Icefields Parkway and Jasper Alberta

After leaving BC we and headed to Canmore, Alberta staying at the Spring Creek RV Park for three days. Early Monday morning we left at 6:30am to drive to the Columbia Icefields about 2 1/2 hour drive from Canmore. The whole way there it rained really hard and we were afraid that we wouldn’t be able to see the Icefields, however, when we arrived at 9am the sun came out and we went on the 9:30 tour in the Athabasca Glacier snow coach. A snow coach is a specialized vehicle, designed to operate over snow or ice, it weighs 33 tons, top speed is 25 mph but only 18 mph on the Athabasca Glacier, and it can transport 56 passengers, with six extra-large, low pressure tires. The Columbia Icefield is the largest ice field in the Rocky Mts of North America, astride the Continental Divide, it is about 125 sq mi in area, 330 ft to 1,198 ft in depth and receives up to 280 in of snowfall per year. The ice fields feeds 8 major glaciers, we could see 5 of them, North Face, Andromeda, Dome and Athabasca Glacier, which is the one we drove up onto in the snow coach. This glacier is approximately 3.7 mi long, covers an area of 2.3 sq mi and is measured to be 300-980 ft thick. However, it recedes at a rate of about 16 ft per year, when I was here in the 60’s it was massive compared to what I am standing upon today. We were excited to be able to see and experience the thrill of the glacier, without a mass of humanity. Continue reading

Glacier NP, Canada

The next day we were allowed to hike up Abbot Ridge in Glacier NP Canada. Due to the abundance of bears in the area we were not able to do a lot of the hikes unless you traveled with 4 or more hikers. The Abbot Trailhead starts at the Illecillewaet Campground and is 4.3 miles one way, with an elevation gain of 3,375 feet. The trail passes by the Marion Lake on its way to the ridge, and we took a side trail to a viewpoint above the Trans Canada Highway where we could see trains coming from or going into the Connaught Tunnel, completed in 1916, to protect rail traffic from the deadly avalanches of the Rogers Pass. We continued to hike up into true alpine tundra the land above the trees and ends on a narrow ridge. It was a strenuous hike but well worth the effort once we reached the summit, where the views overlooking Mount Sir Donald and the Illecillewaet Glacier were breathtaking. We paused at the top for lunch and a few yoga poses before heading back down the trail and back to the KOA. Great day and hike, love the mountains in the Canadian Rockies. Continue reading

Revelstoke, BC

We arrived at the KOA in Revelstoke after missing the turn-off from the highway, and unhitching the Jeep before turning around to get to the road to the KOA. Then we went into the town of Revelstoke to explore and have dinner. Great small town atmosphere in the heart of BC, where we happened to find the Revelstoke Railway Museum. It is one of Canada’s premiere railway museums and presents the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the Columbia Mountains, as well as the role the railway and its workers have played in building Canada as a nation. Bob loved seeing all the old steam engines and cars that were on exhibit. We enjoyed a delicious dinner at a restaurant on the Square while listening to some of the local talent on stage. Continue reading

Kelowna, BC

On our way north from Vancouver, first stop was Kelowna, staying at the Holiday Park RV Resort for two nights. The drive up the Coquihalla Highway has great views and is the main highway link between Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley and Vancouver. The next day we decided to visit the magnificent wineries in the Okanagan Valley that we heard so much about from friends in Aldergrove. We went to the Quails’ Gate Winery for the wine tasting and lunch. The beautiful Old Vines Restaurant has an exceptional vineyard side location on the slopes of the Boucherie Mountain Bench with expansive and picturesque southern views of the vineyards and Lake Okanagan. After lunch we went to visit the Mission Hill Winery, established in 1966, and was rebuilt in 1996. The centerpiece and focal point of the design was a 12 story and 85 foot bell tower with four bells cast by Fonderie Paccard in France. The largest bell weighs nearly 800 kilograms. The architecture was magnificent to walk around, we didn’t taste any wines here because we had our fill at the first one and bought several bottles to take home. There is a lot to see and do in Kelowna but we are leaving to head east to Revelstoke Continue reading

Salt Spring Island, BC

Our favorite place to visit is SaltSpring Island where we can stay with my sister, Sue and Denis Russell. We always have fun playing pickleball, fabulous home cooked meals, and Sue even hosted a party at her place with all her friends on the Island. This was the start of my golfing adventure. We took a great lesson with the Golf Pro at the local Golf Club, then Bob and I played 9 holes and I got a par on my first hole. It was down hill from there, but at least I am still enjoying the new sport. Bob even partnered with Sue for a Charity Golf Tournament, but he didn’t do very well after the lesson either. The weather has been very hot here for the last 3 months, and the swimming was quite pleasant in the ocean. However, the forest fires are numerous and the smoke-filled air is a serious threat to the area. Looking forward to returning here next year! Continue reading

