Tuesday, July 14, 2009

On the road again . . .

It appears we are going in circles. We left Spokane on Sunday morning early, well before breakfast, and headed north to Canada. Our maps were well organized and we had a clear plan to cross the continent to Philadelphia via Canada, starting with the Rockies, stopping in at Banff and Jasper, and then car camping across Canada's midwestern plains, revisiting Elk Island, where once a herd of elk leisurely grazed through our campsite.

We flashed passports at the border, drove north for 250 miles, explored historic Fort Steele, and then it began to rain. We camped out at the cheapest hotel we could find in Radium Hot Springs, too discouraged to even take a dip, somewhat taken aback to find the "free internet wireless" was limited to 15 minutes offered by the local service provider. Folks at the Information Center joked about finding hotel deals for US$140 and more a night. And we discovered our sandwiches cost $8 apiece, and gas translates to about $4 a gallon. It can only get better tomorrow, we assured each other. We've been away too long to remember how expensive things are. We'll camp.

Monday morning clouds greeted us, and it rained steadily as we drove through Kootenay National Park to Banff, up that lovely valley ringed by mountains to Lake Louis. But the clouds moved in, covering the mountains, and the rain turned into a downpour. No one was camping.

So we've driven south again, down Bow Parkway some 300 miles. We did see one young elk, glorious in a full rack, covered with velvet, browsing grass alongside the road, oblivious to motorists. I still love the Rockies and we'll return one day, but for now as we travel east, it just seems less complicated to stay in the states where KOA awaits in case of rain.

Kootenay National Park, British Columbia

Photo: Kootenay national Park, British Columbia (Webshots)

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