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Canadian Road Trip

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Canadian Road Trip

Postby oldranger » Sun Oct 25, 2015 2:24 pm

It is amazing that Hobbes, Daisy, and I all vacationed in many of the same places with Hobbes leading the way, with Daisy a week later and Kathy and I starting out just as Daisy was completing her Canadian sojourn. Hobbes intro to the area is really nice.

Our trip first included stops in Boise and then Redfish Lake in Idaho. From all the smoke map projections it looked like these first few days would be smoke free.
They were!

The skies remained clear as we traveled along the Salmon River and up to the pass that led to Montana. Across the pass the smoke clouded the sky but before we arrived in Missoula the clouds above the smoke unleashed a rain that cleared the air. This was the storm that broke the back of the Washington, Idaho, and Montana Fires. All the Missoulans could talk about was how nice it was to be smoke free for the first time in weeks. This storm also initiated 11 straight days of rain and snow on our journey broken up by just a few sun breaks. Our first stop in Canada was at the border where the staff took about 10 minutes to determine a knife I had on board was legal. We finally parked our trailer in the Marble Canyon Campground. This campground was the highest campground in the park and we wanted to stay as high as possible to allow Kathy to acclimatize for an upcoming hike. The rain continued all night but we remained comfortable in our queen size bed--the best part of pulling a trailer is a consistent sleep setting. We did our best to avoid main thuroughfares on this trip so rather than taking Highway 1 to lake louise we took the Bow Valley Parkway. This route provided us with a bit of sunshine and views of the Bow River and glimpses of the Rockies.
02 Bow River.jpg
Bow River
The original plan for this trip was not to pull our new travel trailer--we didn't even order it before the trip was planned so the next night we stayed at a lodge reserved BT (before trailer) just a short walk from the gigantic Chateau Fairmont Lake Louise that was in one of Daisy's pics. Again the choice was to maximize our elevation prior to the adventure planned for the next 5 days. Just as Daisy we walked the n. shoreline, with the views somewhat blocked by storm clouds but sans smoke.
03lake louise.jpg
Lake Louise


The following day, Sept. 2, we parked trailer and vehicle at the TH parking area and waited for the van to shuttle 5 others and ourselves up to the Temple Lodge area of the Lake Louise Ski Area where we would begin our 7 mile hike into Skoki Lodge. As scheduled the van picked us up at 10 am. Of course when departing the van I was the last to start hiking. Kathy patiently waited for me. Within a 100 yards we passed the group of 4 other seniors. The 5th, a single lady, was not seen again until we arrived at the lodge. It was raining as we started and soon after passing the others kathy had to make an adjustment and I not so patiently waited for her. Soon the rain was mixed with snow then it was 100% snow, then the snow began to stick on the ground. When the snow was about 1/2" deep we arrived at a bridge with a steep approach made of 2x6s. We stepped on the boards and slipped down. Finally I was able to get to the flat part by edging up crack by crack between the boards and exerting a lot of force on my hiking poles. Kathy had a harder time given her soft flexible walking shoes and as soon as she got within reach I drug her up the last few feet. I think we both sat on our butts and slid down the other side. The ground was totally white by the time we got to the Halfway Hut which, in fact, is only 1/3 of the way to the lodge. Heading into the Hut for the opportunity to drink some water and eat a little in a dry environment we were greeted with 13 girl guides (sort of Canadian Girl Scouts) and their leader. While camped at a nearby lake the previous night their tents collapsed under the weight of the wet snow so they had retreated to the Hut with sleeping bags, food, and a cookstove, with plans to retrieve the tents later in the day and then spend the night in the Hut where overnight stays were not permitted. While at the Hut the other group of seniors passed us up as we were quite entertained by the girls and their predicament. Finally we trudged off into the snowstorm and began meeting the 8 people exiting the lodge to make room for the newcomers (one person scheduled to arrive did not make it to the check in point and never did arrive). After achieving Boulder Pass (named apparently for the truck size blocks of rock littering the saddle we skirted past Ptarmigan Lake always wary (as we had been the whole trip) of encountering mr or ms griz, and armed with our trusty 11 oz. canisters of bear spray. Sad to say we did not encounter such a beast on our entire trip, but I am not ashamed to admit that on our entire Canadian trip I cut many nitetime trips to the outhouse/bathroom short rather than venture too far into the dark where what known and unknown dangers lurked in the Canadian woods. I guess I was just marking my territory! I digress! Soon we passed the other group of seniors and a 500 ft climb brought us to the top of Deception Pass, with 3" of snow on the ground and the cloulds miraculously opening up revealing a jaw dropping view of snow, rock, and water that even photos are inadequate to describe.
04 Deception Pass.jpg
Deception Pass, backside of Lake Louise Ski Area smack dab in the middle of the pic
Part of the wonder of the view was the somber light of all the preceding day. Our lightened mood was not dimmed at all by the sloshing thru the muddy trail down to the lodge, made muddier by the pack train heading to the lodge to provide provisions for 23 guests and 4 staff members. It is really hard to make much time when scene after scene of winter wonderland greets you at every step.
05Skoki Lakes.jpg
Skoki Lakes
Though a cool 45 degrees when we arrived at the lodge the air was calm and guests were sitting on the porches sipping wine.
06Skoki Lodge.jpg
The Lodge as we approached


