Yesterday we started a couple of what I call "transfer days", driving out of Banff towards Vancouver with a stop at Cache Creek, somewhere in the Cascade Mountains before finally landing at Don and Barbs (relatives of the Ackermans) town at Chilliwak, about an hour East of Vancouver.
We were all sad at Leaving Banff, a great town in the heart of some magnificent, jaw dropping scenery. The Fox Inn hotel is a very good place to stay if you pass this way.
we travelled North for a while and encountered our first bear:
a big bugger, looking slightly interested in the tourists and pondering whether the leap over the fence onto the highway would be worth the risk for a light snack.
We watched him for a while, but when the traffic jam got too silly we moved on, via Lake Louise (to see if the ice had melted)
answer = no.
before heading West to Cache Creek via Kamloops for the night with a stop or two to admire the scenery and stretch the legs:
Today, we continued along highway 97, or was it 1 Des (or 97C Laurie)? Anyway, to much amusement from the back, Des and Laurie headed off back towards Kamloops, even after Paul "I haven't even looked at the map" in the back muttered something like "we need to drive past the Sandman Motel to get the way we need to go, it feels right to me".
I had to bite my tongue hard so as not to say "I told you so" when we went past the Sandman Motel following our U-turn after 10 minutes of going back the way we had arrived the night before. I must admit, the slightly heated discussion at the front did keep us passengers somewhat amused for a while.
Actually, the reason I shut my mouth was because both Des and Laurie have done a sterling job with the driving so far, and have shown incredible stamina at the wheel hour after hour.
Anyway, after a couple of hours, we arrived at Hells Gate, a well known tourist spot round these parts. Almost immediately, my mother was overwhelmed by the sheer grandeur of the valley with the cascading torrent of the Fraser River below, and she felt very small in the surroundings:
The trip down the gorge on the gondola:
gave us spectacular views of the rapids below.
There were plenty of photo opportunities to snap the river and gorge, even down through the iron grid of the bridge below our feet:
a sight my mother found hard to stomach.
A great place to stop and wonder at the power of nature:
yes, as the REM song says, that's me in the middle....
oh, and i forgot to mention, gone are the winter clothes, we're in our shorts and T-shirts, wondering when the mosquitos are going to make an appearance now that the weather has warmed up by 20 degrees.