Saturday, May 28, 2011

Jasper to Edmonton

Thursday, we decided to split up - with the boys going fishing and the girls going sightseeing. Tom and Alex headed to Moab Lake, where they rented a rowboat and spent the afternoon and early evening fishing. They each caught 4 fish, 7 rainbow and 1 brook trout. Alex brought 2 of his fish home for dinner. They were delicious!

Kathleen and I took the Jasper tramway to the top of Whistlers mountain, to 2277m above sea level. The view was pretty spectacular. We sat in the restaurant at the top for quite awhile, just enjoying the mountain ranges. Back at the campsite, we had a fire and a few rounds of tarp ball .

The next morning we packed up and left the campsite and headed to the Miette Hot Springs. The water comes off the mountain at 54 degrees celcius and they cool it to 40 degrees for the hot pools. They also have a couple of cold pools - one at 10 degrees celcius. Nice spot!

After the Hot Springs, we pushed on to Edmonton. We hit the West Edmonton Mall and then found a motel for the night.
Today we are heading to Elk Island National Park, which is about 1 hour East of Edmonton. We are hoping to see some Bison.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Icefields Parkway - Banff to Jasper

We left Banff for Jasper on Tuesday the 24th at about 10:30am. We stopped to see the magnificent green hued Lake Louise but we arrived and found most of the lake frozen. It was nice nonetheless. We enjoyed a scenic drive along the highway called the Icefields Parkway. Wed stopped many times to snap some pics and take in the views. We saw two black bears and several elk along the way. The glaciers were impressive especially the Columbia Icefields. We are in the town of Jasper now doing laundry and checking out the shops. It's Alex's birthday - he's 11 today- so we are eating out tonight. He got a dream catcher, a Canadian Rockies wildlife book and a totem pole and the rest of the presents are coming when we hit the West Edmonton Mall.
I have tried to scout out the fishing possibilities here but have not decided where to go yet. The best fishing lake, Maligne Lake, is still ice!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Whistler to Banff

We drove through Pemberton, a lush farming valley, into Lillooet, a suprisingly desert like area. It looked like Montana or Nevada. Scrub trees and sage bushes alongside mountains. We continued to Kamloops only to discover that all the provincial campsites were full due to the May long weekend. We thought we would drive until we found a motel but we spotted a private campsite with a few tent sites near Salmon Arm. We pulled in and got a site at about 8 pm. After supper we turned in for some needed rest but the trains across the highway kept us from doing so.
We pulled out early in the morning and drove through Revelstoke, Glacier and Yoho National Parks. We stopped several times to take in the fantastic scenery. The drive was the most beautiful part we have seen so far and will be tough to beat. Huge mountains and valleys all the way.
We stopped near Golden to visit a Wolf wildlife center. They had 7 wolves and they gave a great talk about how important they are to the ecosystem. It was the school work of the day. They are trying to save the wolves and bears in the area to bring back the natural balance.

We continued on to Banff and pitched our tent at Tunnel Mountain Village. The campsites were very busy until today (Monday). We have hiked three trails the last one being at Johnson's Canyon. It had two nice waterfalls and a few surprises...On the way back down the canyon Alex and I led the way and Nat and Kathleen were back a few hundred yards. The couple right in front of them pointed in the woods so they hurried up to them to catch a look at some wildlife. They were surprised to see a huge Grizzly lumber onto the trail. They turned and started walking back in the other direction, met up with a couple of other hikers and waited until the couple called the coast to be clear. In a group of 8 they continued, making lots of noise to ward off the bear. However 200m up the trail, the bear decided to come back up onto the trail again, this sent panic into a few people ahead of them who started running (what we are not to do!) Someone organized them to form a big group and wait for the bear to head back into the woods.

We are now in town and plan on starting to venture towards Jasper tomorrow.

Whistler part 2

We enjoyed Jeff's hospitality so much that we had stay a few more days. The weather turned nice on Tuesday so Nat and Kathleen went up Blackcomb to sightsee and Alex and Jeff went skiing again. I stayed back and hauled Jeff's Chestnut canoe to a small lake at the base of Blackcomb called Lost Lake. I managed to hook into to several rainbow trout but lost most of them-they were a bit on the small side. We all met back at Jeff's for supper then had a quick game of football at the park. The adults stayed up late reminiscing and debating as the beer that was supposed to last for a few days disappeared rather quickly. We met a younger couple from across the street and had a few with them before we turned in.
The next morning Jeff and Alex went skiing again. Alex has now skied a total of 4 times with 3 of them at Blackcomb - a nice place to learn! Jeff said he improved tremendously and they went down many black diamonds and one double black. Nat and I hit Lost Lake in the canoe for a relaxing paddle in the sunshine and Kathleen "chillaxed" at Jeff's.
The next morning we ate breakfast then played one more game of football. Jeff, Alex and Kathleen beat Nat and I - we let them win. We set off East after saying goodbye to Jeff. Thanks Jeff for all you did - hopefully we'll do it again soon.

Monday, May 16, 2011


We arrived in Whistler on Thursday the 12th to stay with Jeff Leavitt (Nat's brother). He actually lives on Easy St. with a view of Whistler-Blackcomb. We woke to sunshine Friday morning so we hit the mountain (Blackcomb) for some spring skiing. Kathleen decided to stay back and watch Leo, a dog that Jeff in taking care of. Blackcomb is the only ski hill open in North America at this time of year and we took full zadvantage. We skied from 11am until it closed at 4pm. It was spectacular and we had sun burns to prove it!.

