June 6~Wednesday~cloudy and rainy, but not our spirits. Started out at 8am with Stan, Blooie and Emmie Mae following with their pickup pulling their tin tent, a modified cargo trailer that looks really really cozy inside. By 9:40am we were across the border at Roosevelt without any problem. Traveled by way of Cranbrook...a short detour...to Radium Hot Springs (diesel only 3 cents/gal higher than last year!) on Hwy 93 thru Kootenay National Park ($17.80 Canadian for 24 hour fee) to Castle Jct. in Alberta...about 1 1/2 hours from Radium...and on up the Icefields Parkway. Even with clouds and sprinkles it's has awesome sights! One of my favorite places is the weeping wall where many waterfalls plunge over the edge in spring. In winter it's an ice climbing experience...for someone other than me! We stayed the night at Whistlers Campground, just south of Jasper, dry camping ($25.75) since all hook-ups were taken~so will reserve next time...IF more organized. Didn't see any elk calves~moms we saw probably had them hidden, lounging right between campsites. 435 miles from Whitefish
June 7~Thursday~sunny. Before leaving I called for reservations (1-250-776-7000) at Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park (PP for short) for the 8th and 9th. All camping sites are beautiful, but did ask for specific ones, known from previous years. This PP fills up very fast, so, if no reservations, we would have had to make an appearance by 11am to secure a spot. Took Yellowhead Hwy 16 from Jasper east***yup, still going north to AK***to Hinton, AB to fill with fuel, seeing a wolf trying to find an elk calf and the cow doing decoy duty with positive results for the calf, a loon with babies on her back, and a herd of elk bedded down. From Hinton, we backtrack a few miles to Hwy 40~the Bighorn Route~to Grande Cashe and Grande Prairie, the shortest route to the AK Hwy from Montana. Saw a grizzly sow and her yearling cub~but no picture since it would have been a BEHIND shot, but Blooie did get one, just hoping it turns out as they were close to the dark trees. Called The Shepherd's Inn (closed Sundays) for reservations for tonight, another 158 miles (3 hrs) up the road. Time change at BC border. Dawson Creek~'Mile 0' of the Alaska Highway...pictures taken, then filled with fuel and we are off to our resting place tonight...$21.50 with hook-ups. For dry camping the washroom and shower in room 21 are available...but told Stan and Blooie they could come in our camper whenEVer...and Blooie did ...at 2:30am altho we heard no noise. The weather had been rainy/cloudy/sunny and the sunset at 10:30pm was golden~the 3:30am sunrise red and beautiful! 850 miles from Whitefish.
June 8~Friday~sunny. Left for Liard (LEE-ard) Hot Springs PP about 7:30. Trees...trees...and more trees~expansive spaces. We are so small compared to our awesome earth and universe, but, just think, how significant we are to our Father in heaven, who even knows the number of hairs on our head! Fort Nelson...1062 miles from Whitefish...is the next fuel stop before again following the road northbound. Coming up, after some 10% grades, is Steamboat Mountain... our next picture-taking stop...after seeing a black bear beside the road, but...no picture of his fast moving black...BUTT. This mountain's summit is 3500 feet with views of the Muskwa River Valley and Rocky Mountains...such spectacular country, just going for miles and miles with all the ranges a bluish tint and getting fainter and fainter. The eastern turnout is much better than the one at the top which is overgrown in places. Indian Head Monument comes up in about 4 miles after leaving the top of Steamboat. The road from Testa River RV Campground***really good cinnamon rolls I've heard***is narrow and somewhat windy for most of the way to Liard Hot Springs. It's rocky country with Stone Mountain PP and Muncho Lake PP (provincial parks are made up of many acres with numerous campgrounds in each...like Yellowstone and Glacier), home to stone sheep (took picture...guess which end) and caribou (oops...thinking they're headed away, too!) Muncho Lake is very beautiful with blue-green water, mountains surrounding...awesome! FINALLY...Liard Hot Spring PP...with reservations and so glad because the campground is FULL...$17/night, $5/bundle of wood...so clean! They even rake the sites when you leave! And the pool! There is a short board walk to the pools with over 250 different boreal plants...and sometimes bear and moose. The alpha pool is very clean
with temps from 108-126F. Mornings we stay for over an hour...afternoons, if the sun is out, not so long, or we go to the farthest end where the water is a bit cooler. This pool is about 2-4 feet deep, but the Beta pool, a 5 minute more walk is much deeper and cooler so provides a swimming hole...altho mostly murky and muddy~both have changing rooms and close to
the first pool is a washroom.
June 9~Saturday~sunny. Found Stan's coffee mug in our camper with a loonie on top...hinting for coffee in bed, I'm sure...and it was delivered to him with a smile. Jack and I bought a Coleman coffee pot, designed to sit on an open flame...works just like a regular one...around $38, give or take, depending on where it's bought. We bought ours...on E-BAY...who da thunk they would have both land AND a coffee pot for sale!
Just lounging today...e-mailing by pocketmail, a handy-dandy little device. Go to pocketmail.com if interested. It's hand-held...$100 with service for a year at about $180, unlimited e-mails, sending and receiving...works with a phone. A very good way to keep in contact with relatives and friends while traveling.
Saw a mama moose with twins on the edge of the trees and marsh along the boardwalk this morning...took many photos...and didn't even once get her backside!
We meet a lot of people from different places while soaking...Conneticut, Minnesota, Idaho, BC...mostly all going to AK and just so excited about what they've seen...the vastness...the hot springs...the animals~and wondering how the road ahead is...and what will the fuel prices be?
We are suprised about the amount of people traveling this year~because of fuel prices and the tourist season just beginning.