Click All Images to Enlarge
Day 9 54,306 (miles traveled 137) gas 93.9
Campground on Bull River outside McBride
It was 11 AM before I got up and around, made breakfast, and got the Journal ready to upload. I made the 10-mile trip back into McBride to Frankie's Diner, had a cup of coffee and push the Journal online. I left Frankie's about noon and anticipating the sites that would lie before me. I hadn't gone to far when I remembered I needed film, and was lucky to find the Dunbar General Store. It was a throwback in time; located on the banks of the world-renowned Fraser River, arguably the best salmon stream in the world.
They didn't use computers or credit cards at the store, and still had many locals on charge accounts, as it had been done for a 100 years. The store itself was stocked with a little of anything you could ever want, some things dating back to the turn of the century. They had a good supply of local produce that was well worth the money, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and broccoli to mention afew for 1.50 a pound. I bought a little of each and headed back across the bridge to the park highway and the drive into Jasper National Park.
Fraser River at Dunbar Bridge
The scenery along the way was incredible with the changing of the leaves, and the mountains and streams themselves were just gorgeous.
Along The Park Highway
Rear Guard falls was but a short distance up the road, so I stopped and took the 15-minute walk to it. It is the last falls that the Frazer's mighty Chinook Salmon will have to navigate, and only the strongest can make it.
The walk down to the falls wasn't bad, but the walk back up the hill I thought was going to kill me. The circulation in my legs is nothing since the operation I had a couple years ago. When I arrived back at my truck, I had found it had rolled backward and bumped into a car behind me. It didn't hurt it much, but it busted the lens on the trailer taillight.
A little farther up the road is Mt Terry Fox, named after a young man with cancer and with one leg began a run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. After training for 15 months he began his run from Newfoundland and 3000 miles later, he succumbed to cancer. The Terry Fox fund has raised millions of dollars for cancer research since his death.
I stopped and fixed lunch at Yellowhead Lake, and took a little nap before heading on. The weather was beginning to set in, and the rain was coming down in buckets so it seemed like the perfect time to take a break.
I arrived in Jasper just at dark, and searched out a wireless hot spot to check mail, and then on to the Dead Dog Saloon for dinner, and a couple beers. By 10 PM I was off to the campground, to take a shower, and hit the sack. I was tired. The campground was just a couple miles from town, but it was good to find. BC is very proud of them $23 with no utilities, $27 with them. If you want a fire that takes a permit, 7.90, but it includes the wood. After catching up the Journal it was well after midnight before I got to bed, but I slept like a baby.
Today sucked, it was cloudy with intermittent rain. At times it almost seemed the clouds were on the ground as I passed through the higher elevations. I got underway at 9 AM, and was hoping for a good day to take pictures in Jasper, Banff, and Kootney Provincial Parks. There had always before been an abundance of wildlife, and spectacular scenery, but today that wasn't going to happen. I just hoped it wouldn't be a total bust.
As I left the campground I was pleasantly surprised. A small herd of elk was grazing right at the stop sign to get back on the park highway. There were several cows and a couple of small bulls, at least the day was starting off with a little promise. I took most of the pictures with the 35 MM camera so I will have to add those pictures a little later
I was lucky enough to find a small band of stone sheep, but that would be it for the day wildlife wise.
There were a couple of interesting waterfalls that kind of saved the day, but all in all it was disappointing until I left the park and the weather began to break up to a partly cloudy day.
Scenery in the park, notice all the low clouds
Tunnel at Radium Hotsprings
When I got to Radium Hot Springs, the weather broke as I came down the mountain. Hopefully the rest of the day would improve. I stopped for a little bit and ate lunch, gassed up, and checked the mail then it was on to Canal Flats where I would stop for the night because of the broken tail light lense. Hopefully I could find some red plastic the next morning to patch it up until I got home so I could order a new one
Mountains near Ft Steele
There I met Dee Trainor who introduced me to Linda and Fritz Kobza. They own the local golf course, and are art buffs. Canal Flats only has one restaurant and bar, so I ate dinner and had a couple beers as I watched the baseball playoff games on TV and updated the journal. Linda and Fritz saw the pictures I had taken and tried to encourage me to publish a coffee table picture book. They had a friend in Cranbrook that could produce it. After visiting with them most of the evening they invited me to park at the golf course for the night, and they would help me find some red plastic in the morning. By midnight I was off to the golf course to set up camp, and another day had come to an end.
It was about 9 AM when I finally got around. Fritz had coffee going at the pro shop, and we visited for a bit. As promised Fritz came up with some red plastic. It was the red part of a Canadian flag banner they had used on Canada Day. With a snip with the scissors and some duct tape the taillight was good to go. It should get me to the end of the trip until I can get a replacement. By noon I had said my goodbyes, and was underway. I headed for Cranbrook, just 45 minutes south and Wal-Mart. I needed to run off some 8X10 pictures Dee wanted to buy, and I promised to mail them straight away so she would have them by Wednesday or Thursday for her mother. I got the pictures made, but the post office was closed, so she would just have to wait until Tuesday, as Monday was a holiday in both countries, Thanksgiving in Canada and Columbus Day in the states.
I took few pictures this day, I just wanted to get across the border to Bonners Ferry Idaho where I would stop for the night, do the laundry, stock up on cigarettes, and try to contact Andy Carr and Mark Kimm to arrange a get together for lunch the next day.
Canadian US Border
Unfortunately Andy was out of town, and Mark had to work so those plans were dashed, so I went to the casino in Bonners Ferry for an hour and somehow managed to make a small donation to the gambling gods, but that was OK, even with the loss, I was still ahead of the game after buying cigarettes had I had to buy them in town. I just set the camper up in the parking lot to spend the night, and would take care of the laundry tomorrow.
Day 12 (90 miles traveled +-)
Today was a get it together day, do the laundry, change the oil in the truck and rotate the tires, get film developed, and track down a new 110 plug in adapter which got fried while out in the bush in Canada. By the time I got all the chores done it was mid afternoon and I went on to Post Falls Idaho and Hauser Lake where I used to live when I was a jockey and riding in Spokane. I was totally shocked at how much the area had grown. According to the local statistics 47,000 people had moved into the area in the past two years. It comes wth a price, most of those moving there were from Calif., and have posted and cut off many of my favorite access points into the National Forests where I used to go.
It was well aftr dark when I made theloop around Hauser Lake just to have a look. When I lived there, there were two lodges, an RV park and a handful of houses on the lake, now they have cut several new streets, have a city hall, and a fire dept, I just shook my head.
I managed to find Curleys, my old watering hole, and even it had mushroomed. What was just a one room little neighborhood tavern, would rival any good nightclub in major cities with its marble bars, old train car dining area, an antique car barn and landscaping that would amaze, complete with fountains and rock gardens. A total shock it was. It was still owned by the same people for the past 25 years, so I was allowed to just camp out in the parking lot, and by midnight my day had come to an end.