ. This time we paid for the BBQ. Good stuff.