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.