Monday, September 3, 2007

The Drive Home Continues
Chetwynd, Hudson's Hope, Prince George, Jasper, Banff and the Kootenays
We spent 2 days in Fort St John getting a front-end alignment and then began our journey south. We were torn between going to Dawson Creek to see mile "Zero" of the Alcan highway or taking a scenic route through Hudson's Hope to Prince George. We chose the scenic byway and we were glad we did. The drive to Hudson's Hope was wonderful. BTW: Hudson's Hope is the third oldest European community in British Columbia.
We encountered another bear who insisted on crossing the road in front of us. If we had been driving a bit faster, we probably would've hit this one.
Shortly after the bear we crossed over the Peace River Bridge... we were in the land of the dinosaurs.
Although Yukon Johann was no dinosaur he was something to be feared that evening.

We tucked in for the night at Moresby Lake Provincial Park. This was by far one of the most beautiful and well kept campgrounds we stayed in during our entire trip.
The next morning we awoke and drove to Chetwynd. Chetwynd is situated at an ancient floodplain at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and acts as the gateway to the Peace area to the east.
We had just missed the 3rd annual Chetwynd Chainsaw carving contest. We saw many of the impressive pieces displayed around the visitor center. The most intricate of these was the Dragon shown here.
Beyond Chetwynd lie the foothills of the Rocky mountains. The weather was nice and warm. It made for pleasant driving at a leisurely pace. Later that day we arrived in Prince George, known as BC's northern capital. It sits at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers. As we were leaving town towards Jasper we came across this interesting road. I guess it served as a reminder for what lies ahead in the coming days.

The scenery in Banff and Jasper were incredible. No need to go hiking here to see eye popping scenery. It was all layed out before us from the road.

We came upon the 143-mile route between Lake Louise and Jasper known as the ice field parkway. It is a driving experience like no other. The careful engineering of the road, and the generous provision of stopping places, viewpoints, and interpretive information allow the sublime scale and wonderful variety of mountain scenery to be fully appreciated

We stopped at the central visitor center where they give tours of the Columbia glacier in these HUGE ice sloths. For nearly $40 one could ride one of these up the Columbia Glacier and get out and walk on it. This picture makes our Toy house look pale in comparison.

Of course we had to stop at Lake Louise and get our picture taken.
I still think some of the other lakes were more scenic, like this one

Unfortunately we were not going to make it all the way to Banff. We took the Radium Hotsprings turnoff and drove through Kootenay National Park. The views down the freeway were fantastic.

We soon entered Kootenay National park and witnessed the beginnings of the Kootenay River which flows into the Columbia.
The country was spectacular. This view included color form the infamous Pine Bark Beetle and fires from 2005.
We've read about a very good backpack trip through the valley here. Someday, we hope to come back and give it a try.

We spent the night in Dry Gulch Provincial campground near Radium Hotsprings. The hotsprings were very refreshing. While not nearly as good as the Liard Hotsprings we experienced a few days earlier, they were refreshing to us weary travelers.

The next day we came upon these hoodoos created by the Columbia river. They are known as the Dutch Creek Hoodoos and can bee seen form the south end of the lake.Then we traveled along Columbia Lake, source of the mighty Columbia river. For approximately 60 miles, both the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers run parallel and when they reach Canal Flats at the south end of Columbia Lake the two rivers are less than 1.2 miles apart. The Columbia River from its source flows north while the Kootenay River continues flowing south.
Looking south though the hazy sky made for a neat view.

That pretty much ended our trip up north. We met up later that day with Lori (dearest mother and wife) at Priest Lake Idaho to enjoy the Labor Day Weekend. A trip summary and thoughts and points to ponder will be forthcoming.

Safe Travels,
Moose Lee & Yukon Johann