I think the days of grabbing the kids, the dog and a tent to go camping for a weekend are sadly gone. My son and I decided to book our vacation at the same time this year on the chance we just might do something or go someplace we have never been before. After some nudging on my part I talked him into a road trip up to the Canadian Rockies for a few days. We chose the day after the Labor Day Weekend so we would not be ambushed by a million other people and we could have a nice quiet relaxing time. Upon embarking on our journey I also brought Dyna, the dog. That is what families do and Dyna is part of our family.
We left on the Monday as I wanted to see how many people were making the trip back to their homes after their long weekend. It was kinda funny looking at the long line of traffic on the opposite side of the road. There were ridiculously long lines of huge RV’s pulling boats, trailers and other toys that people feel they can’t live without. Our side of the road had only a scattering of vehicles heading up into the mountains. We on the other hand had a minimum of camping supplies. Things we decided we needed for our own comfort. A tent, two air mattresses, sleeping bags, a pillow each, a cooler with some basic foods and a couple changes of clothing.
Upon recommendations from a couple gals at work I chose a place called Castlegar BC, to be our spot in the mountains. I googled the campsite and it sounded just what the doctor ordered. I checked the weather on the online weather network before we left. One day was supposed to have a few rain showers, so we brought our e-readers if we got stuck in the tent for any length of time. No phones as neither of us owns a cell phone. No internet. Nothing we needed to plug into a power source.
It was an eight hour drive but we took lots of pit stops to stretch and the scenery was unbelievable. But here is where the problem started. The Weather. It rained so many times on the trip up there we stopped counting at five. We thought, this is not going to be fun!
Once we got to our destination it was about four in the afternoon and the lovely lady at the campgrounds said they had only got about 10 raindrops the whole day. Well that sounded promising! When I told her I wanted a tent site for 3 nights she looked at me like I was crazy and I swear she was looking at me like I was gonna be trouble. Uh-Oh! But she told me where the site would be and hey it had electric hook up if we needed it. I told her we didn’t but she insisted. Well we went to the site and promptly turned around and went back to the office. She had us stuck in between two huge RV units loaded with dirt bikes and several cars and trucks parked all around so we could barely see the campsite never mind the trees. She could not understand why we wanted a tent site with just a bit of privacy and somewhere we could see the trees, not the side of an RV. She finally gave in and gave us a lovely little spot with only one RV parked a short distance away. Below is an image I found online of the actual site where we pitched the tent. Of coarse I forgot to take a photo of our own tent. But that is exactly where we were.
The weather was looking sort of promising but we got that tent set up in about 20 minutes flat just in case. We were hungry and wanted to have a fire going before it got too dark so we could cook a couple hot dogs and some corn on the cob. Chris went back down to the office to see if they had firewood as it said they did on their website. But the lovely lady disappeared and did not answer the bell. So off we went into town and bought some wood at the local 7-11. Well we got the fire built and food cooked in the dark. I sliced off half of one knuckle using a really sharp knife trying to cut a branch that we would be roasting our weenies on. Chris had to drive back into town for first aid stuff. Our landlady made an appearance and asked us where we got the fire pit and the firewood from. That was very strange! She once again gave us a distrusting look, walked over to one of the nearby cabins and turned the porch light on and left it on the whole time we were there. It certainly felt like we were being watched!
Well we climbed into the tent and slept like a couple of logs. It was pretty chilly and it only rained for part of the night!
The next morning was a cereal breakfast of champions. Chris with his Froot Loops and me with my Captain Crunch. Dyna was not happy at all and refused to eat anything offered to her. Since the weather was still gloomy and we could see no trail to do a little walk about, we drove into town to check it out in the daylight. Well needless to say it was kinda boring there. So back to the campsite where it started to rain and stayed raining all stinking day. There was a break in the weather around supper time so we lit another fire for cooking and made it back into the tent, then it proceeded to rain all night long.
OK we had enough and as soon as daylight hit we packed it up. Before we left though we went for a walk around the outskirts of the campground to see if I could take some photos of the beautiful scenery. There was absolutely no wildlife except a ton of bunnies that all scampered away by the time the sun came up. We heard one owl on our first night and seen 2 chipmunks!
In the photos below I wanted to show you what we could see from the outskirts of the campgrounds. As you can see it was pretty cloudy. As a matter of fact we were so high up we actually were in the clouds. The first photo is the view I saw as soon as I crept out of the tent on the first morning.
Now in the next few photos this beautiful view was ruined the second you looked down. Or for that matter, I had to climb over a few things to get the shot of the mountains.
I tell you right now if we had of driven a truck there, I would have been bringing what is in the next photo, plus a few other pieces of junk home with me. As it turned out I only brought a rusty old hinge home. Chris was not impressed with me or the junk.
Anyway we jumped into the car and scooted out of there. But the weather was changing and on the way out we passed through a town that I just fell in love with and decided if the sun stayed out we would pitch our tent again so we could check the town out. It was called Creston BC. and it had loads to offer!
It was full of artisans, fruit orchards, a winery, a brewery, a wildlife center and even an area where wild turkeys roamed and ran wild all over the place. Now we were talking! But as it turns out, on the way there the weather seemed to take a turn again. Well it turned every time we even mentioned pitching the tent. So we decided to visit the wildlife center anyway and walked around in a bit of a drizzle looking not so happy. Dyna was feeling pretty glum also! I did get a couple of photos of the wildlife we seen while we were there.
One turtle and one woodpecker! 17,000 acres of wildlife and this is what we seen.
We made ourselves a sandwich while at the center and decided we would just head home as this was getting depressing.
On the drive down the mountain we started feeling better about our decision and we turned into a beautiful provincial park. Well here we go again. The sun was up and we thought maybe the tent might come up. We ran and got some info on the park and drove around. Here were the rules. Tents were only allowed in certain areas and none of those were on a grassy area and dogs could not be walked along the river bank. WHAT!!!
Off we went again, we drove away. Plus it started drizzling again while we were there!
We hit another beautiful viewpoint from the side of the road and pulled over. It was stunning!
But alas I should never look down!
There was a total of 4 broken lawn chairs and a crap load of garbage dumped over the rail of this particular viewpoint. I was curious to see what was written on this one piece of garbage so I did some editing so I could read it. Apparently someone wanted to share some Canadian Love.
We kept on driving until we seen something we liked to take some photos. We did see a huge black bear standing straight up on two feet, then a train scared it away before I could get a shot of it. Then a young deer jumped out and almost hit us. Chris had some fancy driving to do there, it missed us by mere inches. I was too busy having a heart attack to take a picture!
Driving along we came to a place called Franks Slide. There once was a small mining town called Frank. In 1903 part of the mountain came sliding down and buried the whole town under masses and masses of huge boulders. Between 70 and 90 people are still buried under the boulders. I just didn’t have the heart to take any photos and I certainly did not want to look down. However I did want to show you a couple of photos of the difference of just a couple miles between the British Columbia side and the Alberta side of the mountains. The top photo is in British Columbia the second photo is Alberta.
What a difference just a couple miles can make in this stunning and very diverse country of ours!
We now have left the mountains behind so I thought I would take a few final snapshots before the trip was almost done. Wind Turbines are a very controversial topic. But I love them and with the mountains in the background they make quite an interesting photo.
The rest of the trip was pretty dull and our butts were killing us. We started talking about the trip and ended up laughing so hard at all the weird things that happened to us on the trip. Chris almost hit another vehicle. Hell, we had to pull over till we could stop laughing. Would we do it again. The vote is still out on that one! But we didn’t throw the tent out, so who knows!