Friday, June 30, 2017

Canada's Mount Revelstoke National Park

     Mount Revelstoke National Park has a lot to boast about -- glaciers, a rain forest, and an alpine meadow to name a few. 

I was there at 8 AM, opening time for their 16 mile "Meadows in the Sky Parkway".

But the last six or so miles of the parkway were closed so I couldn't see the wildflowers in the alpine meadow at the top . . . but these roadside flowers were a good substitute.

Everyone had to park and walk there.

Wasn't in the mood to join another crowd so I contented myself with the "Inspiration Woods Trail" because I needed a lot of inspiration.

Very enjoyable 1.5 mile trail. There were only two "runners" on the trail and one family. 

I could hear trickling water during the entire walk.

Here's a 2-minute slideshow.

PS: I'm venturing off Highway One this afternoon!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Escape from Canada's Highway One

     I was not a happy camper on Canada's Highway One. There were tidbits of excitement along the way. This is the "Natural Bridge".  See how the river carves its way through the small opening? That's the "bridge" carved by Kicking Horse River. Takes a bit of imagination, don't you think?

Tour busses and motorhomes were congesting the small parking lot so I didn't hang around very long.

     Where I could, I'd pull off the highway to admire the scenery (and re-collect my inner peace).

     I always dreaded getting back on Highway One. Too much traffic. Not so bad in these photos; it was about 8 PM and traffic was thinning out. The days are long in the northern hemisphere. Doesn't get dark until about 10 PM.

     A road sign said "Hemlock Grove Boardwalk" just a short distance ahead. So I pulled in under a canopy of large trees and surprisingly, Highway One almost disappeared. Lower center of photo below shows tunnel-like entrance/exit to Highway One.

I was the only one in the parking lot. Peace at last!

Isn't this entrance to the Hemlock Grove Boardwalk a great invitation to explore a forest?

I loved this place.

Many happy ferns (and one happy pedestrian).

Twas a soulful experience.

Couldn't see or hear Highway One at all.

I lingered here awhile.

     Back on the dreaded Highway One, not too far from the Hemlock Grove, I saw a road sign "Giant Cedars Boardwalk" next right turn.

Doesn't this also look like an entrance to a fantastical forest?

     The reason for the boardwalk is because this forest thrives on spring-fed soggy soil. There's a constant sound of trickling water.

Whoever designed this boardwalk is an artist.

And whoever built this boardwalk loves challenges.

I can appreciate the skills and tools the builder used to shape the boardwalk to the trees.

Huge giants!

Another giant (but not a cedar).

See this couple? She's reading the info board.

     We crossed paths and began an instant like for each other. There are just some rare chance meetings like this which blossom into great conversations and rapport. They saw my "Texas van" in the parking lot. She asked me lots of questions and when I confessed I hadn't a clue where I was going next, they came up with a travel agenda for me! She said, "You'll like these little towns with earthy people." He said there were several ferries on this route. Sold!

     And so at their advice, I spent the night at Revelstoke which is a cute little town near snowy Mount Revelstoke. The town is somewhat touristy due to nearby Mount Revelstoke National Park. But it's the quintessential village at the base of large snow-peaked mountains.

That green area lower center (above) is the town's ball fields.

And this is the Columbia River Park, a short walk from their recreation center.

The next morning was overcast but it blew away.

     I swam an hour in the recreation center's heated indoor pool (with my snorkel) and spent much-needed time relaxing in their Jacuzzi. And fortunately, the library and WiFi are inside the same building as the recreation center.

     Today I will visit Mount Revelstoke National Park. But tomorrow, thanks to the wonderful Canadian couple I met at the Giant Cedars, I've got a travel plan far away off-Highway-One! I'm once again a happy camper :)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Lake of the Little Fishes AKA Lake Louise

     After leaving Radium Hot Springs, I found myself on the Kootenay Highway. It's a scenic highway that runs through Canada's Kootenay National Park.     

I stopped frequently to admire the scenery.

I had the good fortune of obtaining a free pass to Canada's national parks and highways within.

Spectacular scenery everywhere!

     See the dark clouds? I stopped at this rest stop to wait out a brief rain storm. That's a 1966 Airstream (photo below is for Chef Renauld who refurbishes Airstreams); a friendly couple from Washington State own it.

Enjoyed the dramatic storm!

     Like a butterfly with no flight plan, I found myself at a crossroad (click here for map of decision point); either go west or go east. Decided to "Go West!" on Highway 1 to Lake Louise rather than east to Banff. Highway 1 however is the main east-west highway through mountainous terrain for not just tourists, but truckers, commuters, locals, businesses, employees, everyone! Traffic was horrendous, fast, and impatient (one trucker blared at me for quite awhile). I was more than happy to get off that highway. And lucky enough to spend the night at an "overflow" area adjacent to Highway 1.

     The next morning I got an early start fortunately, to find one of the last parking spots at Lake Louise.  The iconic Lake Louise of Canada was first named "Lake of the Little Fishes" by the Nakoda who were indigenous people of Western Canada and Montana. Lake Louise is a popular lake.

People get married here.

I'm not sure what the fuss is all about. It's not a large lake.

It is however "pretty blue" but there are other lakes nearby that are just as pretty, such as this one.

I did a "pre-brunch walk" to the Lake Louise Overlook. Those are canoes in the lake.

The trail police didn't kick me out for wearing leggings with a hole.

After brunch, I began the trail to Lake Agnes. It's alittle over two miles (four round trip). Fortunately the crowd thinned out.

The lakefront trail is more popular (and shorter) than the Lake Agnes Trail.

     I was very impressed by the number of young mothers with infants on the trail. They were hiking four miles carrying an infant! There are three young mothers in poor photo below; the one in the middle has her infant in a pouch worn in front. I saw probably 15 young mothers with infants.

     It's hard to photo bright sun and dark shade, but the trail was pleasant, well-marked and wide (photo below). Besides being impressed by the number of mothers with infants, I was also impressed by the various nationalities of people and the number of languages I heard. 

     The elevation gain of the trail is almost 1,300 feet.  

Near the end of the trail is Mirror Lake.

Near the very end of the trail is a stairway.

And this is Lake Agnes.

Oops, that's the tea house (they sell beverages) at the shoreline of Lake Agnes. The folks on the balcony are looking at this view . . . .

     It's a beautiful lake, but there are many equally beautiful lakes which aren't crowded with tourists. I return to La Lair in the crowded parking lot and ponder my next move. More of the horrendous Highway 1 (450 more miles to near Seattle) and more crowded Canadian national parks along this route which I'm beginning to detest? Stay tuned for an unexpected solution to my dilemma.