You keep hearing how the British Columbia Interior is lovely and warm. Not this week. An unusual cold front has swept in, bringing -20 in the mountains and -10 to the interior. Our next few days may be more about heading south than sightseeing.
Wednesday, we crossed the 15,000 km mark of our trip. We are also crossing back on highway 16 as far as Jasper before undertaking new adventures.
However, we had a bright, sunny, and frosty day today, so our drive through the mountains was full of better pictures than on the way West.
This is the best view of Mount Robson going East.
As you enter the Mount Robson area, watch for the barricade that closes the highway in bad weather. This is shortly after the turnoff to the BC interior. Do not blink and have your copilot keep the camera ready. You will come around a bend and it will be there big as day. You will have time for several pictures if you are quick.
Since it is freezing out and since we are backtracking, tonight is a good time to reflect. Like most travellers, we charge everything. I just got a full month of credit card charges: 3544.51 divide by 31, we get 114 per day. Considering we are spending close to $100 a day on gas, the remainder of our spending has been frugal. So our next book will be: how to see Canada on a hundred dollars a day.
We slept in McBride BC, just about the Alberta Border. That way we can enter the National Parks early and pay just one day fee to cross. We chose a spot close to the visitor centre because they have wi-fi. The visitor centre is located in the old train station. What we did no know is that freight trains there run through out the night. Running is one thing, but banging around, coupling and uncoupling is another. Well at least the price was right.
Thursday, we awoke to a chilly morning, -22 is cold on either scale. We hit the road early and headed for the Columbia Icefields. My first clue should have been the “road conditions poor” sign. Oh well, we are not backtracking more to avoid this road. Before arriving at the gate, I suspected there would be snow in the fields and that we would not SEE the icefield glacier since everything would be white. Maybe we did not see the icefield, but the road was an icefield almost 200km of the way.
So we drove slower and managed to enjoy the sights anyway. We started at an altitude of about 900 metres and worked our way up to 2100 metres. This is where the icefield is located. The road to the interpretive centre, though open, did not seem to be sanded, so we forged on . . . Downhill, and down hill some more, only to rise again to 2100 metres, followed by a 5 mile hill, dropping 550 metres in a matter of minutes. The views were breathtaking, despite the icy road conditions and the sinus pressure. Winter has definitely arrived. In all the Rocky Mountain National Parks.
We needed to proceed in this direction to make it to Lake Louise. The postcard picture was there, except that we arrived 30 minutes too late to have sunshine in the picture. And oh, yes, the lake is surrounded by a clean bed of packed snow.
A quick fill up and we proceed through 10 mile hill and kicking horse pass. In about 10 minutes, we dropped about 300 metres. The first town we passed in BC was Field. It is on the “other side” of the road and looked like a Christmas village. Yes,it is winter here since we saw someone skating on a pond at the edge of the village. 30 minutes later, after what seemed like another endless downhill, we arrived in Golden for the night at a more comfortable altitude of 800metres.