Friday, August 31, 2012

Opal Hill Loop and Lake Maligne

Big male bugling on the side of the road, although the sound was really rather wimpy compared to the set of antlers he had.

Later we saw him charging a white van that parked a little too close to him.

It is rutting season and that makes them more unpredictable.
We drove out to Maligne Lake which is really nice and has a giant mountain behind it.

You can take boat rides that go out to a tea house and have crazy expensive tea but instead we are going hiking.
We are hiking the Opal Loop that takes you high above the lake. The trail is very steep and we are feeling a little slow and take a break.

During the break this deer just walks right out of the trees to pay us a visit.
He isn't scared of us nor is he begging for food, he just goes about his business.

Finally we get to the Apline Meadow we were promised in the trail description.

It is big and wide surrounded by higher peaks.  There would normally be lots of wild flowers but it is too late in the season for that.

Another shot of the mountain behind the lake. I can't remember what it is called and I can think about were the great baked goods at the Lake side cafe!
We saw this guy on the way back to the car from the cafe, you can still see the felt on his antlers.
We also spied this black bear eating berries on the drive back to the campground.

It is going to be a quiet night tonight we are tired from hiking all day.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jasper National Park

Driving into Jasper on the highway you stop at a gate where you pay for the time you will spend in the park. It is a very trusting system as you don't have to pay if you are just driving through.

 Anyway we are worried about the holiday weekend making it hard to camp, but the woman at the gate says it won't be a problem and sends us to one of the smaller campgrounds.

It has no hookups but that is fine it is really nice those pictures of the river above were taken from the campground.

We settled into the campground and I made a fire and cooked up some dinner. If you get a fire permit you get unlimited wood which is nice.

These last two pictures are some of the goats and sheep we saw driving around the park.
The mountains here were all pushed up when continents slammed together shoving the layers of the land high into the air. You can see the layers up-ended at 45 degree angle and sometimes bend completely up and down several times.
After dinner is over we decide to jump in the car and take a 45 minute drive up to the hot springs.

While they are not at natural a setting at Liard River they are very hot and soothing.

And the view of the surrounding mountains is awesome.
They have 2 cold pools which are way too cold and two warm pools that are at 100 degrees and 104 degrees.

It was also nice to take a good shower!

Did I mention we had pie and ice cream when we were done soaking!

That is a nice day!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fort St James

Another mostly driving day, can you tell we are kind of in "on the way home" mode?

We took at significant detour to visit Fort St James an old fort where people are dressed in period garb and tell you about the past.
It held a large fur trade trading post back in the day before the demand for fur dropped off.

We took Maxwell around the Fort as he was allowed which was fun!
Most of the buildings are original and in very good shape.
Normally I don't like people dressed up at my tourist attraction but the people here are good and seem to know their stuff.
Will stops for a little rest in an old reclining chair. You remove the foot rest climb in and put the foot rest back on, he claims it is actually comfortable.
The Hudson Bay Company had got furs from here and ran a store, this was their office.
 Animal traps!
The store is all setup as it was back in the day.
The old products are pretty authentic. A giant gaggle of school kids are here and they are trading at the trading post, I think mostly for taffy.

Did I mention the Chickens? We got there too late but they have Chicken Races every day!

They are very fancy chickens at that!
Maxwell didn't seem to notice the chickens nor did they seem to notice him.
The chicken lady prepares cookies on an old timey stove and I bought one for each of us for 50 cents each.

Al later went back and got the recipe for the cookies... they are very rich!

We continue our Journey all the way to Prince George a pretty big city that even has a Costco and Walmart.  We end up deciding to camp at the Walmart, we haven't done it in a while and it is so late it isn't worth finding a campground.  In a moment of weakness we also walk over to Fat Burger to eat out for dinner. I was craving a burger anyway.  We also got our shopping done at the Walmart.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On to Smithers

Another mostly driving day although we stopped to see a couple things on the way.

First we stopped at these falls someplace I can't remember where and I am at a coffee shop without Will, Al or Maureen to remind me where it was.
People here are dip net fishing for Salmon and Steelheads. It is terribly easy and the poor fish have no chance in getting over the powerful falls anyway.

There is a fish ladder they can take but they still seem to try and make the jump.
They falls are pretty powerful and the fishermen are tied to the shore to protect them in case they fall in.
The falls lead to a pretty canyon.

After this we drove out into the hills to a short trail that lead to a fossil bed.  I skirted the rules and went looking for fossils and came up almost empty handed till the end when I found a fossil of some kind of grass or branch.

I will have to take a picture of it later as it is still in the car and I haven't brought it into the trailer yet. Rocks and Fossils have been everywhere we go but with such little internet I usually don't find out exactly where till it is too late.  When I get home I hope to do some rock hounding around New England.

Finally we get to another lake front campground! It is nice but we don't notice they have showers and so we don't take one which stinks and so do I! We've been travelling a lot without hookups or services.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hyder Alaska and the Salmon Glacier

Crossing the border to Hyder Alaska from British Columbia was easy as there is no US Customs there.

We are driving to Summit Lake up dirt mountain road.

First we stopped to try and see bears eating sad Salmon who are fading fast after spawning.
We weren't there at a very good time to catch the bears and only saw salmon and a lot of tired people waiting to see bears.

Actually we saw a black bear on the road right before turning into the viewing area but he never showed up on the river.
The dirt road we are driving is twisty and narrow at times. One false move and we end up falling down the mountain.

The road is also an active mining road so occasionally trucks come barreling along the road.
It is a very pretty ride even if parts of the road are full of potholes that rattly the car no matter how slow I drive.

We stop about 2/3 of the way to Summit Lake to eat lunch at an overlook where you can see Salmon Glacier.

Salmon Glacier is much bigger than the other ones we've seen. Additionally out vantage point means we get to see a lot more of the entire glacier all at once.

Later we get to an even better over look for the glacier! This overlook is where the Glacier takes a big turn. Now we can really see a lot of the glacier where normally it just turns behind a mountain out of view.
There is Summit Lake, LOL. OK it isn't there right now because every July the entire lake empties out when the ice dam holding the water back melts.

That pile of ice is at the bottom right of the picture is all that is left of the giant lake which fills that valley in the winter and spring.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Boya Lake to Stewart on the Cassiar Highway

When I woke up this morning Boya Lake was completely smooth so I snapped a few pictures.
The clouds were very dramatic.
Since this was a single night stay we didn't even un-hitch. So after breakfast we were ready to go.

We continues our drive on the Cassiar Highway which prevents us from going back the way we went on the Al-can Highway.
There were signs for horses and low and behold we saw one wander across the road. They are wild or anything the people who live along the lonely road just let them roam free.
Something like 90% of the worlds Jade comes from this area and we stopped at Jade World to check it out.

We couldn't tour the mines or anything but I did get some rough jade to make something out of when I get home.

They actually only mine and design the jade here and then ship most of it to China to be carved. Crazy!

Some other minerals collected near here.
This road is pretty quiet almost nothing along the road barely even a gas station every 100 miles or so. But the mountain views are great.

The road is in good condition too only having been completely chip-sealed (kind of like pavement but not as nice) in the last 10 or so years. Before that it was dirt!
We are heading to Stewart BC which also border Hyder Alaska both of which are on the cost down the Portland Canal a long Fjord leading to the Pacific Ocean.
They are very sleep towns, there isn't much here except for bears, a couple of glaciers and a mine or two.
Moon rise over the mountains around the fjord.