Chemainus and The Cowichan Valley Trail

On June 30th we took the Vesuvius Ferry over to Crofton and drove south to the town of Lake Cowichan. Here we rode our bikes on the Cowichan Valley Trail all the way to the south end of Shawnigan Lake. The trail follows the gentle grade of the former turn of the century CN railway line that served pioneer logging and settlement communities. It was a pleasant ride through the trees and over eight trestles, with the largest one at the end called the Kinsol Trestle, here we turned around. The historic Kinsol Trestle is one of the tallest free-standing and most spectacular timber rail trestle structures in the world. At 614 feet in length and standing 145 feet above the Koksilah River, it is an incredible structure. Coming back was harder and longer than going and we were happy when we got back to the car, not sure of the mileage but it had to be at least 60 miles. Continue reading

Salt Spring Island

June 21st, Saturday, we left poor Sherpa at the Traveland in Langley to get repaired, and took the ferry over to Salt Spring Island to visit with my sister Sue and Denis at their charming place near Vesuvius on Salt Spring Island. It was like staying in a B&B for three weeks, eating fresh food from their garden, playing pickle ball four times a week and having great meals every day. The weather was hot and sunny most of the time so we went for long swims in the ocean before dinner. Fortunately we were able to watch all the World Cup Soccer games either with Sue and Denis or at a sports bar in Ganges called the Shipstones English Pub. We visited with Byron and Ellie Hender for lunch on their beautiful yacht, Winesk, at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club on Salt Spring. Had a gourmet dinner evening at Michelle’s place, eating out on his deck perched on a rock outcropping overlooking the ocean. What a fabulous setting and great company. We hiked through the forest at Channel Ridge, and had great views looking out across the channel. One evening we enjoyed the beautiful voices of the African singers at the church in Ganges. We sadly had to leave Sue’s to continue our journey. We left Salt Spring on July 15th and drove back to Vancouver. What a great time we had together and we will definitely return next year. Continue reading

Climbing The Stawamus Chief-Squamish BC

On June 9th, we drove north up the Sea to Sky Highway from West Vancouver to Squamish to hike The Stawamus Chief, well known for its climbing and hiking trails. It was a beautiful sunny day with brilliant blue sky, affording spectacular views of the coast and Howe Sound. Arriving at Shannon Falls Provincial Park around 10:30am we began our hike from the base of the falls. Shannon Falls is composed of series of cliffs, rising 1100ft, making it the third largest falls in the province. The hike to the First Peak was through the beautiful forest of Hemlocks and Douglas Firs, and then ascending steep rocky cliffs to the top, at (610m) 2001ft. We enjoyed wonderful 360 degree views of the mountains and Howe Sound below. Back to the trail we continued on to the Second Peak with even steeper rocky cliffs where we used chains and ladders to help pull us up the cliff face. On the Second Peak at (655m) 2150ft, we stayed and ate lunch with the chipmunks who would not leave me alone, and took in the wonderful views. Then it was on to the Third Peak, passing by a rock ledge where the climbers rappel down hundreds of feet to the base of the mountain. The Third Peak at (702m) 2300ft, was the final peak, and we could see Mt Garibaldi rising high above the valley covered in clouds, and great views of Squamish nestled at the end of Howe Sound. Continue reading

Vancouver British Columbia

May 30, Friday, we drove across the border into Beautiful British Columbia, back home for awhile. Arrived at the Capilano River RV Park in West Vancouver and settled into our new home for a few weeks. We spent the weekend celebrating my birthday and visiting with family. Vancouver is an exciting city to explore on foot or on our bikes and we would walk or ride across the Lions Gate Bridge and through Stanley Park and into the city along the sea wall. We can be tourists in our city for the first time in years and we visited many of the sites, we drove to Horseshoe Bay and ate lunch, we drove up to Cypress Provincial Park and looked around. We had a great time at Bob’s 50th High School Reunion and got together the next day for lunch with some of the old boys and girls. Continue reading

Windsor, Nova Scotia

This is Canada’s Thanksgiving weekend, on Sunday we drove to Windsor to watch the Great Pumpkin Race across the water that has been held for 15 years. The pumpkins were hollowed out and painted, some weighing up to 1500 pounds, then hauled down to the water on a forklift and gently lowered into the water before the race began. It took over an hour to get all 50+ pumpkins ready for the start of the race. Continue reading