Leaving for Alaska/British Columbia/Banff/Jasper-Hinton
June 5th – July 15th- Spokane, Washington
For a month and a half, we have been sitting near Cheney Washington in a cute little campground resort called Clear Lake Resort, specifically for military affiliates. We have spent much of the time consolidating our PODS from two down to one.
Mark and I discussed how much longer we would be doing this, and due to all the setbacks, we had from Covid, we agreed we would continue this adventure for two more years. We have not seen the entire country, nor have we explored all that we want to. So, it just made sense to sell some of our belongings, get the inventory more manageable and save us a little money.
Being home in Washington has been a treat. The weather has finally warmed up, and the humidity is low, green grass, beautiful lakes, and rivers. Need I say more? It's great to be back and soak in the PNW.
Besides moving our "stuff" from two PODS to one, we have been on the count down for our Alaska trip. This trip has been canceled twice due to the old COVID! Mark and I have been taking advantage of resting, relaxing, and not doing anything. Once the trip starts, we will be on the road non-stop. We will also be going with about 25 other couples. So the trip will be as a group.
However, while in Spokane, we visited Riverfront Park, walked around, and snapped a few pictures. We also visited Manitou Park, what a picturesque place to hang out. Another day we decided to drive to Chewelah, WA; it's about an hour north of Spokane. Small town feel with a cute river/creek running through it, and there was a Farmer's Market the day we were there.
We spent the 4th of July with Addie and Jon; they came over and rented an Airbnb, and we just hung out. Of course, it's always lovely to spend time with family. We ate some of Mark's great ribs, watched TV, and listened to it rain.
Liberty Lake - Liberty Lake Campground
Our departure to Alaska started in Liberty Lake, where we met up with 25 other rigs, which equated to about 47 other people. So on July 20th, we all pulled out of Spokane, headed North through Idaho, and landed our first night in Fairmont Hot Springs, BC. WOWZA, that's all I can say!
Getting through the border (Eastport Kingsgate) was uneventful. When we pulled up, the wait was just a few minutes. Border Patrol pulled up our info in our Arrive Canada APP, he asked a few questions, and we were on our way. I guess that's what happens when you come prepared.
If you are thinking about traveling to Canada, click here for more info (Click Here)
Fairmont Hot Springs - Fairmont Hot Springs Resort ( July 20 – 21)
We pulled into the campground (Fairmont Hot Springs Resort) around 4:30 pm and hooked everything up. At this campsite, we did have full hookups (water, electricity, sewer.)
I was just taken back by the beauty. We didn't do any hikes, but we did walk around the vast campground. They have huge hot springs, swimming pool, clubhouse, and exercise room. After two nights, we got up bright and early and headed to Banff, Alberta. The drive was only 2 hours, which will be much nicer than some of our longer days coming up in the future.
Banff Tunnel Mountain Village II in Banff National Park (July 22 – 24)
We drove through two National Parks to get here. The first one was Kootenay National Park, and then once we crossed into Alberta, we were then in Banff National Park. The drive was beautiful, serene, and uneventful. Traffic is nothing like it is in the states from the perspective of dealing with semi’s. When we pulled in, they parked us in a parallel parking spot which was perfect for us. All we have for hookups is electricity, no water or sewer. BOO!!
The campground we stayed in. while Banff was called Banff Mountain Village II, located inside Banff National Park. There are many sections to this park, and one section has full hookups (Banff Mountain Trailer Court). Unfortunately, we were not in that section and only had electricity.
On 7/23, we boarded a Canadian Rockies Private Motorcoach and did an all-day tour. Here are some of the sites we visited and explored.
Johnston Canyon – This is in Banff National Park. Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular destinations in Banff National Park, and for a good reason; it is a place of dramatic natural beauty accessible to most. It is particularly popular during the summer and at certain times of the winter.
While we were there, Mark and I hiked to the lower falls. It was an easy hike. It was about a 1-mile round trip (it was a speed hike as we had about 20 min total at this stop before moving on) .
Lake Louise - Lake Louise is a hamlet in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, known for its turquoise, glacier-fed lake ringed by high peaks and overlooked by a stately chateau. Hiking trails wind up to the Lake Agnes Tea House for bird's-eye views. There's a canoe dock in summer and a skating rink on the frozen lake in winter. The Lake Louise Ski Resort features a wildlife interpretive center at the top of a gondola.
