Vancouver, BC (Oct 27/14) – The return to Canada happened at the Roosville crossing just south of Fernie, BC (near Cranbrook). Compared to last year when Canadian Border Services searched GIZMO for over 2 hours (found nothing… nothing to find), this time the crossing was made in less than 5 minutes. Irregardless the CBS people have always been very respectful & polite as they go about their duties.
After a brief shopping stop in Cranbrook, the destination was the sleepy mountain town of Kimberley, BC. where a scrumptous dinner at the Mozart Brew Pub was had. The town is definitely in-between seasons as the streets were very quiet & dark, waiting for the winter ski season to start. For the evening Hobbes pulled into a rest area in the mountains north of Kimberley, the temperature dropped well below freezing indicated by the amount of frost covering everything in the morning.
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The next day was sunny & warm (well… warm as far as BC is concerned in October), the drive up the Rocky Mountain trench is glorious. Radium Hot Springs was beckoning N&J as they approached, it seemed like a long time since the last ‘hot spring’. It was beautiful to be in the warm water with the cool air and sunshine, it doesn’t get better than this. The trip to Banff through Kootenay National Park is always a treat, the gorgeous forested mountains, the rivers with the blue-green waters. Something to be said about Canada’s Rocky Mountain National Parks… they are a jewel beyond reproach. These four parks (Banff, Jasper, Kootenay & Yoho) are heads & shoulders above their American cousins, their immensity & breadth is awesome.
The village of Banff was quite busy considering the time of year. A visit to the Banff Springs Hotel is a must for any visitor to the area. You can visualize what the early tourist must have felt 120 or so years ago when they arrived at this mountain castle by train. Swimming in the hot pools surrounded by the mountain peaks is the ‘icing on the cake’… Hobbes chanced an overnighter in the hotel ‘valet’ parking lot (on a grassy field nearby); it was a quiet uneventful night.
Finding a room card the previous evening by chance, N&J could not pass up the opportunity to partake in the Banff Springs Hotel pool and spa amenities (no, the room wasn’t used!). Feeling like royalty basking in the hot mineral pool and lounging under the sun canopy. J never experiencing quite this amount of opulence. The two ‘giddy’ in this ‘freestyle’ moment. Not once, but twice they enjoyed their remarkable find.
After their last perfectly glorious morning spent at the hot spring, N&J couldn’t resist the buffet for $30/pp (yes N&J paid for this!). After endless amounts of freshly squeezed OJ, thickly sliced back bacon, omelettes oozing with veggies and cheese etc… so much time passed, the lunch buffet being served and able to stay for that sitting as well… the two ‘rolled’ out of the hotel very pleased with themselves.
Next day a side trip to Canmore, Alberta resulted in a lunch at the ‘Hogs Head’ restaurant, the Elk & Bison burgers are to ‘die for’. Best burgers hands down!!! The return trip to the park as Hobbes headed back to BC was via the Bow Valley Parkway, a two lane relaxing drive without the bother of larger through truck traffic. A stop at Johnston Canyon, the hike up to see the numerous waterfalls is mandatory… the intricate path follows the canyon walls using concrete walkways secured to the rock walls high above the raging river below (this is autumn, can only imagine the intensity in spring).
Lake Louise is a visual treat. The hanging glaciers frame the lake along with picture windows of Chateau Lake Louise. The sight will captivate, you will pause forever…
The journey over the Continental Divide (this has been crossed 6-7 times during the trip; this time it is the border between Alberta & BC), into Yoho National Park provided some glimpses of Elk ranging on the valley floor near Field, BC. A visit to the Natural Bridge displayed the power of water over the eons wearing down rock. Venturing west to Golden, BC and towards Revelstoke brought darkness, and a stay in a roadside rest area.
Next day was the climb over Roger’s Pass, wondering if the weather would turn snowy. By chance the snow line was just above by only a few hundred metres, only flurries drifted down. Hobbes now in hurry (like a horse heading back to the stables), propelled N&J into Salmon Arm in no time, the highway being much quieter than the summer season. A nice pub meal, some Netflix courtesy of the local Boston Pizza wifi & a quiet night in a parking lot.
The drive south to Vernon was very picturesque. A stop at the Log Barn roadside stand provided some entertainment watching the goats do their magic. You purchase some ‘goat food’ (25 cents) out of a vending machine, place in the can… and the goats use the wheel at the top to bring their treat up to the platform. Please DO stop for the goats (and buy some feed for them), but DO NOT buy anything else… the prices are beyond belief. A fancy soda drink that normally cost $2 anywhere else, cost $5.99 here!!! The other items are equally expensive, and not that tasty.
The final drive back to Vancouver was punctuated with stops in Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton, Chilliwack & Ladner to visit family & friends.
Home in Vancouver was beckoning. There was excitement to bring Jesse to his new abode in the city. His two plus weeks in Hobbes has gone very well, much better than anticipated as cats normally do not like automobiles… he seems to enjoy the travel and already is asking….”Where Next?”