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Friday, June 28, 2019

A Day of Reality and Rest: The Estate Takes on Alaska

Copyright 2019, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

June 25, 2019

Sleep in. Late!  It’s 10 and I am just brewing my coffee. Oh. And it certainly helps if you actually turn the pot ON!

Observation. I don’t believe I have ever seen so many muddy vehicles. They know how to do it correctly here, not dirty, full on deep muddy. 

And we are not in Alaska yet!   Whhooee. 

Plan for the day - - reality chores.  There is a Costco here!  Just saying!  LOL

Had a late breakfast. Laid around, researched and read. 

Late, late lunch.  Quick stop at Michaels Craft.  Fuel at Costco. Quick hit of supplies at Costco, Ford Dealer (oil) and Walleyworld.  

Back to do laundry. Took almost 3 hours. Sigh. 

This is how we dry some of the t-shirts (they were almost dry anyway).  The rest of the shirts were hanging in the shower on a heavy duty spring rod we installed this spring.  Nothing fancy or pretty bout this set up, but, it worked. Living in 100 square feet presents odd challenges.  LOL

Barely got The Estate back in our campsite - - 

And - - 

It started. Raining. Again. We may have had rain every day since we left home, if not. It feels as if it has. May need to change the name of this tour to The Estate takes rain to Alaska.  

We did 80% of our “to do list” today. The rest will wait till morning. It is 9:20. I’m done for today. 

Ohhh. And we are officially Alaska RVers. Have our first stone chip. Not one bit surprised after our drive on 40 yesterday. 


Route 40, The Good Stuff and the Dirt: The Estate Takes on Alaska

Copyright 2019, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

June 24, 2019

Slow start. Left campground about 10:30.  First up. Fuel!

First one last view of Jasper National Park, from Grande Prairie.

Using the scenic route 40 via Willmore Wilderness Park ( a back country park for experienced horseback riders and hikers. This is truly a wilderness.). Roadway a bit rough. Just noisy. 

Some logging was going on - - 

Scenic route, well to Grande Cache it was.  

Before the town proper were many miles marked “caribou crossings”.  Nary a one was spied. Seems their migration season is over.  Did see one deer and one young elk, with fury short antlers. 

Stopped at the Visitors Center and dealt with a very knowledgeable young woman. I picked up a British Columbia and Yukon map, both of which I wanted. Decided against the Labrinth, and a drive to the Sulfur Gates area was passed by as the reports of deep mud from all the recent rains was not appealing. If one had more time to explore - - 

This dude was hanging out at the Visitors Center for some reason??

North to Grande Prairie was another story. We passed a coal burning power plant, no photos. After that, we drove miles and miles of hills, rivers, creeks, repeat. Then started the construction. And the miles and miles of propane or oil drilling stuff/sites. Trucks, huge storage facilities. On and on it went. To me this turned quickly from a scenic ride to a commercial production avenue. There were hundreds of large 18-wheelers. Logging trucks. Mud. Mud. And more mud. 

While passing through one of the several construction zones, a caterpillar type piece of equipment with tracks, vs tires/wheels, said caterpillar spit mud at us, landed mid-window.  Made a good ole "splat" sound.  Loud too. That IS a first for us.  Sorry bout the quality of the photo, lots of reflections in there, ohhh, that might be a good thing, see what I did there?  LOL

Found a campground, with  no reservations. Headed for the RV/car/truck wash. 

Before - - 

And, after, just a wee bit better.  And, nope, it did not last long. Rain and lots of dirt/mud here in Alberta, The Estate was dirty the next travel day.

We decided we wanted pizza and beer. Let’s just say, it was not funny at the time, but pretty sure ya all would be laughing. Sigh. Big ole first world issues. GPS would tell me to turn 50 feet after the actual turn. 

The short Cliff Notes version. Beer obtained. Pizza delivered to the campsite and we were back in time to take delivery. The beer and the pizza were both good!

218 miles today. 

Grande Prairie for 2 nights. It’s time to lick our wounds, as my daddy used to say. 


Banff, The Icefields, Jasper: The Estate Takes on Alaska

Copyright 2019, CABS for Reflections From the Fence
June 23, 2019

Woke to overcast skies, about 50 degrees. On the road at 9:09
Icefields here we come.  

Black bear sighted along the road, no photos. 

Bow Lake. Pretty. 

Peyto Lake was a fail and a disappointment.  Crowds were awful. The parking lot even worse!  Looked like canyons, those potholes were 12 inches minimum. 4 feet wide. Man would not take The Estate in there for fear we would rip off the generator and the exhaust pipe. I can tell you there was significant snow on the ground.  I started out to the photo op, realizing it was at least 10 minutes in and same out. I bailed. I’m sure it was stunning. A few hours and a good ole load of hot patch and that parking lot would be doable. Meanwhile, a black mark on the park for not maintaining just a little better. 

And, this hole was one of the small ones. 

Mistaya Canyon, hike. About 1.8 miles in and out. About 190 feet elevation change, it was a loo loo coming out.  And, all before noon!!!

Raining. Hard sometimes.  Mountain tops disappear into the clouds. 

The sun can out as we neared the ice fields/glaciers. Perfect timing. 

We had lunch in a pull off near Cirrus Mountain. Gorgeous. 

With a waterfall of our own, I do believe that is snow above the waterfall, melting and providing the glory of the waterfall.  

Many miles of stunning beauty and lots of ahhhhs and oooohhhhs.  The shapes, the glaciers, ohhh, everything -- 

There is a glacier at the top right of this mountain.

