Archive - July 21, 2017

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Day 6 in Canada
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Jasper to Radium Hot Springs

Day 6 in Canada

It was time to leave Radium Hot Springs, but I must admit I kept calling it Radiator Springs.  This little town is known for its naturally-heated, mineral-rich hot pool between the walls of Sinclair Canyon. It is this canyon that reminds me of the Disney movie Cars and Radiator Springs.  We hit the visitor center before we left town, where they had some great displays and a kids area with interactive animal sounds and info.  We were even greeted by some Big Horn sheep right outside.  Thanks to the girl working the desk, we headed to a most unexpected place. The Radium Woodcarver and his strange and whimsical tree house. He does his carvings with a chain saw, feeds goats, squirrels and skunks, and has trick water features that get you wet if you try to open certain doors. Next up was the Paint Pots Hike in Kootenay National Park.  This hike takes you to an unusual orange ochre bed which was important to many Aboriginal peoples who gathered the ochre for centuries for use in ceremony and trade. In the early 1900’s ochre was mined and shipped to Calgary, where it was used as a pigment in paint. Remnants of twentieth century mining are still visible along the trail. Our final hike was up Marble Canyon to a series of bridges across a deep gorge with rushing waters.  I am noticing a trend in this area of the world.  Lots of amazing canyons that have been carved out by rushing glacial waters, each one more stunning then the last. We also found another set of the big red chairs! We stopped for a very late lunch in Johnston Canyon, and planned to hike there as well, but the weather quickly took a turn for the worse. We aborted the hike and jumped on the bikes as the wind picked up and it started to rain.  We headed south as fast as we could and made it to Banff before any heavy rain could get us.  Another great day of exploring in the books.

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Jasper to Radium Hot Springs

We woke up not knowing what today would bring, but boy did we have a variety of serendipitous things happen througout the day.  We first drove to Maligne Canyon, and on the way there we saw a group of 12 or so female and young elk, including what we thought were twins.  They were grazing along the side of the road eating the grass and flowers.  They were really taking their time, so we got to enjoy them peacefully moving about for quite a while. We continued on and soon learned that Maligne, which means means evil or wicked, is a gorgeous hike over 6 bridges that span a deep canyon  with water falls. We got there early enough to just miss the tour buses and tons of people, so off we went. The drive south was so much better today, and my sadness from yesterday was wiped away because it was so much clearer and we could actually see the mountains today. We took this opportunity and stopped many times and took lots of pictures to replace all the smokey ones. It really is a breathtaking view along this road.  For those of you familiar with Yosemite Valley in California, think of that but only twice as tall, twice as wide, and about as long as a third of the State of CA. Around another curvy mountain bend we saw huge group of mountain goats that kept running back and forth along the road. They seemed confused about which way they all wanted to go, and they held up traffic quite backed up for tourist to take photos. Soon we stopped to have lunch at Icefield Centre, and just as we walked into the restaurant and got in line the fire alarm goes off, and they completely evacuate the building.  (we later learned that the smoke from the grill was not going to the vent properly and it set off the alarm) We and hundreds of other tourists had to wait outside for 10-15 min while they made sure everything was OK.  When they let us all back in we basically made it almost to the front of the line, and quickly got food. We were then able to grab a table on the recently evacuated outdoor terrace. It was such a treat to sit outside in the sun, in full view of the glacier. The next thing that happened was almost a Twilight Zone experience.  I was driving the sidecar, and Frank had stopped to take a picture when all of a sudden I see a motorcycle and sidecar on the other side of the road. What really caught my attention was that it had a sidecar that opened like ours, and it looked they there were two kids!  I honked and we all waved at each other.  Then I thought we should go meet them.  Who else could be as crazy as us and travel around with their kids in a sidecar?  I asked the kids if they[…]

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