Travel Journal: On the road from Smithers, British Columbia to Jasper National Park, Alberta.
It was another early morning for the Kellenbergers. I was up at 7am to have a good-bye breakfast with the girls. It’s going to be a long time before I see any of them again and the whole morning felt bittersweet. Will it be another eight years before I see them all again?
For those of you who are coming late to my Canadian summer travel updates, let me give you a quick recap:
John, Caleb and I embarked on a summer road trip that took us from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to Smithers, British Columbia for a wedding. While we were in Smithers, I reunited with old girl friends, some of whom I haven’t seen since I left Canada in 2003 to move abroad. It was a weekend filled with lots of joy. My friends were finally able to meet John and my stepson, Caleb, for the first time. I’ve been hearing about Daena’s fiance, Sam for many years and I’m really happy that I could be there for their wedding. John and I reunited with our Japan travel buddies, Beka and Christian. I saw Sarah for the first time in eight years and met her baby daughter and her new beau, and I got a chance to catch up with Amanda and her husband Judd.
Here we all the girls at our good-bye breakfast on our last day in Smithers. From left to right: Carrie, Julia and Sarah, Daena (the bride!!), Amanda and Beka. You ladies are phenomenal!
Pictures speak louder than words, so here are some people who are very near and dear to my heart. That picture below is of me with the bride and groom, Daena and Sam Cooper.
Carrie, Daena and Beka. I spend a lot of time on Skype with these two ladies.
Caleb had a special good-bye hug for Daena. He really enjoyed dancing with her at the wedding, but in all honesty, I think he figured out that D is as lovable as they come. She has a heart of pure gold.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to say good-bye to Beka and Christian since they decided to travel with us to Banff National Park. We got on the road within minutes of saying good-bye to Sam and Daena. From Smithers, we had a nine-hour drive ahead of us, but road trips are nothing without stopping to enjoy various locations. We made plenty of stops that allowed us to stretch our legs and enjoy the stunning scenery, so enjoy the photo essay and my travel blather.
Our first stop of the day happened at a rest area about three hours outside of Smithers. John thinks that the US has Canada beat on rest stops, and I tend to agree with him, but I don’t think we were too bad off. After all, we didn’t have to eat on the ground, we were able to grill our lunch thanks to Christian and his portable grill, we were surrounded by beautiful forest scenery, and we enjoyed a great lunch of sausage, cheese, crackers, and fresh BC cherries. I think we did pretty well, and I didn’t hear any complaints from Mr. Kellenberger.
All along the highway, we saw towering blue mountains carpeted in lush forest, wide valleys, raging blue-green rivers and crystal clear lakes. We saw black bears, bighorn sheep, and lots of deer and elk. Caleb kept a sharp eye out for some moose, but we never spotted one. Nevertheless, the wildlife that we did see (as you’ll see below) was pretty awe-inspiring.
We entered the Mount Robson Visitor Center around 5:0pm and stopped to stretch our legs and nab a few photos. By that time, we were tired, hungry, cranky, and more than ready to get out of the vehicle. Just when it seemed like we couldn’t take any more driving, we received a special message from Jasper National Park. We found our very own personal tour guide!
Just a few kilometers outside of town, I spotted an elk on the side of the road. Of course, we did exactly what we weren’t supposed to do: We stopped to snap some photos. Yes, I know I’m not supposed to get that close, but I didn’t read the warning about staying away from elk in the park until we arrived at our hotel later that evening.
Apparently, elk can be really nasty customers. They appear docile, but have been known to get quite aggressive. Had I known that before we entered the park, I probably wouldn’t have snapped the photo below. We were less than three feet away from that elk! I admit, there was one moment when I thought he was going to rush the truck. That moment of fear, however, was totally worth it in my opinion. Caleb was thrilled, as were John and I.
And this I solemnly swear: To any park rangers who happen to be reading this journal, you guys do a great job maintaining the park and I swear I’ll never do anything like that again.
Stay tuned for our next update on the town of Jasper and our drive the rest of Jasper National Park. Thanks for reading!