Oh Canada, Your National Parks are Glorious!

Take a drive along the Trans-Canada Highway and you come to not one but two national parks. The first is Baniff which is a city actually within the park. Click here for info on Baniff.

We were lucky enough to find a campsite at the Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court (gotta love the name) where we stayed for two nights.

The iconic site in Alberta and the Baniff area is Lake Louise. Not only iconic but BUSY! We circled the parking area before scoring a great parking spot (thinks to my golden ticket).

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From our campsite in Baniff we drove up to the Columbia Glacier Fields. This was the most beautiful drive our our entire trip…to date. Mountains, lakes, rivers, glaciers, waterfalls plus the roads were great, had guard rails and many pull offs (unlike the Going to the Sun Road at Glacier which I refer to as the Driving to Your Death Road). We drove perhaps 2/3 of the way to Jasper before heading back to Baniff.

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Here is Seymour as we were leaving the Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court….mountains all around us.

Lastly, Alberta is certainly diversified geographically speaking. From mountains, glaciers, foothills, hay fields and some glorious bright yellow fields. These yellow fields are acres and acres of mustard!

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We are now back in the US. Canada Day is tomorrow, July 1st and there are no campsites available anywhere! We have started to head east and will be traveling on US 2 for a while at least….yes….that US2!

 

Glacier National Park

The sun that we had been enjoying disappeared when we got up to Glacier National Park. Gray skies, wind and rain were the order for the day. We drove out to Many Glaciers area and did see our first bear of the trip. 


Saturday we drove the Going to the Sun Road from our campground in the east and went west. Currently, we are in a restaurant in West Glacier having lunch and waiting for the sky to hopefully clear for better vistas on the drive back over. (Note- the skies never cleared Saturday) . Sunday we revisited the Going to the Sun Road. The skies were blue and the scenery beautiful….if you like edges! 

This road is very narrow, no guard rails and extremely curvey…..in fact we had to take off out trailer mirrors and fold in the rear view mirrors so as not to scrape the sides of the mountain as we passed.  Not my cup of tea…. Gets me longing for the flatlands of Kansas! 

Saturday evening we saw three bear, two we being watched closely by park rangers with rifles as they were in the near vicinity of a campground. The other best was just minding his own business in a nearby field. 

On Sunday’s trip on the Going to the Sun Road we saw our first big horned sheep resting on the side of a mountain.

Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Sacagawea and Us

This morning we left Bozeman and headed to Great Falls following the Missouri River most of the way.

According to Wikipedia -Great Falls takes its name from the series of five waterfalls in close proximity along the upper Missouri Riverbasin that the Lewis and Clark Expedition had to portage around over a ten-mile stretch; the effort required 31 days of arduous labor during the westward leg of their 1805-06 exploration of the Louisiana Purchase and to thePacific Northwest Coast of the Oregon Country.

We visited the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center and got a better idea of the trials and tribulations the expedition went through.

Weather continues to be beautiful…sunny and in the 80’s.

Not sure where our expedition will lead tomorrow….stay tuned.

 

Mountains, lakes, reflections, oh my!

We just spent the last day in Grand Teton National Park. From snowcapped mountains to beautiful lakes, this place is gorgeous.


To my mind, Grand Teton has a more resort feel to it than Yellowstone. More people hiking, mountain climbing and boating than Yellowstone.  We did drive into Jackson for lunch and it definitely has an upscale vibe to it.

We boondocked ( no hookups) at Colton Bay Campground which was nestled along the water. This was a pretty large campground with warnings all over about bears. Warning were also at Yellowstone but seemed like a much bigger deal here. Every site had a bear box and we were advised to leave absolutely NOTHING outside either the trailer, truck or bear box….not even a water bottle. Now, I get this, but what about all the campers there in tents! If it smells, lock it up….does that mean tenter don’t smell???  Oh well.


Tonight we are in Bozeman, Montana catching up on some laundry, grocery shopping and INTERNET!! Our Glacier National Park reservations don’t start until Friday so we will just explore Montana until we need to be there.

I will have to do some thinking about any additional food, supplies etc. since the 3 days there are off the grid…no power, water etc. except what we supply our selves. The fridge works off both propane and electricity so that is not a worry. We also have along a generator in case we need to recharge the trailer batteries

The Big Kahuna, The Master of the Universe, THE KING OF THE ROAD

I am writing the Monday morning June,20, our final morning in Yellowstone. Just yesterday Carl asked me what I would remember most about this park… the stunning scenery or the miserable virus we both have…… At the time my answer was… the virus!