We toured the town and area Saturday then hit Alta Lake in the canoe to try our luck fishing. I got my first ever cutthroat and rainbow trouts and Alex caught a rainbow as wellIt has been raining fairly steady since Friday but we are still hiking around. We tried the stream behind Jeff's place but no luck then we hiked up a ravine with high cliffs and drove around some huge, expensive houses owned by people like Sarah MacLaughlin.

We had a great steak supper last night as we watched the Canucks win then we jumped into Jeff's wood fired hot tub- a nice way to end the day.
It has rained all day today (Monday) so we are making the kids do some math homework then planning on going to a movie later on. The weather report looks good later this week so we plan on staying a few more days. Alex has enjoyed helping Jeff with the 16 chicks he is keeping.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


We left Comox for Tofino on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. We stopped at Coombs "goats on the roof" market on the way and found only grass on the roof at this time of year. Nice market though. We arrived in Tofino in the rain and set up the tarp and tents in the Bella Pacifica campground on Mackenzie Beach. We turned in early expecting a nice day to follow. We got that day as we arose to sun. We did some beachcombing and found sand dollars and a big starfish. We went in to town for some supplies. It is quite a tourist destination that is well known for it's surfing and fishing. We dropped into the flyfishing shop and I had a great conversation with the owner and he told us a spot where we might get into some sea run cutthroat trout. He gave Alex a nice fly and wished us luck. We then went to the surfer's beach and watched the action for a while then Nat and Kathleen went to play on the beach and Alex and I headed to Grice Bay to try our luck. We saw a seal and one big trout but didn't hook up. Back at the campsite we capped the night off with some smores after Alex and I scrounged the campsite for wood that others left behind ( I'm not paying $6 for three sticks of wood!). We left in the morning taking down the camp in the pouring rain. We drove to Nanaimo and boarded the ferry to Horsehoe Bay (Vancouver) then made our way north on the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Whistler.

On to Vancouver Island!

We left Lund and took the Powell River ferry to Comox on Vancouver Island. Along the way we crossed paths with a few Orcas. We arrived fairly late so we found a campsite on Comox Lake and called Nat's old schoolmate Dave Damery who has settled in Comox. He came out for a short visit and picked us up the next morning for a grand tour of the area. We went up Mount Washington and all over Courteney/Comox. It looks like a great place to live with ocean and mountains surrounding a fertile valley. Dave and his wife Allison with their boys Carson (7) and Luke (5) drove us back out to the campsite where we feasted on fire roasted hotdogs and salad. Thanks for treating us so well on such short notice!

After packing up we had lunch with Ali (Clark) Murray and her two kids, Thai (5) and Amber (3) at the Atlas Cafe. Ali's husband, Lee, is a commercial fisherman and was out to sea. It was nice to catch up after so many years.


Jan's parents live at the end of the road on the Sunshine Coast in a fishing town called Lund. We went out with Pete, Jan, Luke and Sam and stayed at the old house where Jan's father grew up. Pete and I went out in the prawn boat with Ron (Jan's dad) and Conrad (Jan's uncle) to troll for springs (chinook salmon) and jig for lingcod and red snappers. We fished in a secret area in Desolation Sound but the springs weren't taking. We did manage to haul in a red snapper and a few lingcod. Nat, Jan and the kids went to Powell River to swim in the pool. We then all met back at Lund and had a wonderful supper of prawn, perogies and cod. Thanks to Jan's folks for the great hospitality!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


We arrived in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast on Sunday and we've been here for 4 days now. Pete and Jan have been very welcoming allowing us to live out of their house. The kids have enjoyed hanging out with their cousins Sam and Luke when they get home from school.

Monday we went to Gibsons, home of the Beachcombers, and toured the area. We saw Molly's Reach and the Persephone.

Tuesday we visited the Chapman Creek Hatchery and saw how they hatched Chinook, Coho, Steelhead and Rainbow trout. They stock the creek and many other places. We got our fresh and saltwater fishing licenses and checked out Trout Lake near Sechelt. Jan prepared ribs for supper and had some friends over for the Canucks game. They won in OT!

Wednesday we went to Skookumchuk Narrows. It was a 4km hike through rainforest to a spot where the outgoing tide meets the incoming. We saw several seals feeding in the rapids and had a nice picnic lunch. We then went back to Pete and Jan's and Nat and Kathleen went to the pool while Alex and I tried our luck at Trout Lake. No fish but it was good to throw a line. We then attended a farmer's market in Robert's Creek, a community of rich hippies, and we walked down to the water where the Squamish and Sechelt natives used to meet and harvest the salmon as they ran up the small creek. The first white men didn't reach this land until near 1900. The kids went swimming at the pool after supper.

Today we are getting ready to go to Lund to see Jan's parents. We will head out after Pete's shift if he doesn't work overtime. We plan to stay there the weekend and do some saltwater fishing. Can't wait!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Vancouver to Sechelt

After recording Kathleen in front of the Olympic Cauldron for her class in St Stephen, we packed up and left for the Sunshine Coast. We drove to Horseshoe Bay and took the ferry to Langdale. The ferry steered through islands surrounded by snow-topped mountains and we landed 45 minutes later. We drove past Gibsons (remember the Beachcombers) and into Sechelt to my brother Pete's house.
We have never visited him out west so it was exciting to get here. My sister-in-law Jan and nephews Drew, Luke and Sam and Drew's girlfriend Megan were here and we were served a wonderful supper of BBQ Sockeye salmon. It's raining today, Jan says the "sunshine" here often comes in liquid form, so we are making the kids do some schoolwork then we are touring the town.