Standing there viewing the lake was like watching a movie. The blue water is from the minerals that come off the glaciers, and it stays suspended in the water, causing the beautiful blue hue that almost looks fake when looking at the water.
This lake is a must-visit and should be at the top of your list.
Spiral Tunnels – This was a quick stop for us, it was interesting to see how they built train tracks/tunnels into the side of the mountains to allow easy maneuvering in the steep terrain of the Rocky Mountains.
This is a great stop but not much to see if the train is not running.
Takakkaw Falls – These falls are in the Yoho National Park. To get to these falls in a huge tourist bus was quite entertaining. Because of the steep switchbacks, the driver at one point had to back up the hill, allowing him to position himself to make the next turn by just pulling forward. Our driver had been driving this steep incline since 1997 and was an absolute professional when it came to maneuvering this giant bus.
When we reached the top, we could walk about a ¼ mile in to see the falls. The falls total 373 meters, making them the second tallest waterfall in Canada. The main drop of the waterfall has a height of 254 meters.
The view was magnificent, and Mark and I took some fantastic pictures.
I give this place a 5/5 and "must see." You cannot go wrong by adding this to your list.
Emerald Lake – This lake is in Yoho National Park, British Columbia. (We did cover some territory on this day, but everything we saw was well worth it.)
Emerald Lake was beautiful, remarkably similar to Lake Louise. The lake had a blue hue; there were canoes out there, but I observed that there were no motorized boats. Mark seems to think it could be because they cause pollution, but I do know they are forbidden. I believe that makes these two lakes so serene; it's not noisy and loud. You stand back and watch the canoes and kayaks paddling around.
I give this a 5/5, and it should be added to your list of "must-sees."
Natural Bridge – This was the last destination that we visited; it was a short visit but also well worth it. This bridge is also located in the Yoho National Park.
The bridge has been sculpted by the erosive forces of rushing water over what had once been a waterfall; the Natural Bridge is a powerful reminder of how much water has in shaping the landscape. We walked around, snapped pictures, and enjoyed our time there.
Jasper/Hinton Alberta – Jasper Hinton KOA
We woke up bright and early on Monday morning and headed out. This leg of the trip was to Jasper, Alberta. On our way there, we were planning on visiting the Ice Fields. These ice fields are located in the Jasper National Park. We arrived early, as we had an 11:00 am tour scheduled. When we arrived, we discovered that one of the guides had passed away unexpectedly and they were not doing tours that day.
That was very unfortunate, so we stayed at the ice fields, drank some Starbucks, and chatted with the other campers in our group. Viewing the ice fields from afar was very relaxing.
We loaded up at about 11:30 am, headed out, and stopped at AthabascaFalls. The waterfall is 23m high and 18m wide. This is a popular tourist attraction and crowded during the summer months. When we pulled in, finding a place to park was hard, so after viewing the falls, we decided to have lunch.
We arrived at our Campground Hinton/Jasper KOA around 3:00 pm. We set up camp and decided to have dinner in the small town of Hinton. We chose Canadian Steakout Grill and Lounge. It doesn't look like much outside, but the food was fabulous.
The next day we woke up, drove back to Jasper National Park, and did the Jasper Sky Tram. It was so much fun. We boarded the tram at 11:00 am and rode it to the top. Once we arrived, we took a hike to the Summit (Whistlers Summit.) Mark checked his phone and found that the elevation was 9,360 ft. We did it!!! Once we were at the top, we just took in all the views, snapped pictures, and then had lunch in their restaurant at the top of the tram station. On the way back, we saw some big horn sheep lying on the side of the road, sunning themselves. It was so cool to see.
Overall, we had a wonderful day!
When we started this trip, I had no expectations of how it would all play out. So far, I have been pleasantly surprised by everything. They have kept us very busy; we have seen a ton and met some wonderful people along the way.
Travel Tip #1 for traveling in this direction:
Bring bug spray (mosquito!) You will need it. Also, if you can find it, bring mosquito netting for your head and/or body! That helps a lot, you can find it in any sporting goods store.
Travel Tip #2 for traveling through Canada:
Download a metric conversion app on your phone. You will need it and it will come in handy very often.
On Wednesday, July 27th, we woke up early and were on the road with an 8-hour day ahead of us!
So far, we are having a blast, we are seeing so much and are so glad we chose to take the trip to Alaska!