Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Alberta Bound

I began the drive across Canada on Friday July 17 and thought I might as well blog this, too...

The first picture shows Ladybug being hauled out at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, with the new owner looking on.

Ladybug out of the water

I stopped off at Pitt Meadows near Vancouver to pick up a stove that had some burners which are hopefully of use to the new owners of Ladybug. Then I headed out on the Lougheed highway, past Hope and took a wrong turn up past Yale. I camped at the side of the road on an old logging road beside a stream – actually a very nice site. The next picture shows a strange little stone entranced structure about 4 feet wide. Two of these were set into the hill above the stream and I do not know their purpose. Maybe food storage? Any comments?

House in the hill.

The next day, I stopped beside a huge slag heap in Greenwood. The picture is taken of strange bell shaped objects – each taller than a man – that lie scattered over the slag heap. I explored what looked like smelting ovens and various foundations and a huge brick chimney. Later I learned that this was a copper mining operation. It must have been a big one, because the environmental impact is still huge!

Copper mine slag.

Saturday night I made clam chowder and a bear arrived looking for its share. It circled me at a distance twice and then snorted and made to charge. I was in the car by this point and packed up ready to move to a better camp spot. Note that these pics were taken with a small point and shoot – yes, that bear is pretty close!

Bear 1

Bear 2.

On Sunday, I went for nice hike (Kootenay Columbia trail) in Rossland and checked out some of the coal mining exhibits near the visitor's center. On the hike I shot this plant that I believe is called bear grass.

Bear grass.

The next pic shows my Sunday campsite (on Monday morning) in a vacant lot near Lake Moyie. I am enjoying the challenge of finding good sites that don't cost a fortune (nothing for the first 3 nights).

Campsite 3.

On Monday, I went for a hike at Mount Fernie park and took this picture after a grouse errupted from the brush, crying and puffing herself up in order to lead me from her young. I was amazed at the bravery of this little bundle of feathers!


I entered Alberta and explored the Crows Nest Pass area. I took the self-guided driving tour of the little towns that make up this area and then headed to an off the record campsite behind a little general store on the way to Waterton Lakes. It cost $5 a night per person and I have had the whole campsite to myself for two nights.

The windmills are part of a huge turbine installation (I counted more than 70 on two nearby ridges). The scenery in Alberta is stunning with the prairies and farmland set against chains of mountains.


Today (Tuesday) I spent the day hiking in Waterton Lakes National Park. The bison are in a paddock at the park entrance and reminded me a bit of cows, I'm afraid – maybe because they are penned in. The deer was munching grass in front of the visitors' center.

Penned bison.

Tame deer.

I walked the Bertha Falls and Lake trail and also around the lake – about 14Kms and maybe 500 meters vertical gain. The trail was surprisingly empty early in the day and I had the lake to myself. The picture shows the red sandstone that forms the lakeshore at this point with the head of the lake hemmed in by bluffs that probably reach 7000 feet.

Bertha Lake.

The last picture is taken from Red Rocks Canyon – a slightly disappointing place except for the wonderful drive in. The 'canyon' is fairly small and narrow and was full of very well fed tourists waddling around the paved walkway and families splashing in the water. The people in the water were having fun, anyway...

Off to see some petroglyphs tomorrow...

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