Day 18, Meziadin Lake Provincial Park to Beaumont Provincial Park, British Columbia

Mileage 7493.7 km

On the morning of day 18, we awoke to a message from our son to call him. Now our son is never one to call unless it is important, so mom’s worrying was on high. There was no cell service at the park, but I had paid for a wifi connection the day before, so we had to use Facebook Messenger to try and contact our son. This was not an optimal connection, but enough to find out what had happened.

Before leaving for our trip, we had put together a number of bags of clothing that the son was supposed to drop off at the donation centre, in the meantime they were left on our front porch. Sometime during the night, a couple of teenage/young adult males had went through all the clothing, laying some of it on the railing. They tore down our Canadian Flag pole with the flag still attached, and took it with them when they left. One of them, dropped a cigarette on some newspaper flyers which had been thrown on our steps. This cigarette butt thus set the paper on fire, which set the steps on fire. How the entire house did not go up in flames, can only be attributed to the fact it had rained a lot and everything was pretty wet, either way, four out of our five porch steps were destroyed.

Now we have neighbours from hell, who are also not that smart. She and her husband had smelled smoke during the night, but decided we were having an illegal bonfire in our yard, and did not call the fire department, (weeks later when my husband and I returned home, I had quite the argument with her, as to why on earth she didn’t check where the smoke was coming from, especially since in the over fifteen years we have lived beside each other, we have never once had a bonfire in our yard! I was beyond upset, because the outcome could have been so much worse, if our house had gone up in flames with our son and his friend sleeping in the back upstairs bedrooms).

When our son woke up at 6:40 am to go to work, he immediately noticed the burnt porch steps. He phoned the police, who in turn called the fire department to assist in determining whether or not this was a case of arson. Sadly the culprits were never found.

It was around 9:30 am when we finally started travelling again. One thing we noticed in the interior of British Columbia was the lack of signage, so after driving for 2.5 kilometres, we were unsure if we were travelling south, so we turned around and went back a few kilometres, then turned around again, going back another few kilometres before we finally saw a sign – we had been driving the right way the first time. Oh what a morning we were having!

It was late in the day when we made it to Beaumont Provincial Park site #24. There was another Bear warning for the area, but he/she was more interested in the abundant supply of Saskatoon berries. Instead we could be concerned about the Western Thatch Ant, if you disturbed their nest which can be five to six feet wide or more, and as tall or taller than I (5’6”). The ant will bite you, if it feels threatened. Thankfully we somehow picked the only campsite that did not have a Western Thatch Ant nest, but did have plenty of Saskatoon berries! I filled as many Tupperware containers as I could of the berry which I found to be delicious.

Beaumont Provincial Park campsite
Beaumont Provincial Park, campsite #24.
Western Thatch Ant nest
Western Thatch Ant nest.
Western Thatch Ant newsletter
Western Thatch Ant warning.
Western Thatch Ant nest
Western Thatch Ant nest.
The lake at Beaumont Provincial Park.
The lake at Beaumont Provincial Park.
Another view of the lake at Beaumont Provincial Park.
Another view of the lake at Beaumont Provincial Park.

Day 13 Stone Mountain Provincial Park, Summit Lake Campground

Starting mileage 4847 kilometres. It was a long drive today, roughly seven and a half hours but as usual the scenery was beautiful. As we crossed over back into British Columbia we gained an hour. The past few days, going from Alberta to British Columbia back to Alberta, changing time zones, we gave up keeping track of time. On this trek we saw an extremely large beaver in Beaverlodge, Alberta, and had some fun. We also came upon a very large Inukshuk.

Matt kissing the beaver
Matt kissing the beaver, Beaverlodge, Alberta
Looking up at the Beaver
Matt looking up at the Beaver, where you can get an idea of the height of the structure.
Catherine and the Beaver
My turn to have my picture taken with the giant beaver.
Matt and the Inukshuk
Matt and the Inukshuk

Back on the road, the highway came closer to the mountainside, it was an area known for landslides, thankfully we did not see one actually occur.

Mountain beside the highway
Mountain beside the highway, in an area known for landslides.

Looking at the map, our goal was Northern Rocky Mountain Provincial Park, and being quite late in the day, we stopped at the first campsite along the side of the road, literally. Summit Lake Campground, located in Northern Rocky Mountain Provincial Park is just off the highway facing an enormous stony mountain. There are a total of twenty-eight campsites, and we were at #7. We arrived in the rain, and there were no tall trees to attach the tarp to, so Matt ended up being pretty darn inventive, attaching the tarp to the car, then to the picnic table, using the shovel to raise it up on the table, giving us some shelter from the rain.

Our tent among the trailers
Our tent covered with a blue tarp. All the sites filled up quickly with trailers. We were the only crazy people with a tent, but again, what a view!
Stone Mountain Provincial Park Summit Campground
Stone Mountain Provincial Park Summit Campground. This was our site where the lone picnic table is, with a view of the highway, and the stone mountain.
Stone Mountain Provincial Park Summit Lake Campground
Stone Mountain Provincial Park Summit Lake Campground

This was another self-registration park. I, of course put the envelope in the incorrect box, thus wrote a note to insert in the correct box, explaining my mistake. The park warden came around later to collect the fees, and sell firewood to those lucky ones already at the park. Those who came later, were out of luck, and you could tell by the many unhappy faces, they were not impressed. The park warden came close to kicking out two males, who had collected wood from the area. He threatened them with eviction if they did not return every piece to where they found it, carefully watching their every move. Of course they didn’t pay either, so eviction was even closer, lucky for them, he took their money and let them stay. The next campground was hundreds of miles away.

As we had a sat around our glowing fire, we cooked a wonderful dinner of turkey medallions wrapped in bacon with some cheese tortellini.

Dinner of turkey medallions wrapped in bacon with tortellini.
Dinner of turkey medallions wrapped in bacon with cheese tortellini.

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