May 06 - Jasper, Alberta to Vancouver, British Columbia

The best time to see wildlife in the Rockies is in the early morning, so I woke up early and headed out with a guide and 2 other people from New Zealand.

We drove up to and around Patricia and Pyramid Lakes north of Jasper. The snow was fairly deep on the ground and the wind was fierce. All we could find was about 30 trees lying on the ground that a beaver had chewed through and knocked down. That was a very weird thing to see.

We headed back through Jasper and out along towards Medicine Lake and into the hanging valley of Maligne. The road was lined with various deer, white tail deer, mule deer and lots of elk.

As we rounded a corner a large moose was walking down the side of the road. Unfortunately these animals are very shy and if they hear or smell you getting near then they take off. Their eye sight is not so good so we edged closer along the road to get a better look but the moose clambered down the hillside and headed into the snow covered forest.

Medicine Lake has underground sink hole where during the winter and spring months the water flows into them so the lake drains completely and the out going river is nothing more than a trickle compared to the large river flowing in.

The snow got deeper and deeper as we headed further up into the valley. Maligne Lake was the end of the road. I had a quick wander around the Brewster’s Cabins which were build in the 1920s and abandoned for quite a while. The cabins were built by 2 brothers who explored this area and lead tours up along the route I had just travelled.

After a quick lunch we all headed back along the road and into Jasper.

I went straight to the train station only to find out that due to the train being over 5 hours late they had cancelled it entirely. Their odd plan was to put everyone on the train in Jasper when it finally arrived, not move the train and then bus the passengers from Jasper to Vancouver in the morning. This was not very good because it would mean 2 days wasted waiting and sitting on a bus.

As I sat in the station and tried to figure things out a I was approached by a couple who told me they are going to hire a car and drive to Vancouver if I would like to split the bill with them and two law students from Toronto who were also going home to Vancouver. This was very unexpected but I could hardly say no to that. Off we set in our people carrier, Jim and his wife Colleen, Sandy, Tara and I.

The road journey through the edge of the Rockies into British Columbia followed the Thompson River to Kamloops. The Scenery turned from huge snow covered Rocky Mountains to green pastures of the Thompson River valley. Along this stretch of the road were bear, elk and deer dotted about. But farm animals including Llamas were most commonly seen.

We caught an efficient, quick bite to eat at the edge of Kamloops before heading along the Trans Canada Highway through into more tall mountains of the British Columbian Coast Mountains range. The Fraser River lead the way into Vancouver.

We dropped Sandy and Tara at their houses and then Jim, Colleen and I headed to their house where they offered me a room to stay for the night, which was great. I had not expected to arrive until 8am the following morning if I had taken the very slow train. I was glad to get a good night sleep after an early morning and very eventful day.

Related Pages

Travel Guide - Getting Around in Canada

Travel Diary

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