At first we thought: we just cross Canada. Fast. Well, as fast as possible (Tikal has its own rhythm). And we arrive in Alaska. Then we will take the time.
But finally, the facts are simple. Canada is a big country and crossing such a territory driving 7 hours per day… it is very long.
So our first aim has been redefined: the Rockies. That was a well-deserved step.
And actually we do not regret it at all!
We have been astonished by these 2 national parks: Bannf and Jasper. The landscapes are just amazing and either we had a lot of luck, or the wildlife is everywhere, but we encountered many little animals.
After these 5 days, we were fresh and with a great motivation for the next steps. That gave us a lot of energy until Alaska (and some 2,000 photos to sort).
In fact, after 1.600 km straight ahead, across fields:
The view of the mountains at the horizon gave us a big smile!
One of Mr’s dreams was to see bears. Real ones. In nature.
But until then, and although these 6,000 km spent on the roads, we did not meet even the shadow of a bear. Nothing. All our hopes were in these mountains and its big forest. And we slept our first night in the Rockies was imagining a bear besides each tree.
Banff National Park
We headed for Banff the next day, 128km from Calgary. Well, Banff is a sort of a small mountain village with a lot of tourists, shops and restaurants. Maybe too much of all of this for us. We took some information and maps at the information center, bought some food and drove to the park.
Before entering the park, we had to buy a pass for the Canadian national parks. We chose the annual pass knowing that we might need it for other parks on the way down from Alaska.
We did not plan any big treck but we went on several walks that were really great.
You can take a little guide in the information center that gives you all the small walks you can do in both parks.
Our first lake: Lake Minnewanka.
The weather was great, a little fresh wind and an amazing view:
During 5 days we went by foot and by truck across the forest.
With Tikal we drove through the Bow Valley Parkway (1A), a parallel road to the highway. This road goes across the forest and offers the opportunity to go slower and enjoy the landscapes, and wildlife…
We first met this lady, she seems to be waiting for a picture :
And finally, between 2 bushes, look who came:
The whole family: Mummy bear with its 2 cubs. And it looks like it was lunch time:
We also met smaller animals:
Regarding the landscapes, our favorite has been the Lake Moraine, that we discovered at the end of one afternoon:
We would like to put a tent there (far away from the mountain of tourists staying by the entrance) and to stay there, counting the different color variation during the day.
There is also Lake Louise with a dreamlike view:
Peyto Lake offered us a pretty nice rest time for lunch after a short path through the forest:
Jasper National Park
But the Rockies are not just the lakes, there are also some mountains. We took the icefields parkway and were very lucky with the weather that permitted us to enjoy some stunning views:
You can enjoy a big bus tour on the glacier (for some 80$) but we preferred to walk to the toe of the glacier:
In the last part of the crossing of the parks, there is Jasper, a little town that appeared to us to be less touristic than Banff (we had there a great cheeseburger and a good beer) and offers lots of possibilities to spend the night.
We kept going to the Miette Hotsprings (we had also the opportunity to take a hot shower. We start enjoying these moments!) and went to Lake Maligne:
On the road we met a wapiti, some mountain goats and, well other bears!! (with the berry season, a lot of bushes near the road are full of fruits and attract the bears).
As a conclusion, Banff and Jasper National Parks have been a great refreshing moment in the Canadian race!