I soon joined them but instead found the lodge had a satisfactory Brown Ale for sale that I consumed with some of the goodies provided for afternoon "tea."
07Skoki Tea.jpg
Typical Spread for afternoon "tea"


The young woman that left us in the dust (mud?) was relaxing on a raised platform (there were 3 such places in the lodge about the size of single bed, the two by the front windows were prized locations for reading and sipping tea) reading when we arrived. Then I noticed she was not quite as young as I had first thought, but it turned out as Kathy and I got to know Deb, she was a youthful 62, much younger than us, yes, but not young.

The food at the Lodge was 4 star, and given the subsequent weather and the comfort of the lodge I'm sure Kathy and I gained weight during our stay.
08 Skoki Dinner.jpg
Dinner
During dinner that night Deb, Kathy, and I decided to hike up to Merlin Lake the next day after breakfast.

This hike began thru forest then across steep slopes of scree and talus and finally winding its way up thru a steep chute involving mounting 3 ft. high ledges. If I had taken Kathy on this route as an off trail hike she would have bitched mightily but since it was a trail she took it in stride. Go figure! Merlin lake was kind of a disappointment. it was one of several lakes I encountered this summer with subterranean outlets so it appeared much like a high altidude reservoir in California with a huge bathtub ring around it.
IMG_0865.jpg
Merlin Lake
The outlet stream emerged from the metamorphic rock dam over 100 ft. below the top.
IMG_0864.jpg
Wall of Jericho, Metamorphic Dam, Merlin Outlet Stream, Castileja Lake


As soon as we could see the lake snowflakes began to fall and the warmth of the lodge beckoned us. So about face, down the chimney and across the talus and scree. Even with a good trail this was a little nerve wracking as small rockfalls intermittently tumbled down from above. Probably why the vertical cliff above us was called Wall of Jericho. (which by the way I never connected til writing this. Fast study I am not!) Tea was laid out on our arrival and a warm tea actually was my beverage of choice! I found an old book in the library which was a compilation of a column written for the Banff news paper between the 60s and late 80s by a local writer. It was a great chronicle of the history of Banff/Lake Louise area and the loss of community that came with growth and development.

The next two days continued the "typical" Canadian summer--snow! Those Canadians sure have a queer concept of summer. There was no way I would have backpacked into the Canadian wilderness with all the weather that was predicted without the lodge as a destination. The hearty Canadians had no qualms about doing so and there was a constant stream of backpackers hiking past the lodge, some paying the $10 to access the public tea time and enjoy the warmth and dryness of the lodge before moving on to the campground a mile away. I will have to give some of them some credit for good sense both for the high quality rain gear and the and the frequent decision to cut their trip short. By the way the hike in is 2 miles longer and involves 1000 ft. more vertical for those not staying at the lodge.

Except for one short hike on day 3 the remainder of days 3 and 4 were pretty much snuggling up with a book and the lodge dog Lucy who loved lie beneath the window as you read your book and sip a warm tea.
IMG_0107.jpg
Mike Lucy Deb
bad pic but you get the idea
IMG_0107.jpg (308.58 KiB) Viewed 178 times
. On the 4th day, in dire need of some exercise, I helped split wood for an hour or so. As a result the staff gave me a beer (which they sold for $7 a can). While I often work for nothing lately I can't remember the last time I worked for $7/hr. (hmm as an afterthought probably as a ski patroller at Mt. Bachelor)

Starting out from the lodge the trail was 3" under the snow and sometimes under 3 inches of slush under 3" of snow. But it was, none the less, a beautiful hike out.
10Hike out.jpg
Skoki Lakes on the way out
. Again the sky opened up as we topped Deception Pass, this time only briefly before the intermittent snow, then rain fell on the remainder of our hike out.
11 Deception Pass.jpg
Another view from Deception Pass


We continued to meet real backpackers all the way out and the couple who was replacing us at the lodge. But those Canadians--truly hearty people hiking into the wilderness in a snowstorm knowing the weather was supposed to continue. Still amazed at that.

