June 27th: Reed Lake, SK to Dinosaur Provincial Park, AB – 420km
After leaving the campground, we stopped for lunch in Medicine Hat on the other side of the Alberta border. We were told to go take a look at the tallest tepee in the world and we did. This big steel structure was built as a way to remember the first alliances with native people.
Next destination was a place my mom really wants to see at some point: a valley with the highest density of dinosaur bones in the world protected as part of the Dinosaur Provincial Park. The view of this desert like valley in the middle of fertile fields was unusual. We took part of a 2h bus tour around the park as it is the only way to go into the conservation area. Our guide was from Quebec and told us many things about the park, dinosaurs, pictures as well as the Rockies where he had been working as a guide for the past 6 years.
June 28th: Dinosaur Provincial Park to Calgary – 335km
Nate joined another tour in the morning and I decided not to go. I went out for a run in the park, did my laundry and caught up with the blog. We left our campground around 2pm and I ran out of gas a few kilometers away from Brooks. I was trying to figure out if my full tank was twice the range of Nate’s tank. It turns out it is about 80km short. Nate had a small hand pump and tubes that we used to take some gas out of his tank. Then we headed to the dinosaur museum in Drumheller. We were told it was worth the trip and were both glad to be there. It was very instructive and for the first time, I realized that dinosaurs ruled the world for wayyy longer than humans have been on earth. I felt overwhelmed with all the information. Calgary was only less than 2 hours away. After unpacking our stuff and changing clothes in our first hotel, we went out. The bar we went to was a country bar with cowboys and cowgirls getting ready for Stampede. It was complete with country music, dancing cowgirls and mechanical bulls throwing people around. It was a great night!
June 29th: Calgary to Yoho National Park – 250km
Surprisingly, getting out of bed was harder than usual. After some planning on the internet, I left the hotel around lunchtime. Nate left earlier to go around the city and we were meeting on our way to Banff. We grabbed lunch in a truck stop and off we were to the Rockies. I have been hearing about them, Banff and Jasper National Parks since I’m a kid, but never had the opportunity to see them before. I was eager to finally get there. We wanted to sleep in Lake Louise, so we took Johnston Canyon instead of staying on Hyw 1 to whole time. It was a very cool ride and I saw my first grizzly of the trip. We arrived in the Lake Louise village and decided to go to Moraine Lake first. It was very scenic as expected and we took a few pictures before heading back to the village. There I was told that all campgrounds were taken and that I should try another park nearby called Yoho. It was in British Columbia, but only 15 minutes away so we headed that way. The information center told us there were still sites available near Takkakaw Fall. This was one of the places I really wanted to go so we gave it a shot. Ride up the river was really cool. We found a site and chatted for a few hours. I could not get tired of looking at that waterfall for some reason.
June 30th: Yoho National Park to Jasper National Park – 300km
Next morning, we decided to go for a hike up to Twin Falls. It was just awesome. We hiked for more than 4 hours and I couln’t get enough. We were surrounded by beautiful mountains, hiked next to two turquoise rivers and waterfalls were all over the place. Leaving our campground around 3pm, we headed back to Lake Louise to take some pictures after eating lunch close to the information center. Once again, it was a very scenic place that deserves to be an emblematic portrait of Canada. What followed was just unrivaled. The road up to Jasper called Icefield Parkway is the most scenic drive I have done so far. You are driving in valleys surrounded by mountains that never look the same. You go around one and cannot wait to see the next one. Again, rivers, waterfalls and scenic views. Arriving in Jasper, we could not find a place to camp as it was Canada Day the next day. We kept driving and ended up in the overflow campground which was basically a self-registration open space. It did the trick!
July 1st: Jasper National Park to Edmonton – 360km
After getting up late, we were on our way to Edmonton to join my friends Pierre-Alexandre and Michelle for Canada Day. I felt rushed to get there early as I have been telling Nate that I wanted to get there for that Day. After eating lunch at a festival in Hinton, we arrived in Edmonton around 5pm. My friends had been celebrating for most of the day already and were about to go back to their apartment. They came with us to a pub nonetheless to grab something to eat and drink. We then went back to the apartment to have a few drinks with their friends and watched the fireworks in town at sunset.