I have been having a discussion with myself if I was going to write this post. It is a very personal journey through the Rocky Mountains and I was not sure if anyone else would be interested. But since I am not cooking while I am still under renovation, and I am having withdrawal symptoms from blogging, I thought 'Why not?' The picture above is Banff, Alberta.
My drive is actually from Mile 83, British Columbia to Swift Current, Saskatchewan. While I did not stop to take any pictures, I have found some that depict the areas. It was winter and a long drive and was not easy to stop for photo ops.
Mile 83 is near to 100 Mile House
in the interior of British Columbia. It is a blend of mountains, ranches, lakes and meadows. The summers are not that warm and gardening is a definite challenge. My father and his wife enjoy the hummingbirds every summer. In the winter the chickadees are always there. Otherwise, there are lots of ravens, owls, hawks, foxes, bears and game animals such as deer and moose. It is a very out of the way place to live. It is very much country life.
My father is almost 85 years old and still enjoys doing everything that he can. They also spend their vacations in Africa.
Along that road from Mile 83 to Kamloops it changes from more lush mountain to very dry mountain terrain. I am reminded of the time that my sister and father walked off the road to look at some ramshackled old cabin only to find a rattle snake.
The farms irrigate. Ginseng is grown along with many typical vegetables and even a vineyard.
You pass through the western mountain town of Cache Creek
. It is so adorable in a rustic way.
is a hub. It has all the shopping a country person needs. It has colleges and all.
The drive from Kamloops west wends through rough countryside. It is lush and productive land again and with some irrigation. There are towns with specialities like cheese and ice creams, fruits and vegetables and a lavender farm
The road winds along the edge of the Kootenay Lake
. You pass through Three Valley Gap
. Although touristy, and I have never stopped there, it adds to the intrigue. I love the whole rustic hotel complex by the water. There are hot springs along the way.
You gradually find yourself climbing through the mountains and arrive at Rogers Pass and then Kicking Horse Pass. Rogers Pass has a nice stopping place. There is a hotel, restaurant, service station and trinket shop. I always stop there for a rest. It is the summit as driving through the mountains.
There are a half dozen or so snow sheds to drive through.
Kicking Horse Pass, in my humble opinion, is more scenic. You drive over the river and the canyon, around mountains and there are lots of switchbacks. It is lovely in all seasons.
Craigellachie is an historic stopping place. That is where the Last Spike was driven on the trans Canada railway in 1885. It is a very simple roadside stop but as a Canadian, it was a part of my grade school history that stuck in my head.
I love the ancient cedars and hemlock groves. There are boardwalks built so there will be no impact on the environment. The trees are hundreds of years old and absolutely huge. I love the air in the forest. It is so fresh. I love the streams. And the solitude. You can truly feel connected to nature even on this tourist stop.
Revelstoke is another favourite rest stop. I have only once stayed overnight. It is so quiet and really in the mountains. Golden is the next stop. We always gas up there. Today they are building a lot of ski runs and resorts at Golden. However, my absolute stop is Field. It is a gem of a stop with mountains all around. The river passes right by the town and braids shallow but wide along the highway.
At this point you pass by the ever popular and famous Emerald Lake
. It is a must-see if ever in this part of the country any season. Actually you don't view it. You get a room and stay.
After Field is Lake Louise. There is nothing to see from the highway. But I love the area! It is my favourite ski hill. I is small and intimate. The Chateau Lake Louise overlooks the lake. It is one of those lovely old Canadian Pacific Hotels with lots of charm and character. Every winter there is a world class ice carving competition.
Next will be Sunshine Village ski resort, Castle Mountain, Red Earth Creek for hiking and cross country skiing and....Three Second Peak! I lived and skiied in the area for years before anyone told me about Three Second Peak
. You can only see this Matterhorn-ish mountain for three seconds from the highway. I always try to catch the glimpse when I am on the road.
This pretty much sums up the trip through the mountains. Banff is world famous and what can a person say in a blog about this jewel of the Rockies. It is exquisite.
Continuing on to Calgary you pass by Mount Yamnuska, which I have climbed! There is a little lake called Lac des Arc that is wind swept clean of snow and used to be a favourite spot for ice boating. I have not seen them there recently.
The landscape abruptly changes into ranch land and gently rolling foothills into Calgary.
To continue past Calgary takes you into the Canadian Prairies. There are the prehistoric hunting grounds of Dinosaur Provincial Park
We pass by the general landscape of Grasslands National Park
and the sand dunes
in Saskatchewan. This is where antelope roam.
And finally I am home! Swift Current
is a little city on the Canadian prairies. It is winter and the driving was white knuckle. But I arrived home safely. Until next time...