Honeymoon Lake – Columbia Ice fields Camp

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End Sep 06, 2010

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Where I stayed
Columbia Ice fields Campground

Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Friday, September 3, 2010

One never knows who you may 'bump' into when camping in the Canadian Rockies. We had set camp up and settled in pretty well eating hotdogs again and there was not much hope for anything different out here.  A large motorhome backed into the rustic site next to us and I was sure that the middle aged guy in bare feet trying to back the driver and another male passenger into the little site was different and perhaps gay but didn’t really pay it much attention.  Once settled, the older man (Byron) walked onto our site and gave James a model car.  Not sure why or what was up with that – only that is seemed a little strange.

My morning routine was pleasantly upset (gay or straight) when our neighbor (world famous crime reporter Byron Christopher) asked me from over some logs "how do you like your coffee".  After struggling unsuccessfully for an hour or so freezing my butt trying to start a fire and brew a coffee as the sun was coming up without many necessary ingredients to make coffee (like coffee!!) Byron’s question was music to my cold ears.  I simply replied “Yes Please” and 10 minutes later I was brought a large cup of steaming coffee freshly made in his big motorhome. 

By the time Byron brought me a coffee (and banana) I had made a fire big and warm enough for a party and so I had all three males from the next site huddled around the fire that I made enjoying the coffee Byron made while the rest of my family slept (the kids in the tent and Janice in the Van). 

Byron and I sat and chatted as I found him most fascinating as he could tell an amazing story no matter what the subject was.  I learned Byron Christopher was a crime reporter and had written and been featured all over North America.  While listening to some of his stories the man named David was hunting around unsuccessfully looking for matches to light his cigarette.  He came over and tried to light his cigarette in the fire (small inferno) by leaning over and putting his face toward the roaring flames.  David was sure he could bend over the fire and finally light his cigarette.   Unfortunately intense heat rises quickly and as I sat watching David keep trying to put his face toward the leaping flames and then pull back I was sure his hair was going to catch fire before his cigarette ever would.  Even as a non-smoker I suggested that he go down low and try to get a flame that way.  David bent over and was on his hands and knew stretching his neck as far as he could to the flame and heat of our campfire but it was still too hot.  I told him that I meant that he could either stick the cigarette into the ashes or pull a stick out to us as a light.  Finally he caught on and all was well and good as we continued to sip our coffee.

Just after coaching David to light his cigarette and he disappeared back to his site Byron asked me what I thought was a weird question “do you know who that is”?  I was immediately thinking ‘where is this going’ ?  We are in the middle of nowhere!

I said “no” and he said that is David Milgaard.  I didn’t clue in until Byron began to tell me the story………David Milgaard

  (In 1970, 16-year-old David Milgaard was sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1969 murder of 20-year-old Saskatoon nursing aide Gail Miller. After 23 years in prison, the Supreme Court of Canada set aside his conviction. Five years later he was cleared by DNA evidence and awarded $10 million. In the same year, Larry Fisher was found guilty of the rape and stabbing death of Gail Miller.)

I was not sure what to say so as Janice and the kids got up and had breakfast -  it was just another day.  The kids and I got cycling and left Janice to pack up our camp and meet us an hour or so down the road.  While on the road cycling I explained to the kids who we had camped with and they were all excited to tell their mom.

I was still fascinated with the stories Byron had told me or cycling quickly came and went.  Before we knew it we biked 27km uphill in 1 hour and 51 minutes at an average speed of14.5/km and were able to go as fast as 34km/hr.  That was enough………it was  tough day as I pulled Monique until she was even to tired to be pulled then it was James’s turn as the hills were too much for them to handle.  Sabrina and Sophia kept going but it was ‘strangely quiet’ on the longer hills.

Once we unpacked and set up our tents we hiked to ‘toe’ of Columbia Glazier where the wind was blowing so hard it felt like we could fly.

The Columbia Icefield Campground is located on the Ice Fields Parkway near the Columbia Icefields 106K South of the Jasper town site and approximately 112K North of Lake Louise. This campground has 33 tent only sites, water, dry toilets, camp kitchen-wood stove, fire pits and picnic tables. Fire wood is available for use in the camp kitchens and camp sites. This is Bear country, food and food related items must be stored properly. Columbia Icefield campground is used mostly by mountaineers who are climbing in the area. The campground is beautiful and possibly the nicest tents only vehicle access campground in the national parks. Views from here are stunning and It makes for an excellent tenters base camp if you want to spend a few days exploring the local area. Mount Athabasca, Mount Andromeda, Snow Dome, Mount Kitchener, Mount Wilcox, Athabasca Glacier, Columbia Ice Field, Wilcox Pass, Parker Ridge, Hilda Ridge, Boundary Lake and the Saskatchewan Glacier are all located near here. This area is absolutely beautiful and deserves a few days to explore. Parkers ridge located just before the campground is a short hike with outstanding views of the Saskatchewan Glacier below. The trail along Wilcox Creek behind the campground leads up the ridge to Wilcox Pass that provides unforgettable views of glaciated peaks, Mount Athabasca, Mount Andromeda, Athabasca Glacier and Snow Dome. Big Horn Sheep and Mountain Goats can also be seen throughout the area. The Wilcox Creek RV and tents campground is only 1K  to the South East. If your RV is over 10Meters, 30Feet then you should stay at the Icefields Centre RV campground or parking lot located 1K West of Here. This area would have to be considered the best of the Icefields Parkway. Don't forget your binoculars and hiking gear

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