There is no way I can claim this was backpacking but being secure from griz at night, not having to set up camp, cook or wash dishes, and having access to cold beer was pretty sweet. Given the nasty weather the lodge made things even nicer by being inside and viewing the snowfall in warmth!

to be continued

Mike
Last edited by oldranger on Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!



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Re: Canadian Road Trip

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Sun Oct 25, 2015 3:49 pm

Wow! Great pictures and an engaging write up. With a place like that to stay, I actually might be able to coax my wife out into the wilds with me. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed it a lot. :D
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Re: Canadian Road Trip

Postby Cross Country » Sun Oct 25, 2015 5:49 pm

My wife Diane and I went on a trip to Canada in I think 2009. We went pretty far north in early July and crossed a bridge into the very most southern part of Alaska. In a campgroud in northern Canada we had a large campground to ourselves. That night I could see light from the sun on the horizan at 3AM. We enjoyed our camping trip and the best part was traveling on the Icefield Parkway. It's a series of Glaciers and I advise anyone going to Canada to visit there.
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Re: Canadian Road Trip

Postby oldranger » Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:25 pm

Fly Guy

Though the food was outstanding, the lodge and beds comfy, you could hear the person in the next room snoring, there were no showers, and the outhouses up the hill. Warm water and wash basins were supplied that could be carried up to your room for a sponge bath.

On the other hand if you have the clout of Prince William and Kate you can fly in a helicopter and before you arrive they will fly in a complete bathroom for your convenience! (it really happened!)

Mike
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Re: Canadian Road Trip

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Oct 25, 2015 8:17 pm

I envy you- I would rather have had snow than smoke! However, my husband, who drove the truck pulling the trailer, probably was quite happy with smoke vs. snow. The Canadian Rockies are particularly beautiful with a bit of snow on them.
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Re: Canadian Road Trip

Postby rlown » Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:25 pm

Nice report OR! what does something like that cost lodge-wise?
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Re: Canadian Road Trip

Postby oldranger » Mon Oct 26, 2015 7:49 am

Russ

You really don't want to know.

Mike
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Re: Canadian Road Trip, part 2

Postby oldranger » Fri Oct 30, 2015 11:06 am

Canadian road trip part 2

After completing our hike back to the trailhead the van arrived a few minutes later to shuttle us back to the TH parking area. After hooking up our trailer we drove down to the Lake Louise campground where we were assigned an rv spot with water and electricity for the next 2 nights. The campground had a large shower facility a short distance away. A novel idea for a national park campground. As soon as the trailer was set up we entered our tourist phase of the trip. We pretty much wrote off any extensive hikes due to the prediction of nasty weather for the next few days.
So we headed up to Moraine lake with the rest of our fellow tourons. Even late in the day in the middle of a rainy Labor Day weekend parking was at a premium. The lake, like many we saw was kind of jade green and the numbered peaks to the south of the lake were swathed in clouds. A couple pics, a brief walk and we returned to camp and a home cooked dinner.
12 Moraine Lake.jpg
Moraine Lake


On Monday of Labor Day we would drive into Yoho National Park to first view Takakkaw Falls and then Emerald Lake.
13Falls.jpg
Takakkaw Falls
14 falls and tourists.jpg
Takakkaw Falls and Tour Group
Having read Hobbes report I would have loved to hike up to the Burgess Shale area but the weather was too nasty for these two old wimps.
15 Emerald Lake.jpg
Emerald Lake
Taking pics and short walks at each we headed back to Banff National park and drove up the Icefield Parkway as far as Peyto Lake overlook where we hiked to the developed overlook crowded with tourists then hiked a little further to the undeveloped overlook with just few hardy tourists and none of the tour bus clientele.
16Peyto Lake.jpg
Peyto Lake
On return we stopped at Bow lake and Num-Ti-Jah Lodge an historic old lodge with a really interesting history of development.
17 Bow Lake.jpg
Bow Lake
We were also able to view several glaciers along this route.

