We crossed the Montana border and entered Alberta, Canada. Finally, we were in new territory, never having been in this Province before. (You can go to the Diary’s “Roads We Have Traveled” page to find links to our previous Canadian posts from Ontario and Quebec, to the Eastern Provinces and Newfoundland.) Crossing the border we also lost our Internet access. I had researched switching out the SIM card to a Bell card that would work on our iPad, but when it came time to do it they wanted a Canadian ID number for a credit check to get a month-to-month plan. We will be depending on McDonalds and Tim Hortons to provide our online access when we are in the Provincial and National Parks. We have gone without before. As long as the bills can get paid, we will survive.
Western Alberta is beautiful. The Great Plains turn into rolling plains and foothills as they approach the Rockies. The wind is crazy, it rarely stops. We spent a lot of time tightening down the canoe which kept being buffeted loose by the wind. We camped at Beauvais Lake Provincial Park, near Pincher Creek. The lake was somewhat protected from the wind, the trout fishing was good and we were centrally located for excursions to Waterton National Park (on the Montana border, a continuation of Glacier National Park,) Head-Smashed-in Buffalo Jump (see post about that here,) and the Frank slide (in 1903 half a mountain fell down onto the mining town of Frank, killing close to 70 people and burying the town forever.) We had lots of wildlife encounters. Two mornings we had a bear wandering around the campsite. It made us glad we were not in a tent.
We then headed west through Crowsnest Pass, across the Rockies, into British Columbia. We stopped in Fernie to pick up some groceries and were in awe at the views this alpine-like town enjoys. We stayed at Kikomun Provincial park, on the shores of Koocanusa Lake. Fishing was not as good as we had at Beauvais Lake, but the weather was warmer, the winds were gone and you couldn’t beat the scenery. We relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. Next we head north into the heart of the Canadian Rockies, and one of the high points of the trip, as we explore Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper National park.