Rockies Camping & Bears In The Wild.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We are getting some strange looks I can tell you.

Wicked Campervans are an Australian invention. Old vans are painted up in bright colours and slogans (some rather rude, but funny) are painted on the back and sometimes the roof. The business has spread to quite a few countries and has recently arrived in the USA and Canada. While doing internet research for a cheap campervan we could only find large sized RV's at large sized prices, until we found that Wicked had an office here in Vancouver.

So we are sailing along the Canadian highways and byways in a van painted up with pirates, looking like a couple of aged hippies and soliciting lots of strange looks and giggles. Thankfully we have no outstandingly rude slogans just "Wind at me back, Bootie in me face!  Arr" on our back panel. “Is that your Halloween Vehicle?” we’ve been asked. Also when in shops or buying fuel  people have joked to each other about the van, not realizing we were the drivers. It causes quite a stir.

The van is comfortable with the basic needs of a cooking gas ring and utensils, table, chairs and bed. We didn’t even have to buy sleeping bags or pillows as some previous renters had bought new sleeping bags and used only for 3 days. They had since been washed by Wicked staff and were free to use. We just had to buy some pillow slips and we also bought towels and a hatchet. Wicked even threw in a GPS at no extra cost as the attachment piece was broken.

British Columbia and Alberta are just breathtakingly beautiful. After escaping a very wet Vancouver, the rain followed us through to Whistler several hours away, but gradually began to clear the further North we went. The snow capped mountains of Whistler made way to dry canyon country as we headed to our first night’s camp near Cache Creek. Whilst the rain had stopped by nightfall it turned bitterly cold and the first item on the agenda was to make a camp fire to sit by and celebrate our first night out camping.

The next day while travelling onwards toward the Rocky Mountains, we saw a sign for bear tours. We had not yet seen bears in the wild and this turned out to be the perfect opportunity. As we arrived at the Blue River tour boat landing, the boat was just leaving up the river and the (Australian!) tour ticket seller called the boat back by two-way to load us on too. Within 15 minutes bears had been located and we were watching them lumber around on the river bank foraging for food. We also saw a bald eagle swooping ducks quite close to us. The river was just gorgeous surrounded by high snow capped peaks and pine forests.

Our second night was the coldest of our whole trip. We stayed at Canoe Camping and enjoyed a hot shower but no matter how hard we tried, our camp fire just kept fizzling out due to the dampness in the wood, and we went to bed wearing quite a few clothing layers. In the morning a tea bag which had been left in a cup with a bit of tea was frozen into a solid ice-block in the cup. The cold night meant a glorious sunny day however and soon the cold was forgotten as we drove through massive snow capped peaks and sighted the amazing Mount Robson.

Crossing from British Columbia into Alberta just before lunch, we entered the Jasper National Park and the inimitable Rockies scenery began in earnest. The emotive sounding road, the Icefields Parkway, joins the towns of Jasper and Banff travelling right through the middle of both the Jasper and Banff National Parks and right alongside the Columbia Icefield which includes 30 glaciers.

Breathtaking and thunderous waterfalls, deep canyons caused by glacier melt, exceedingly tall snow capped mountains, glaciers close enough to almost touch, and aqua blue rivers and lakes all bombard the senses. It make's us feel we are so far from Australia and Australia’s scenery - and this is just the first Rockies National Park day!!  

Tourist Tip: The Blue River Boat tour cost 80 dollars each but delivered bears in the wild as promised. Contact: River Safari, Blue River, BC phone 250-673-2309

Footnote: Mount Robson Provincial Park and Jasper National Park are UNESCO World Heritage Listed under Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks.
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