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Kootenay, McLeod Meadows & The Milepost - and Beyond

These first few posts may have an uneven and somewhat scattered feel to the reader, as Marshall and I have both been finding a rhythm traveling (after all, we haven't done anything like this for a little over thirty years), and I'm getting acclimated to both driving and living in a vehicle the size of a small boat, and we're sussing out where we are going, and I'm trying to process all of this and take photos and write for.........this blog, which is as much for me as it is for anyone else.

I wasn't able to use the computer (write, process images) the first four days, and so I'm summarizing and cramming those into a few days when it is possible to do all those things.

The first thing we did upon leaving the campground at St. Mary on Tuesday morning was to stop in Babb at restaurant that Marshall raved about, to buy two pieces of pie to go. Then we headed over the border towards Kootenay National Park. It was wonderful to watch the landscape unfold, see the changes in the Indian Reservations, the towns over the Canadian border, the farming landscapes - but I had little impetus to photograph. Marshall began to religiously read "The Milepost," a compendium of information about the AlCan highway that has been accumulating for decades. He referred me to it at the end of the spring and I downloaded the whole massive pdf, but subsequently had few occasions to actually dig into it.

We overshot our destination, the campground immediately inside the park (adjacent to Radium Hot Springs, our actual destination), and drove about thirty kilometers into the park, and found a camp site at the MacLeod Meadows campground - our spot was twenty yards from the bank of the Kootenay River. A most enjoyable dine of marinated grilled chicken breasts ensued, accompanied by string beans other appetizers. It is a shame that neither Marshall nor I like cooking or eating….(just kidding, as most of you know).

So we got up early on Wednesday morning, and headed north through Kootenay to Lake Louise, and into Jasper National Park.  

 It looks just like all the photographs that you've ever seen, and is overrun with an international set of tourists, but is stunning, nonetheless.

Then we meandered through Jasper, stopping frequently at the icefields and lakes formed by the many glaciers, and appreciated the way the ice and water had carved the rocks.

I have always been fascinated with the idea of "tourism," dating back hundreds of years, and the need to both witness nature at arm's length - and try and "capture it" in ways that might be personally meaningful, but ultimately of questionable usefulness.

  On holidays, we all do whatever it is that we need to do.

Marshall and I headed to the town of Jasper, found several campgrounds full, and drove to the northern edge of the park to stay at the Pocahontas campground. Along the way, we watched deer and goats, and the campground was in the proximity of the Miette Hot Springs, where we got a good soak before dinner in international company, high up on a mountain, for the price of $5.50 apiece. 

Lake Louise

Bow Lake, at the base of Bow Glacier

Mistaya Canyon

Tourist at Athabasca Falls



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Toad River Lodge, Saturday 28 August - POSTSCRIPT

A A collection of over 6,800 hats stapled to the ceiling throughout the restaurant....and growing. One of the stories associated with the place is the origin of the name....The Alaska highway was constructed in 10 months, 1942-43. One version of "Toad River" is that the engineers had to tow supplies and materials across at that particular point, and it somehow got bastardized from "towed" to "toad." There are many such strange stories and origins to the naming of places in Alaska.              (I mean, why was Denali originally called McKinley? (other than his recent assassination....he never visited the place.)