The following day our trip completed the Icefield Parkway and as with most of the trip to this point the peaks remained shrouded in swirling clouds. The visitor center at the Athabaska Glacier was thronged with tourists drawn by the opportunity to ride a bus to and then on to the Glacier where they would be afforded the opportunity for a brief walk on the glacier.
18 Athabaska Glacier.jpg
Athabaska Glacier
Actually the visitor center most resembled a crowded train station or airline terminal. Not our cup of tea! On we went to Jasper interrupting our trip to visit Athabaska falls.
19Athabaska falls.jpg
Athabaska Falls
As we neared our destination we noticed a ring of people photographing a herd of resting elk at very close range despite warnings posted every where to stay clear as the bull elk were in rut and very aggressive. All of the campsites with hookups were taken so we were forced to camp with no electricty! But since our refrigerator ran on gas our beer would stay cold and we could bring to the trailer some Haagan-daz from the store and keep it in the freezer. That evening we had the first real sunbreak in days. We were able stay for 3 days without completely discharging the battery that provided power to the waterpump, lights, and igniters for the refrigerator. Alas we had to forgo microwave popcorn!
20 view from campsite in Jasper.jpg
View from Campsite


On our first “layover” day. we headed East to visit the Miette Hot Springs. A developed hot springs--hot swimming pool operated by Parks Canada. The scenery enroute was better than the destination but that just epitimized the saying, “its the journey, not the destinagrtion.
21 HalfDome like rock.jpg
Roche Ronde, similar to Half Dome
22Limestone seabottom.jpg
Limestone Sea bottom turned on edge
On return we dined at the local brewery/brewpub for dinner. Neither the beer nor the cuisine was remarkable--not bad just not good enough to return. After dinner we drove up to Diamond Lake where we viewed the lake and Diamond Mountain and took a short walk before returning to our mobile abode.
23Diamond Peak and Lake.jpg
Diamond Peak, Diamond Lake


To be continued

Mike
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Re: Canadian Road Trip, conclusion

Postby oldranger » Wed Nov 04, 2015 9:10 am

We awoke the next morning with a cow elk just out the door of our trailer.
24 Elk in Camp.jpg
First view in the morning
Later after we had not seen any elk for quite awhile I ventured out toward the restroom. As I neared the restroom I found a ranger brandishing a hockystick with a bunch of flagging attached. He was part of team of 4 elk herders trying to haze the bull elk and his harem out of the campground.
25 Elk Herder.jpg
Elk Herding Ranger


Our next destination was Malingne Lake. Enroute we passed the empty bathtub named Medicine Lake which in September resembles nothing more than a completely drained reservoir with a river in its old channel. I noted several anglers fly casting at about the midway point of the lake in the channel of the Malingne River. Malingne Lake is a long lake nestled between ranges of glacier draped mountains. Earlier this year when cruising the internet looking for Canadian adventures canoeing Malingne Lake to Spirit Island and beyond appeared as one of the top choices I filed away for future use. With limited time we opted for the motorized commercial boat tour which is the only permitted power boating on the lake other than the ranger’s power boat. (actually there is another exception, electric motors are permitted and are used by angler to troll in the lower part of the lake.
26 Maligne Lake.jpg
Maligne Lake
27 Upper Maligne Lake.jpg
Upper End of Maligne Lake


After completing our tour we headed down to the Maligne river canyon. Not quite as wise as Daisy and her husband we began our trip at Bridge 6 which added 2 miles to our round trip but little scenic value other than passing one spring 1/4 mile below Bridge 5.
28 Maligne Canyon.jpg
Maligne Canyon
You should note that Daisy and I both chose to post similar pics of the same spring dripping into the river.
29 Maligne Canyon.jpg
The Spring
Due to the late start of our trip all the way up to Bridge 1 we did not return to the car until dusk.

A moving day but not too far found us crossing into B.C. and Robson Provincial Park. The view from the visitor’s center was outstanding.
31 Mt. Robson.jpg
Mt Robson
We found a campsite then drove to the TH to Kinney and Berg Lakes. Most of the trail to Kinney is an old road. Kinney is the typical glacier silt colored lake and quite shallow. We hiked almost to the far end where there is a large cooking shelter and campground and lots of backpackers going to or from Berg lake taking a break.
32 Kinney Lake.jpg
Kinney Lake


Kamloops and a visit with an uncle was our next destination with a brief detour up the Clearwater River area to view some waterfalls.
HelmckenFalls.jpg
Helmcken Falls
34 Falls .jpg
Spahat Falls


After a night and a full day in Kamloops we headed home as directly as possible over new routes until near Chelan, Washington where we then followed our time tested route home to Bend with an overnight stop near Ellensburg and avoiding interstates as much as possible by following the Yakima River road between Ellensburg and Yakima, returning home after one night short of 3 weeks on the road.

Th, th, thats all folks!

Mike
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Re: Canadian Road Trip

Postby maverick » Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:04 pm

Beautiful TR Mike, was waiting to see Maligne Lake, cool elk shot too, and Robson is commanding ones attention.
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