Upon further reflection my answer has changed. The scenery is indeed breath taking ( by the way, so is the virus). Snow topped mountains, magnificent lakes, the greenest valleys I have ever seen, and so much more. But it is the bison who rule this park. There are thousands of them. In the forests, on the mountainsides, in the valleys and on the roads! They determine the flow of the park. A bison will stand his ground in the middle of road for as long as it takes…. He is the master of all.

The first time seeing these beasts roaming freely is amazing, first time in a traffic hold up, funny… but after seeing them do there thing day in and day out you begin to realize that they know the power they have and they use it well.

During our time here we have driven many mile just taking in the fabulous beauty but also looking for wildlife. So far we have seen

  • Bison
  • Elk
  • Eagles (both bald and golden)
  • Ground squirrels
  • Fox
  • Geese…millions and millions of them
  • Wolves
  • Ravens

Another memory of the park will be there smell yes, the smell…..the lovely smell of sulfur. The area is a bubbling caldron of hot springs, geysers, stream vents and mud pots and give off an aroma of sulfur. This is so different than the land we normally encounter. If these,I must say my favorites are the mud pots. They are a hole in the ground making glurping noises and spitting out dollops of oozing mud!


We hit many of the park highlighted locations during our driving around. They include:

  • Mammoth Hot Spring
  • Tower Fall
  • Lamar Valley
  • Norris Geyser Basin
  • Canyon area
  • Midway Geyser Basin
  • Old Faithful
  • Grant Village
  • West Thumb Geyser Basin
  • Lake Village
  • Madison
  • Fishing Bridge

Hat’s off to you Yellowstone! You so deserve to be America’s 1st National Park….Happy 100th!

Bison


We are being entertained daily by the herds of bison at Yellowstone. We have been in traffic jams, watched idiots out among the herds, and just sat and watched. I know Carl got some great shots!  We just witnessed a stand off between at a truck and a buffalo….. I’ll bet it lasted 10 minutes at least with traffic held up in both directions.

My cell service here is very limited… Just happen to have some service here at an overlook looking for wildlife. The weather has been great. 

I will upload more pictures when internet permits. 

We have driven all over the park. Saw Old Faithful  erupt, visited the sulfur pots,waterfalls, the canyons and the valleys. Beautiful spot!

We are leaving Yellowstone tomorrow and heading for the Tetons.

Stay tuned…. .​

Yippee ki-yay

Howdy folks ,we are here in Cody, Wyoming, named after Buffalo Bill Cody, of course.

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I took the afternoon to try to recuperate from a nasty virus that hit me a few days ago while Carl ventured out to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. After a nap I was able to get on line long enough to do a bit of research on what I was missing. 😦

Sounds to my like Buffalo Bill was a quite the dude.

He started working at age 11. He became a rider for the pony express, fought for the Union in the Civil War and later was a civilian scout for the Army.

Looks like the ole show biz bug bit him in the 1980’s and he went on to found Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show that he toured across the country and later Europe.

Oh yea, and that nickname Buffalo Bill??? Well Cody is purported to have killed 4,282  buffalo in eighteen months when serving as supplier Kansas Pacific Railroad.

Tomorrow our reservations start in Yellowstone. We are only about 80 miles away so hopefully the move there will be effortless.

The only reservations we have are for Yellowstone (3 nights) and Glacier (3 night). The other places we have stayed have not been reserved in advance. Yesterday, as we were getting closer to Cody I decided to call a park or two to see if there were any openings. Cody is a popular place to stay so I was just trying to ensure a spot. At first the line was busy. This went on for maybe 10 minutes and then……bingo it rang and was answered. I asked about availability, she asked the appropriate questions such as length of trailer etc and then said to hang on and she would take down the registration information. Well, that is when things got interesting……she must have forgotten that someone was on the line and went on to register a number of campers, answer some area info questions, chit chat with coworkers, all the while I am on the other end of the line…..listening. I decided was not  going to hang up, 5 minutes passed, 10, 20, 30……finally I walked into the camp office with the phone to my ear and asked if someone could help me. One of the women said, she was waiting for me to get off the phone then I had the pleasure of telling her about her last 38 minutes!  Fortunately there were still spaces available and all was good.

 

 

Devil’s in the details