Thursday, June 30, 2022

Rocky Mountain House AB to Hussar AB

Tipis for rent at the RMHNHS

Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, what a mouthful for such a relatively small park, is really a lovely spot. They are still fighting for their existence apparently, with hopes of becoming a National Park someday. We'd vote that it's a fine place to camp. We didn't get to their Visitors Center, but heard good things about it. Lots of activities there tomorrow for Canada Day.

In the morning we thought we saw a flock of geese flying over:

Part of the flight

They turned out to be Pelicans, something different to us.

David Thompson was a famed Canadian explorer back in the early 1800's, and is featured a lot in this park. This canoe is a replica of the type he would have used:

Part of the park is a bison compound with a small herd of Plains Bison. We didn't see any here today, but it looks like a place bison would like. Flimsy-looking fence though, for bison:

Here's one of the pretty sloughs (landlocked ponds) that we saw today. In some areas there are lots of these, supporting agriculture and wildlife:

We decided to visit the Drumheller area on our way by today. First we needed a break and some lunch, so parked ourselves at the Drumheller Air Terminal to watch some small planes while we ate:

These yellow planes were working crop-dusters 

This little one was clearly much lighter, a pleasure craft

The sprayers are clear underneath the body

No, they didn't pose for me, at least not intentionally

When the little plane needed to be turned around...

...two manpower was plenty

Winding down into Drumheller:

We decided to just tour the Badlands today, having done the Tyrell Museum on earlier trips. Here's a few pics of the Badland hills and hoodoos:

The famed Horse Thief canyon

Wending our way down to the ferry crossing

A pretty short crossing, but free 

Somebody advertising their status

Later we got a different view of part of the Badlands:

This is the river the ferry crossed, upstream from here

Tonight we're camped in a nice little municipal park in Hussar Alberta. It's getting pretty warm (27C and sunny) but it's been a real nice day. The gathering clouds didn't amount to anything today:

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Jasper AB to Rocky Mountain House AB


We intended to leave the Jasper area today, but almost didn't. The forecast was for heavy cloud and 100% chance of rain all day. We thought we might wait a day when the forecast was much better.

Luckily at 5am the skies were mostly blue. We were on the road by 6 under beautiful skies. This post is going to be mostly mountain pictures heading south on the Icefields Parkway, so be prepared to skim if you're tired of mountains.

On a 2018 trip to this area we intended to take the Parkway up to Jasper, but were foiled by massive smoke from wildfires. We were simply awestruck by the views today.

Whistler's is an old campground by the way, dating back to the 1970's apparently. It was shut down for a massive overhaul a few years ago, and reopened over the past couple of years. You'll see some almost overhead pictures from the SkyTram in our previous post.

A few residents (all Elk) gathered to say goodbye as we left the Whistler campground:

And we started on amazing 4+ hrs on the Parkway. We have found that most people out here don't start driving early in the morning. So from 6am to 9am we saw almost no other vehicles, it was like a private road. We're sure that's why we especially enjoyed the trip today. If you're on the road later it gets incredibly busy most days, which always makes a drive less enjoyable to us. Today we could stop at will, almost anywhere (getting off the road first of course!).

The Athabaska River is very high

Indian Paintbrush, Cath thinks

This Raven was keeping tabs on everyone

Still lots of snow left to melt at these higher elevations

Lots of melting already though

The Athabaska Glacier keeps on shrinking

Even though lots of snow this year

Once we left the main Icefield Parkway at Saskatchewan Junction we headed East on Hwy 11 towards Rocky Mountain House. The views weren't done yet. 

This was the Bighorn Reservoir we think, as there is a Bighorn dam downstream

Our traditional picture of Mount Michener

After all that touristing we decided to stop early tonight. The iOverlander app led us to an obscure park for camping, the Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site. A small park, only about 20 no-hookup sites. Nice setting though, and good facilities. We're just going to stay tonight. We're thinking we might have some issues finding camping for the next few days, over the July 1 weekend with no reservations. WalMart, here we come.