Monday, August 1st Partly cloudy, 18C

British Columbia RailwaySmithers to Prince George today. It had been raining all night in Smithers and as we left it was still overcast and the first 2 hours we had the occasional shower. Then the weather cleared and we had an enjoyable rest of the day. Arriving in Prince George we checked in to the hotel and then started our tour of the few point of interest. The Explorationplace. The small museum hosts exhibits about wildlife, history and ‘First Nation’ people. We found it to be a touristtrap and not worth the time. Next on our list was the Railwaymuseum. This place at the edge of town has a lot of rolling stock from yesteryear, some still in need of restauration.

Tuesday, August 2nd Partly cloudy, 19C

Mount Robson viewpointToday we had close to 400 Km to drive to Jasper, Alberta. After about 300 Km we got to Mount Robson with typical Canadian Rockies scenery. From the visitor center we made a 4 Km hike to a viewpoint that was more than 300 meter higher than the startingpoint. The view we got was well worth the climb and on the way back we walked along ‘Overlander falls’. The complete tour took us 3 hours including photostops. We continued our way to Jasper where we had booked a chalet. After we parked we found that local wildlife does come close to humans when an elk was grazing on the playground.

Wednesday, August 3rd Sunny, 25C

Maligne LakeWe had planned a little tour today around the Jasper area. First was Maligne Canyon, a very narrow canyon that is formed by fast flowing water. The depth is impressive. Next was Maligne Lake where we took a 1.5 hour boat tour to Spirit Island. The views along the way were awesome. The road between the lake and Jasper is also very scenic and has a 60 Km/h speedlimit because of wildlife crossing the road. Before dinner we went to the Jasper Tramway that took us 2273 m above sea level for a magnificent view of the area. Since the weather was exceptional we could even see Mount Robson. After all this we just needed to get our dinner in town before driving back to our bungalow 6 Km south. As it was near dusk we saw many elk just next to the road.

Thursday, August 4th Sunny, 25C

Columbia IcefieldtoursOnce again we only had a short(ish) drive ahead. We planned a few stops along the way. The first one was Atabascan Falls, 30 Km from Jasper, then it was on to Sunwapta falls, another 35 Km further before we stopped at the Columbia Icefield. From the information center busses leave every few minutes to a transferstation at the bottom of the glacier. We got in to the large 6-wheeled special bus that brought us right onto the glacier itself via a 32% descent. The final stop was Peyto Lake a lake that reflrcts turqouise in summer. It was only a short drive to Lake Louise, our destination for the day.

Friday, August 5th Sunny, 27C

These guys come to beg for food about everywhereWe started the day with breakfast at the Lake Louise Gondola and then went up to the viewing platform 2000 meter above sea leavel. We went to a presentation about life above the treeline. Even this early and at this altitude it was warm. From here we had a good view on Lake Louise Village and the Lake itself. From here we continued to the other side of town to Lake Morraine. This is another turqouise lake. Since we had only a few things to see in the area we took the opportunity to hike part of the lake and to rent a canoe. Next on our list was Lake Louise where the famous ‘Castle’ , an very expensive hotel can be found in a fantastic location. We hiked 3.4 kilometer to a ‘tea house’. We had to climb from 1750m to 2180m above sealevel to get there. The only thing left was find dinner in one of the 2 restaurants.

Saturday, August 6th Sunny, 35C

Spiral TunnelWe headed back to British Columbia today. After a short while we stopped at the Spiral Tunnels, This is a tunnelsystem for the Canadian railsystem to conquer the elevation difference in the mountains. We saw a long train pass by, get into the upper tunnel a little later and come out of a lower tunnel. A few kilometers futher was natural bridge carved by the river. Next stop Emerald Lake, yet another beautiful colored lake as we had already seen before. Next on the list was Takakkaw Falls, one of the highest falls in Canada. We drove on over Roger’s Pass and to Revelstoke. Time go get fueled up get some supplies and then make our way back to Roger’s Pass while stopping at several trails. We found that our hotel once again had wireless internetaccess but speed was very low. Nevertheless I was happy to get my mail after 4 days without a connection.

Sunday August 7th Sunny, 24C

Bannf Gondola viewpointNot to much to do today, after breakfast we headed down from Roger’s Pass to Bannf. We stopped at the cave and basin historical site. This hot water spring smells a lot like sulpher but is home to a unique snail that can only be found here. After our visit we drove to the Bannf Gondola. The cable car brought us up to about 2300 m above sealevel. We ate our lunch here and for the first time saw mountain goats. We descended again and went for a stroll in ‘downtown’ Bannf before driving the last 20 Km to Canmore.