We stopped at a pull off, got out to stretch and take photos and lo and behold, another waterfall.  Now, this photo is just a small part of this waterfall, courtesy of zoom from Sony III.  It was a long way off and very tall and long.  And, look at the size of that flume of water.  I have no way to estimate the size, but, it had to be 20 or 30 feet, maybe more.  The roar of the water was incredible, even from that distance.

Turn my head a bit for this view - - 

Just around the corner from this waterfall was a very large pull off, look at that view!

And, another water fall, viewed from the same pull off.  This one is so long I cannot begin to imagine, we are talking hundreds of feet.  This is just a portion of the entire fall:

Did I say that every corner was filled with beauty and awe?

Then came the Columbia icefields - - 

Zooming in - - 

And, all the zoom we have - - 

Stopped at the Icefields Center where you could pay a fortune for them to take you out on one of the Icefields. I’ll bet it would be quite the experience. But the crowds and the price!  Pass.  If you look closely, you might see the "buses" that take guests onto the icefields.

Not sure who this poser is - - 

Look at all that snow!!  Err, glacier - - 

You could camp at the Icefields over night, no hookups, they say it’s delightful. And dark. 

Just after we left the Icefields Center all traffic came to a complete stop. A herd of big horned sheep were eating a snack right off the roadway surface.  They are shedding, looking a bit scruffy. 

Glacier snow melt, at that milky teal color state - - 

And look who was grazing alongside the road - - black bear.

We see any number of beautiful long waterfalls, I actually got photos of some. One wide fall near the road we missed. 

We stopped at Sumwapta Falls about 3:25 and Man headed for his bed, nap time!  After napping we decided to, pass on this falls hike, the elevation gain was close to 500 meters. Not today.  

Falls hike at Athabasca Falls, short walk in, more than worth the effort!  Spectacular!

The clouds were playing around and giving us a show - - 

And, we were blessed with a rainbow!


Near Hinton and set up by 7:30. Muddy site they tried to give us, rejected. Now on gravel. Mucho better.  And, believe it or not ANOTHER rainbow - - 

192 miles today, over 2000 meters elevation at one time. That’s about 6600 feet!  

9300 steps today, 

Used up TWO camera batteries. I don’t want to know the count!


Monday, June 24, 2019

Banff National Park, Lake Louise With a Side of Bear: The Estate Takes on Alaska

Copyright 2019, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

June 22, 2019

Woke to sunshine and NO rain and cool temps. I saw 30 on the weather bug in the middle of the night. 

Man is itching to get moving.  Soooooooooo

Pulled out of camp at 9:40. 

First stop. Town of Banff. Found it to be chalet intense, lots of tourists. Glad we saw it. Parking was an experience, even with The Estate.  First place we pulled in a local came along and pointed out a no parking sign we did not see, saved us a possible $50.00 fine.  

We walked around town.  Visited the Banff Visitors Center, getting the scoop.  Grabbed a Subway, cause all the other eateries were either not open yet or had no canine friendly tables outside.  We only had two hours of parking, and, mmmm, we sorta did not record our start time, ooopsie.  So we grabbed the sub and headed back to The Estate. 

We took 1A north, the Bow Valley Parkway.  Tried a stop at Johnson Canyon for water falls, no parking, we expected. Kept driving. 

Castle Mountain pull off.  

Just after that we drove through the Castle Mountain campground. Very woodsie. As we drove through we see a number of peeps acting all excited. Seems there was a black bear up on a hill in the woods.  I saw the bear, barely (see what I did there?), Man did not.  No photo. 

Internment camp pull off

I don't know the name of this beauty, but have seen quite a bit of it through the park.

Baker Creek, where The Estate posed with some local peeps. 

Walked back to bridge to get photos of the "creek"

A bit more down the road:

Yes, that will be a glacier wayyyyyy up there - - 

We stopped for a River View. Bow River. We took a short walk to a view point that was elevated. Had to walk through a bit of water run off to get out there.  It was worth it.

Then a train happened.

Checked in at Lake Louise campground. We snagged the last campsite late last night.  The busses and transit to see Lake Louise are currently a 1.5 hour wait in line for the bus.

They told us when we checked in there is a mama bear with two cubs in the campground. Word is she is getting testy with peeps bothering her.  She can have the right of way, don’t cha think. 

After we checked out our campsite and did some reservations for tomorrow, we first attempted to walk to the front of the campground to catch the shuttle to town. That was great exercise, physically and in futility.  Never found the shuttle so got back in The Estate and drove to “town”. 

At the Visitors center we spent some time with a very nice young woman who gave us the scoop. Works out to go back to camp, nap and drive up to Lake Louise after 7 pm. We can do that. 

Soooo at 7 up we went. WOW. Best part of the day. The water is a teal color because it is glacier runoff water.  It has to do with silt and sunlight reflecting from stuff - - ohhhh, go research it - - it's cool stuff.

Then we drove over to Moraine Lake.  View along the way - - 

Look at that color - - 

During the ride we wen to about 2030 meters altitude. Came down in 2nd gear and had to brake!  There was a sign that seemed to indicate a 75% grade?  That just does not sound right, we think someone erased the decimal point. LOL. 

Grizzlies at the end, just before we got off the mountain. Well, I think they are grizzlies.  Momma and two babies.

They were eating dandelions!  Look at the greens hanging from Mom's mouth!

88 miles today, including the trip up the mountain. And Carol has 10,000 steps.  Altitude at campground was 5023 feet, give or take. 

Tomorrow the Icefields and beyond.