One Of The Most Beautiful Places On Earth

Trip Start Aug 25, 2008
Trip End Sep 2008

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Where I stayed
Don and Paddy's

Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Thursday, September 4, 2008

I packed up my home onto the motorcycle and put in a quick call to Steve. He had worked on times and distances and would ride up into Banff National Park from his home in Sundre and I'd head up from Fort Steele through the Kootenay National Park and on into Banff. We arranged to meet at Castle Junction around noon.

I headed north, stopping to buy gas in the town of Radium Hot Springs; the name testimony to the geologically active nature of the area. Radium is a beautiful, if somewhat touristy town just outside the entrance to Kootenay National Park. I stop at the entrance to the park to pay the entry fee then proceed through narrow canyon walls into the park. There are periodic rain showers but I prepared for that probability when I left camp so I keep going. The overwhelming, and very sad impression I'm left with of Kootenay is kilometer after kilometer (I'm in Canada -- everything's in metrics) mountainside after mountainside covered with dead trees. I've seen the results of the pine beetle or bark beetle in my local mountains in San Bernardino County. But there it's a mixture of live trees and dead ones. Here they're all dead. Later, after I meet Steve, he tells me that although the dead trees could be harvested for lumber; the lumber is still good. But with the housing collapse in the United States the market for building materials has also collapsed and there's no market for all the lumber. So all the dead trees just cover the mountainsides. Steve also said that one of the reasons for the proliferation of the beetle is the fact that the last number of years it hasn't gotten cold enough for long enough to kill the beetle. In the past winters were colder which controlled the beetle.

Steve and I meet at Castle Junction and ride together up the Icefields Parkway. It's cold and rainy and as we ascend the rain turns to snow. The temperature gage on the bike says it's 2C (36F). Once again I'm grateful for the electrics but disappointed that cloud are hiding the scenery. Eventually the weather lets up and Steve is patient with me as I continually pull over to try to capture the majesty that surrounds me. This absolutely is overwhelming beauty that the camera cannot begin to capture but here are some of my attempts.

We leave the park on Highway 11. Steve will continue on home to Sundre and I pull off between the towns of Rocky Mountain House and Caroline to the home of friends Don and Paddy
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bruxi on

Really nice pictures
These pictures are marvellous! Taking these pictures surrounded by this landscape must be a breathtaking experience.
Enjoy your trip and take care


graybeard on

Re: Really nice pictures
Hey, Bruxi! I'm glad you made it here and you're enjoying it. It is, indeed a breathtaking experience. One I'm enjoying immensely. But I know that you're very familiar with the feeling!

graybeard on

Re: Hello
Hi, Bev! Thanks! I really wanted to, as much as possible, let you see through my eyes. I appreciate knowing you get that feeling.

graybeard on

Re: Absolutely speechless!
Thanks, Diane. You're spot on the money that there's so much the camera can't capture. I try, though. And Travelpod must like them, too. They just notified me that a couple of my shots will be a 'featured' picture on their homepage at some point in the future!

The snow didn't stick to the ground so I was just riding in the wet. Something I've gotten a lot of experience with on this trip!

Linda Davidson on

These pictures are incredible. I love clouds rolling along the mountains like in these pictures. Very enjoyable

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