The end of this epic road trip! Banff Downtown/driving to Calgary Airport

(My solo road trip of western Canada – Saturday 3rd/Sunday 4th October)

Well, this is the end of a truly enthralling adventure.  I am so thankful that I had this opportunity and I fully appreciate how fortunate I was to be able to take this on.  Continue reading “The end of this epic road trip! Banff Downtown/driving to Calgary Airport”

Yoho National Park, Upper Spiral Tunnel

(My solo road trip of western Canada – Saturday 3rd October)

The mastery of railway engineering is certainly seen here, its quite amazing what has been created.  The railway link that was created here was a massive undertaking and the transport links that have now benefited from such engineering I am sure are fully appreciative of this fantastic feat.  Remember, we are talking about the Canadian Rockies here, the range of mountains that demand respect and leave you in awe and wonder of them, the rugged terrain that surrounds this area is not to underestimated.

There were several options that were available before they created this, but apparently they went for this particular route because of its shorter distance to the Pacific Coast and because of its close proximity to the US border.

Obviously these tunnels did not just appear, and when they were created, they faced significant serious challenges, for example, there was one instance when a train derailed killing three workers.  In addition to this, if you take into account the fact that the engineering of the late 1800’s is not what we have today, relate that to the fact that the geography of this land is demanding to say the least, it really is an awesome job.

Today, between 25 and 30 trains pass through these tunnels daily.  I was lucky enough to see one these trains pass through with the time I had.  It was a pleasant experience.  You first hear the train approaching from a distance, but you can’t really make out exactly where from, then you catch the first glimpse which is great.  However, the highlight, is definitely when the train enters into one of the tunnels and then starts appearing through the lower tunnel, I had not seen anything like it before, the train carriages just keep coming, it was so long that the train was fully visual on the top and bottom level, coming in and out of the tunnels!  The photos that come after, are photos from another road on the way to Banff National Park.

As I left here and began my drive to Banff National Park, I passed by some roadworks, I am not sure exactly what they were doing, but watching them carve out huge chunks of rock from the side of the mountain…while I was on the same mountain, well, a bit disheartening let me tell you!

Yoho National Park, Meeting of the Waters

(My solo road trip of western Canada – Saturday 3rd October)

After leaving Takakkaw Falls, a short drive takes you back down the windy road to a place called “The Meeting of the Waters”.

It maybe a little difficult to appreciate the two different types of water that meet here.  The Yoho is sort of milky in it’s presence, this is a result of the rock flour from the Waputik Icefield, the glacier melts and end up in the water.  On the other hand, the water from the Kicking Horse River is much more clear, the water here too comes from the glaciers, but the silt contained in the water seems to have more time to settle, its as if it gets sifted before it arrives and then mingles with the water from Yoho.


Yoho National Park, Takakkaw Falls

(My solo road trip of western Canada – Saturday 3rd October)

Onwards and upwards as they say.  I left the stunning village of Field to continue on through Yoho National Park, I was really happy with how much I did yesterday, I got through quite a bit, it was really a jam packed day:  Mount Revelstoke National Park, Glacier National Park’s spectacular drive, Town of Golden, Yoho National Park: the mesmerising Emerald Lake and the fascinating Natural Bridge, and the gorgeous village of Field…phew!

One of the main highlights of Yoho National Park is Takakkaw Falls. Fortunate timing as this place is closed throughout the winter from October until June, the main reason being high risk of avalanches in this area.  You certainly get an idea of why you would not risk trying to traverse up here during the harsher conditions just through the drive that brings you here.

I hope you get some idea of what the drive is like, I can tell you, it was a fantastic drive, tremendous views, rugged landscape and some of the switchbacks, as you can see below, are very tricky and keep you alert. Its pretty spectacular, the height of the falls is over 1200ft, but for me more impressive is the free fall of water which is over 800ft.

Takakkaw Falls are one of the highest falls in Canada.  In the Cree language, the word Takakkaw means “magnificent” which aptly fits a description for these falls.  From the moment you catch a glimpse of these falls from a distance as you are driving, to when you walk towards it as you leave your car, until you get so close that you feel the wonderful spray gently sprinkling itself all over you, describing the falls as magnificent is a good place to start.

Yoho National Park, the gorgeous village of Field 

(My solo road trip of western Canada – Friday 2nd October)

I had no plan to stay here, it just happened that way.  Somethings are just meant to be, I mean this place was so beautiful, idyllic and just had so much charm, it has history too, as it was established in the 1880’s.  I simply crossed over to see what the village of Field was like, fell in love with its sheer beauty and landscape.  I drove around a little (there are fewer than 200 people who live here) and a few places were already booked and then I came across this amazing building and got some very nice accommodation for a reasonable price.

After I settled in, I decided to go for a short walk before sunset, as I was leaving the accommodation, I saw what looked like Elk or Deer, but I was quite far, so it was not clear.  I ran back into the accommodation as I did not have my camera.  I got into the car to follow, and after about 10 minutes I found them.   They were really beautiful, serene, glorious in their movement, such beautiful animals that I do not believe should ever be harmed.

The three photos that follow the one of inside the room I was staying (which I had to myself for the night) show the view I had from two of the bedroom windows, …if only I had this incredible view every day it would be so refreshing and energising.

The village is utterly gorgeous, it is like those idyllic towns you see pictured on postcards.  The building are so distinct, colourful and inviting.  I had a wonderful breakfast in a local cafe, excellent service and a very tasty breakfast that set me up for the morning exploration that was to unfold.

Throughout my road trip, I had seen numerous fire danger signs, as you may have read in my earlier blogs of this road trip, the danger level was usually low, moving to moderate.  However, the morning I left the town of Field, the danger level moved to…(see below).







