You and me on the loose in the Rockies

From Banff National Park in Alberta, we traveled to British Columbia to discover Kootenay National Park and Yoho National Park. Then we returned to Alberta to finish with Jasper National Park.

Kootenay National Park

On August 21, for Pierre-Adrien’s 27th birthday, we set off for Kootenay National Park for a hike at Stanley Glacier. We hiked for about 13 km on Grizzly territory to get close to an impressive glacier. Away from the crowds of Banff, we were almost alone on this hike. 

We stopped for lunch, then we went on a digestive walk at Paint Pots. “Pots” of limestone water surrounded with reddish minerals. 

Since we can not sleep for free in national parks, we left Kootenay for the city at the entrance of the park, Radium Hot Springs. This small town is known for its thermal baths.

There, we found a nice place to sleep a few kilometers from civilization. We were not alone, which is always reassuring. After 5 consecutive days of hiking, we enjoyed this place to rest We stayed for two days to celebrate PA’s birthday.

Yoho National Park

The third park we visited was Yoho National Park, also in British Columbia

We left Radium Hot Springs, for Golden, and then headed back into the park. We slept just before the entrance of Yoho National Park on the banks of the Kicking Horse River. And, we lit our first fire of the trip. 

The next day, we left for an early morning hike to see Wapta Falls. Then we went to the main point of interest of Yoho, Lake Emerald. After going around, we went for a swim in very cold water.

Emerald Lake, Yoho, Canada
Emerald Lake, Yoho, Canada

Finally, we went to see the natural bridge.

In this park, we also wanted to go to Takakkaw Falls, but the road is not accessible to RVs. We’ll go another time with our new pickup truck. 

Icefields Parkway

To get to Jasper from Banff, you have to take the Icefields Parkway. This 230-kilometer road is well named. It is located partly in Banff National Park and Jasper National Park.

Glacier Walk, Jasper, Canada

On the Icefields Parkway, after stopping at Bow Lake in Banff National Park, we stopped a second time for lunch. Then we went for a hike at Parker Ridge in Jasper National Park. Parker Ridge is a short uphill hike to a plain with magnificent views of Saskatchewan Glacier.

On our way back from this hike, we met fellow travelers and their children, the AGIL family, whom we met several months earlier at the gathering of travelers in Quebec City. So we made plans to sleep at the same place that night to spend the evening together.

In the afternoon, we also went on a short hike with them to reach the tip of the tongue of Columbia Glacier, the best known of the Icefields Parkway.

Athabasca Glacier, Jasper National Park, Canada

The next day, headed for the city of Jasper, we stopped at Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls.

Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park is the largest of the four Rocky Mountain National Parks. 

Maline Lake Road

One of Jasper’s best-known routes is the road to Lake Maline. We first stopped at the Maligne Canyon, a series of bridges through the very deep and narrow canyon.

Maline Lake Road, Jasper, Canada

If you continue on the road, you arrive at Lake Medicine. The peculiarity of this lake is that it disappears completely in the fall. The phenomenon is due to the fact that in the spring, the lake is filled by the abundance of water that flows from Lake Maline, from the glaciers melting.

Lake Medicine, Jasper National Park

At the end of the Maligne Lake Road, you arrive at Maligne Lake, of course.

Maline Lake, Jasper

The main attraction of this lake is Spirit Island, which is only accessible by boat. This tourist activity being too expensive for us, we decided to take a short hike to Moose Lake. It is a small lake close-by that allows you to see moose, as its name suggests. We saw one of them grazing by the lake with its legs in the water.

On the way back, we decided to stop at Lake Medicine for a swim and wash. After an express dip in water under 10°C, we no longer felt the need to wash. 🙂 

Breaking down in Jasper National Park

When we left, we broke down. After several tries and minutes of waiting, we failed to restart. We were in an area with no cell network, about twenty kilometers from the city of Jasper. After a while, we left to hitchhike to reach the city. It is a small rental motorhome driven by a German gentleman who stopped. He kindly drove us in town so we could call a tow truck for Couik-Couik.

We meet with the tow truck guy and gave him the keys to our truck. He went to get it while we waited. When he came back, he told us that he had no problem restarting the RV. The engine had probably overheated. We would have had to wait a little longer to avoid paying for the tow.

Frustrated by this breakdown, we decided to leave the park earlier. We had to get out of the national park to have the truck inspected in a garage. Before leaving Jasper, we went to photograph Lake Pyramid and its islet.

The road to British Columbia from Jasper is beautiful. Unfortunately, we were so stressed by a possible breakdown that we didn’t enjoy it at all.

At the first city on our way, we stop for gas. When restarting, the RV breaks down. It’s the engine that’s heating up!

The rest of this story (several twists and turns) will follow in the article on British Columbia. 🙂

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