Category Archives: Bighorn sheep

Day 14 Liard Hot Springs & off to the Yukon

Our starting mileage for the day was 5601 kilometres. Officially we had spent two weeks on the road. We had a couple destinations in mind, Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park, then Watson Lake Campground in the Yukon.

When we woke in the morning the temperature was only 7 Celsius, which is not what we were used to for the middle of July, but then again, we were in Northern British Columbia. As we headed back out to the highway to start our drive, the sun was shining bright, and by 10:20 a.m. the temperature had risen to 17 Celsius. On our drive, we saw quite a bit of wildlife, our bear count rose to eight, six black bears, and two brown bears.

Bighorn Sheep
Bighorn sheep Lamb
Reindeer
We happened upon a Reindeer taking a tinkle.
Two reindeers
Black Bear
Brown Bear

We arrived at Liard River Hot Springs around lunchtime, and our first thought, was we wished we had booked a campsite there! Sadly the campground was full, but we were still able to visit the hot spring. This hot spring was completely different from Miette Hot Springs, in that it is a natural spring. First you take a walk along a boardwalk through a boreal spruce forest before arriving at the spring which is also surrounded by the boreal forest. The water temperature ranges from 42 to 52 Celsius!

As you meander through the river, the leaves in the trees are rustling, there are birds fluttering around, singing to each other, and if you are lucky enough you may see a marmot sunning him/herself on the boardwalk, which we did!

Enjoying the hot spring at Liard River Hot Spring Provincial Park.
Enjoying the hot spring at Liard River Hot Spring Provincial Park. I was unable to enter the top of the hot spring, it was just far to hot for me.
The much cooler end of the hot spring.
The much cooler end of the hot spring.
A marmot
A marmot.

After swimming around in the hot spring, we were exhausted from the heat of the water, and smelled horribly of rotten eggs! The water does not have the most pleasant odor, but the heat makes up for it. We felt totally relaxed afterwards, and actually dreaded getting back in the car again, when we both just really needed a nap.

The drive to Watson Lake Territorial Campground, took us up through British Columbia, into the Yukon, back into British Columbia, then up to the Yukon again. Two different time zones along a very curvy stretch of highway.

Sign post forest Watson Lake, Yukon

We camped at site #29 at Watson Lake, the campsite was fabulous, but at the same time it felt like I was in the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds with the extremely watchful ravens and grey jays encircling us. The ravens observed every move we made, until they were satisfied we were not a threat to them. It was weird.

As I walked around the camp, I met a couple from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a talented woodcarver from Whitehorse.

Campsite at Watson Lake Territorial Campground
Campsite at Watson Lake Territorial Campground

Next destination – Whitehorse, Yukon.

Going north and back over to Alberta Day 12

We left our campsite at Kerkeslin and headed north, crossing back over into Alberta, mileage 4327 kilometres. Our goal was Miette Hot Springs and Saskatoon Island Provincial Park just outside of Grande Prairie.

First stop was Athabasca Falls, and we were not disappointed.

  • Top of the Athabasca Falls
  • Athabasca Falls
  • View of the roadway crossing the Athabasca Falls
  • Athabasca river churning through the rocks
  • View of walkways over the Athabasca Falls
  • Stairs beside the Athabasca Falls
  • On the stairs Athabasca Falls
  • The Athabasca River before descending the falls
  • The Athabasca River at the bottom of the falls.
  • The rapidly moving Athabasca River below the falls

Back on the highway we saw a coyote, two mountain goats, and a Bighorn sheep that appeared to be entertaining us.

  • Bighorn sheep
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Bighorn sheep

Still on the Icefields Parkway, we stopped along the road with other tourists to take a dip in the Athabasca River, I did not go in very far because oh my was it ever cold!

Matt wading into Athabasca River
Matt wading into Athabasca River, I did tempt to go in a bit, but the water was ice cold!
Icefields Parkway towards Jasper
Icefields Parkway towards Jasper

Next stop was Miette Hot Springs, the water was absolutely wonderful, this I did spend some time in, with a view of the Fiddle River Valley.

Miette Hot Springs
Miette Hot Springs

Before reaching Saskatoon Island Provincial Park, we made a quick stop at the Toyota dealer to buy some radiator fluid, we needed a top up because of all the driving we had been doing. We reached the park before dinnertime, to see snowshoe hares everywhere. Maybe due to the abundance of Saskatoon berries, a quick favourite of mine. I picked a large Tupperware container full, and they lasted a couple of weeks for me, a delicious addition to my morning porridge.

We were at site #93, and after quickly setting up our tent, having a bite to eat, we asked about the beach. We were told not to swim in the water you would get the “itch”. Apparently no one has been able to go in the lake for years due to blue-green algae and an abundance of leeches.

Campsite at Saskatoon Island Provincial park, site 93
Saskatoon Island Provincial park, campsite 93

Off to the Rockies, Day 11

The map above does not show are actual starting point, thus not giving out Nicole’s home address to the world. We did though take the Bow Valley Trail out of Calgary since it was more of a scenic route. After saying goodbye to Nicole, and watching a Magpie literally pick up some dog poop, then realizing what it was, dropped it square on her lawn furniture! As pretty as they are, they are apparently considered pests because there are just so many of them out west.

We were on the road by 7:30 a.m., mileage now 3944 kilometres, and since neither of us had been to the Canadian Rockies, we were quite excited. First we had some grocery shopping, and a stop at Canadian Tire for more camping supplies, and a new air mattress since ours had sprung a leak that we were unable to locate. As soon as we drove on to the highway, we were immediately distracted by the dog running all over the three lanes. Vehicles, thankfully all slowed right down, and a few of us tried to stop the dog by very slowly edging our cars closer to him. Matt then pulled our SUV over to the side of the road where I did get out, and tried with no luck to call the dog over. The dog eventually trotted off the road onto the hillside happy as a lark. He really looked as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

Finally towards the Rockies we went ,and as they came into sight, both of us were just in awe. The closer we came to them, it was like every view was a picture postcard.

Below are just a few pictures of the Rockies; these were actually taken through the front window of our SUV which my husband cleaned each time we stopped.

Once we reached the Rockies our next stop was Banff National Park, where all must pay an entrance fee even if you are just driving through, this fee is more than worth the price. We then headed up the Icefields Parkway towards Jasper National park where we set up camp for the night at Mount Kerkislin Campground on the Athabasca River. We were at site #30 of 42. This campground is a self-registration camp, and we soon learned it was best to start looking for a campground around 3 p.m. each day before all the best spots were taken. On the drive we saw our first Bighorn Sheep which were of course blocking traffic. We were quite a ways down the road, so I did exit the car to snap some photos.

Banff National Park
Banff the town
We naturally stopped in Banff for coffee.
  • Bighorn sheep on the roadway
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Bighorn Sheep
Our campsite at Mount Kerkislin campground
Our campsite at Mount Kerkislin campground.
Beside the Athabasca River Mount Kerkislin campground
After setting up camp we went for a hike, and found the Athabasca River not far behind where we set up our tent.

The following pictures were taking from the vehicle as we drove through the Rockies to our campsite. There wasn’t a site on the road that didn’t leave us awestruck.