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Published: September 29th 2009
Sorry to be boring but its been another 5 days of riding through stunning scenery on nice twisty roads with no humorous little mishaps to report. The first few hundred miles were through the forested mountains at the southern end of the Stewart-Cassiar Highway and we couldn't move for bears. There were loads of them at the road side including some very cute cubs peaking over the top of the ditch to see if it was safe to cross the road. We got rather too close for comfort to one bear - as we came round one nice sweeping bend a rather large grizzly came dashing out of the bushes on the other side of the road and galloped across the road in front of us. With a lots of hard braking we just managed to miss its rear end with only an inch to spare. The bear obviously through it was a bit too close for comfort as well and he turned round to snarl at us before disappearing into the bushes. Occasionally, for a bit of variety the bears, were replaced by moose or elk having a snack on the grass verges.
As we approached Prince George the
bears were replaced by cars. This was a bit of a shock, we are not used to having to share the road with other vehicles and it took us a while to re-adjust and get back into the swing of over taking. Then we had to cope with driving through a real town with traffic lights, MacDonalds, etc etc - all a bit too much after the last two weeks of nice little one-horse towns.
From here it was onto Jasper and the stunning scenery of the Rockies. We went for a stroll up to the alpine meadows round Mount Edith Cavell and they were in full flower and incredibly pretty with a host of flowers in a vast range of colours. As you stroll along you can here whistling echoing around the valley but when you look round you cant see anyone anywhere near. - very spooky. Eventually we realised it was the hoary marmots which is why they have the nickname whistlers (and why Mount Whistler is so named).
Continuing south we head down the Icefields Parkways for more sweeping bends with a new spectacular views round each one. We used up a whole memory card
on the various waterfalls, glaciers and amazing coloured glacial lakes. Crossing the Continental Divide and dropping down through Kootenay National Park, on yet another twisty, winding road we headed for Radium Hot Springs with visions of little natural pools, surrounded by pine trees where you can relax with a cold beer whilst gazing out at the mountains. It wasn't quite like that; it was more like your local paddling pool tucked between the cliff face and main road. The only alternative was to drown our sorrows in the only pub in town.
Then for a whole day we had no mountains or pine trees as we wound our way through the wide open prairies with their large cattle herds and giant hay bales. For a quick culture top up we did a detour to Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump where, for 6,000 years, the native indians drove the buffalo herds over the cliff to top up their winter store cupboards. Then of course the Europeans arrived with guns and a 6,000 year tradition disappeared overnight.
Now we are back in the mountains at Waterton National Park ready to cross into the US tomorrow. The biggest hazard here is
Mt Edith Cavel
avoiding the deer on the way to the pub - they are everywhere keeping all the lawns in town nice and short.
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