On the Road to the Coast – Day 1

September 7, 2020

It’s the Monday of the September long weekend and we vacate our voluntary prison and head for the coast. That’s the Pacific Ocean coast in British Columbia and to all Albertans, it’s “the coast”.

The highway is crowded in both directions. More folks driving toward Edmonton, as school has started, than away, but we are not alone heading west. The traffic didn’t thin out until Valemount, then it was fairly sparse until we stop just south of Clearwater.

There was a big snowfall on the eastern part of the Rockies. Not the regular summer snow that dusts the trees, but an accumulation in the alpine and it covers well below the barren rock. The mountains look stunning with the white highlights. As we get further into the heart of the Rockies, the snow disappears. By the time we reach the Jasper townsite, the mountains are donning their summer apparel again, green tree shoulders capped with grey stone.

Debbie and I have good luck viewing Mt Robson. I would call it the Canadian Rockies’ highest easily accessible peak. Not that it is easy to climb, but it is easy to get to various spots to view it. As it is so high (3,954 m), it spends a good portion of the year in cloud cover. We have often driven by and the peak is clear. Today we can add another view of the snowy mountain top to our collection of sightings as it is blue sky right to the top.

It is 6 C when we back out of our driveway in Edmonton and turned the car west. We notice the leaves on the river valley trees are already turning to fall colours. It seems the farther west we drive, the farther back to summer we go. The car blower goes from “heat” to “air conditioning” as we drive west through Jasper (13 C), Blue River (20 C) and Clearwater (27 C). As we enter BC, the forest gets thicker and lines the road. The trees are not yet yellow or orange but multiple shades of green that become more saturated when the sun shines through the needles and leaves.

We spend the night at the North Thompson River Provincial Park Campground. The campground is on the North Thompson River and is quite idyllic except for the train tracks on the other side of the river. We cook supper, clean up and retire into the tent as it cools off quickly as soon as the sun disappears behind the hills.

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