Monday August 8th Overcast and rain, 19C

Bar-U-Ranch blacksmith workshopAfter leaving Canmore we drove through Kananaskis county, a collection of provincial parks with great scenery. We took a few sideroads in the park to look for wildlife and lookouts and tried to do a few walks too. Many of the hikingpaths were closed due to bearsightings as were a few campingspots. We made our way to the Bar-U-Ranch in Longview. This rach is now a national park with the old buildings still standing and exhibitions about life on as a cowboy. During our visit it started to rain so we soon were on a non-stop drive to Pincher Creek where we booked a Bed&Breakfast.

Tuesday August 9th Partly cloudy, 19C

Starship EnterpriseAfter leaving the B&B we drove to Pincher Creek to see the murals. We then went on our way to Fort Macleod, an old Mounted Police fort where we saw a riding show and an exhibition. 16 Km from the fort is ‘Head Smashed In’ a place that is on the UNESCO list of cultural heritage. As far as 7000 year ago this place was used to ‘trick’ buffalo to stampede right over a cliff to their death, thus providing food to the people living nearby. After visiting the museum and taking a stroll along the path to the actual cliff we went on our way again to Brooks. We had a planned stop in Vulcan where the local Tourist Information office is located in a futuristic building with Star Trek memorabilia. Outside along the highway is a model of the Starship Enterprise.

Wednesday August 10th Cloudy, rain until noon 12C

East Coulee Coal MineLot’s of rain in the morning today. We drove to Dinosaur provincial park where many dinosaurbones were found. Since it was raining we could only walk on two paths here. Normally, in summer, temperatures can rise to over 40C but now it was only 12C. In this park there are rattlesnakes, scorpions and black widow spiders. Next, we drove to East Coulee where we visited the Historic Atlas Coal Mine. 5 minutes further, next to the main road, are the Hoodoos, sandstone formations are formed by erosion. Another 5 minutes closer towards Drumheller is a suspension bridge that was once used by miners on their way to the mine and is now restored. The only thing left was finding the B&B we booked.

Thursday August 11th Cloudy with a few showers and sunshine 20C

Dinosaur at the museumThe first place we visited today was the Royal Tyrrell Museum, about 7 Km from Drumheller. This museum has a vast amount of fossils on display as well as 35 complete dinosaur skeletons. We spend a few hours here before starting the dinosaur trail. We stopped at a lookout point over the Deer River Valley called Horsethief Canyon lookout. From here we continued the trail to Bleriot’s Ferry. This is a small cable ferry accross the Deer river. The road then heads back to Drumheller with another lookout point over Horsethief Canyon from the other side of the river. We followed highway 9 for 19 Km in the direction of Calgary for a view over Horseshoe Canyon also called Canada’s mini- Grand Canyon. It was back to town again for a stop at the most visible landmark in Drumheller, the World’s Largest Dinosaur. It takes a climb of 106 steps to get to the mouth of the beast and a view over the city. We took a walk through downtown where there are dinosaurs on almost every corner before heading back to the B&B.

Friday August 12th Partly cloudy 15C

Trainride in the Heritage ParkWe had only a short drive today to Calgary. We planned an easy, slow day so we only visited the Calgary Heritage Park. The park has a lot of buildings from the early settler days as well as a fort. The best was to see everything and get a sense of direction is to take the steamtrain that circles the park.

Saturday August 13th Sunny 24C

View from Calgary TowerThis is the final day of our Canadian holiday. Our flight was scheduled for 22:00 so we slept as long as possible and made sure we were out of the room by checkout time. We drove to the center of town and went up Calgary tower from where we had a 360 degree view of the city and the surrounding area up to the Rocky Mountains. Back on the ground floor we started a walking tour that is made easy to follow because of the red footprints that are painted on the sidewalk. The tour took us through Calgary’s Chinatown back to the tower. To kill time we then drove to the Chinook shopping mall and from here to the Aero Space museum close to the airport. The outside exhibition had a German V1 and Lancaster bomber from WW II. After this visit we returned the rental car and continued to check-in. During the flight above Hudson Bay I was looking throough the window and noticed a smallpatch of  green ‘mist’, minutes later the green area was even more visible and it showed as ‘curtains’.... This was the first time I was able to watch Aurora Borealis ‘in real life’. We landed in London Heathrow early afternoon for a 3 hour layover which, due to delays, became 4 hours before flying the last leg of the trip to Brussels were we landed around 20:00.

We enjoyed this trip as it fulfilled our expectations. We saw lots of wildlife, from squirrels to grizzly bears, we saw magnificent views along Vancouver Island and in the Rockies. On the radio side it could have been a lot better. Propagation was awful, APRS away from large communities was nonexistent. Fortunately most of the hotels offered high speed internet so keeping in touch with home was easy.....

Maligne lake