Yoho National Park, Natural Bridge

(My solo road trip of western Canada – Friday 2nd October)

After the truly blissful wonders of Emerald Lake, along my way was something called ‘Natural Bridge’.  I so wanted to see this, the Kicking Horse River over time has simply carved its beautiful artistry out of this ancient rock, and what I saw was incredible, what has been created is something very special.  The astonishing thing is, these various formations we see now are constantly changing as a result of the waters brute force.  There will come a time when these formations will no longer be here as they will transition and manifest into other formations, eventually, the bridge will no longer be able to withstand the power of nature that allows it to display itself now.

There are so many different vantage points to see this amazing formation from, every angle leaves you in total admiration and respect of the power of water and what it can do, no matter what comes before it, no matter what lies before it, it will have to submit to the continuous, gentle caressing yet powerful demands of the water.  There are times you cannot believe what you are seeing, the corrosive force of the water is as if a sculpture has deliberately been moulded and the landscape is the artists pride and joy as onlookers behold its splendid beauty.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Natural Bridge is that it was formerly a waterfall!  I have added photos of information that were present at the site to give a better understanding of what is going on.





Yoho National Park, Emerald Lake

(My solo road trip of western Canada – Friday 2nd October)

I honestly did not believe my day could be ending like this, I was physically tired from the sitting and driving, I was mentally tired from the concentration and focus that was needed on the road, and I was emotionally tired as a result of all the amazing sights I had experienced during this day…then I saw a sign that said ‘Emerald Lake’…

OK, so this was on my agenda anyway, I was due to visit this place, it was supposed to be something special, but, on my itinerary, this was supposed to be happening tomorrow.  However, here I was, coming off the main road and journeying to another lake, I suppose it was just going to be another lake, I mean I had already seen some out of this world lakes, right…wrong…

This place was so beautiful and I just wished I had more time to enjoy the stupendous surroundings.  It just seemed to be the most perfect time to be there.  The weather was calm, the wind was light, the water was beautifully balanced and still, the reflections were picture perfect as you may agree.  In addition to this, the colour of the water was spectacular, none of the other lakes I had visited so far displayed this particular glorious turquoise colour, it really was very, very beautiful, wow, wow and wow again!




Town of Golden, Downtown

(My solo road trip of western Canada – Friday 2nd October)

Although I was passing by the town of Golden BC, the fact that it was called Golden deserved a visit, I mean one of the sayings abut this place is ‘Golden Rocks’!    It was a nice little town actually, but I simply passed through here as time was of the essence for me.

I took a short drive though some parts of the town and it was clear to see that the town had a rich history.  It got me thinking how lucky some people are as to where they live.   For instance, living in Golden gives you relatively easy access to six of the most stunning National Parks in Canada.  I was impressed when I learnt that there was so much to do, a lot of it is based around the beautiful landscape, they certainly make the most of their superb surroundings, I most definitely would…



Glacier National Park, another scary mountain drive!

(My solo road trip of western Canada – Friday 2nd October)

The night before, I was reading about Glacier National Park and from what I read, the drive was going to be spectacular but keeping an eye on the weather was advised as it sometimes changes quite rapidly depending on the conditions.  In addition to this, there were some parts of the drive where avalanche activity was very common, particularly in harsher and wetter conditions.   Nonetheless, I was also aware that passing by huge mountains, there was always a chance that rocks could fall in the drier conditions too, I had already experienced this several time so far, you can simply not underestimate this rugged, magnificent and awe-inspiring landscape.  Although I had really enjoyed my mountain drives so far, I was a little nervous about this one. The weather was due to be fine, my nerves were currently not…

The history of the park is very interesting, especially when you travel through this area, you really do have to admire what has been achieved.   Historically, there are two primary Canadian transportation routes, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), completed in 1885, and the Trans Canada Highway, completed in 1963.   Until 1881, the centre of this park eluded brave explorers.  The valleys of the park are prone to avalanche activity, especially during the heavy winter snows.   As a result, traversing through this area had been challenging to say the least, however, I take my hat off to the extraordinary engineering feats that have taken place here.

The park is astonishingly wonderful, there are parts of the drive which literally took my breath away.  Fascinating high peaks,  glaciers which are large and active, and interesting to note is that it has one of Canada’s largest cave systems.  This was quite a demanding drive at times, there was so much I saw but due to the nature of the landscape, it was too dangerous for me to take too many photos.  One of the highlights which really got my heart beating.  I was leaving a tunnel and there was a road sign stating to slow down as there was a bear on the road, I really wanted to see this but after a couple of kms of driving, I realised it must have come off the road.  I was hope that the photos below give some idea of what the drive was like.







Mount Revelstoke National Park, Downtown

(My solo road trip of western Canada – Friday 2nd October)

I got up this morning and had this urge to get as much done as possible.  I knew I would have a lot of driving to do, but I was determined to cover as much distance as possible and see as many places as I could.  From Kelowna towards Banff National Park was well over 4oo kms, but with the stops I had planned, I would be on the road all day.

I started making my way towards Mount Revelstoke National Park.  It is located adjacent to the city of Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada. This park was founded in 1914 and is relatively small for a national park, it only covers about 100 sq miles.

I was due to stay here, however, as I was doing well for time, I cancelled my accommodation to keep going as I realised that this stop was not needed, I would advise anyone making a similar journey to just keep going if you can, and if the weather conditions allow make the most of your time.  I was thankful for this as it would not have been worth staying here, there was not much happening for me here, the setting was quite nice and again, the changing trees were very nice, but I wanted to make the most of the day, so I stopped for a bite to eat and was on my way again…