Monday, May 23, 2016

2.5 KM Away from Alaska Highway – Dawson Creek Walmart

Bridal Veil Falls, Banff National Park

Bridal Veil Falls, Banff National Park 
Two days of travel has taken us from Banff to the Walmart just shy of Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway…560 miles of driving.  Hinton, AB, was pretty much in the middle of the drive, so that is why we stayed there last night…and I was so tired from driving through the rain, the snow, the mountains…don’t think I could have driven much further.  Above is one of the highlights of the drive in Banff headed for Jasper, Bridal Veil Falls.  To the right is a picture of the upper area of the falls…hidden in the clouds, which is the story of the day, along with the snow.

Falls coming off the cliffs, near Bridal Veil Falls, Banff National Park

A mile before Bridal Veil was this series of waterfalls…waterfalls that seem to have no name because they only appear for a short time.

Snowing, Banff National Park

It wasn’t much further away that we hit the snow in force.  Lucky for us, nothing was sticking on the ground…but it still makes for tougher driving conditions, and higher tension on Marcia’s nerves. 

Clouds hiding Mountains, Banff/Jasper National Park

Here you can see what we were dealing with all day long…

Bear (really, follow arrow), Jasper National Park

Here is our last bear sighting, just as we entering the Jasper (town) area.  And if you thought that sighting was bad…

Bighorn Sheep, Jasper National Park

Here are four of the six Bighorn Sheep we saw as we entered the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre as we entered Jasper National Park.  Amazingly, people were still taking the Icefield Tour…bet those pictures all turned out well. Winking smile    


It was such a hard days driving, Skruffy volunteered to take over.


Asked Marcia what she thought of it, and she said, “Couldn’t be any worse than what you have been doing.”  Even Skruffy got a kick out of that one.


Asked Bubba, and he said he could sleep through anything.  Well, I decided to keep driving myself...but thanks for asking Skruffy.

Headed out of Hinton to catch Highway 40

Today was a totally different day…the storm clouds still lingered up in the high mountains of upper Jasper National Park, but we had blue skies.  Went into Hinton to get gas, and sure enough, little to no snow on the ground in Hinton.  Back tracked, which is when we got this picture, to Highway 40, and headed for Dawson Creek.

Highway 40 near Hinton

They advertise this route as the “Scenic Way to Alaska”, which is a bit of hype considering most people just drove from Banff to Jasper…but it did have its scenic areas.

Highway 40 near Hinton

A better advertisement might be, “The road which will prepare you for all the rough patches along the Alaska Highway.”  It sure had its moments today…had to give it a break in Grande Prairie, AB because it was giving Marcia such a headache with all the jolts.  At one point they were working on this bridge, and had created a temporary dirt road which lead down 4 feet and back up 4 feet right next to where the bridge was be built.  With all this rain and snow the past few days, it gives on a moment of “should I”, followed by, “what are my choices”.   We made it through just fine, hope the four RVs going the other way (we just beat them, and it is only one vehicle at a time) made it ok.

River along Highway 40

Rivers seemed to be the theme of today.  Lots of trees, lots of hills, and lots of river sightings.

Smokey River, Highway 40    Kakwa River, Highway 40
Smokey River, Highway 40

For about 50 miles before Grande Prairie, and for a good 30 miles, there were lots and lots of Pine Trees, and areas where they had harvested them.  We also saw many what seemed to us as Natural Gas, but possibly oil, holding tanks, and lots of trucks which seemed to be hauling it out of the area.  Saw a few logging trucks, and just before the city saw a huge lumber yard.  With all these heavy trucks along the highway, the roadway was definitely messed up from all of this…and little signs that they (Government) was doing much about repairing it. 

Highway 40     Highway 40

Personally I found much of the drive between Hinton and Grande Prairie to be a familiar one…lots of hills similar to the hills along the Sierra Nevada.  Yet these hills have lots of trees, which was refreshing.  However, I love driving Highway 49 in California along the foothills…so rich in California mining history, and well, that area was not far from my native home.

West of Grande Prarie

As we headed west from Grande Prairie to Dawson Creek, you quickly see how Grande prairie got its name.

West of Grande Prarie

It was refreshing to see a bit of farming of things besides trees.  No problem on my end with trees as a crop, but there is something about man working the ground, planting, harvesting all within the same year…or in some cases, many crops per year.  We had not seen much of this since we left Idaho.

So we are in Dawson Creek.  Tomorrow we will get a RV park for a day or two, and then we will start out on the Alaska Highway.


  1. There were many times I didn't think I would make it ... deep washes to go through, narrow rickety bridges ... I just went really slow and luckily made it. At least they have the equipment to pull you out if need be!! Some of those downhills were a little dicey too!! Are you having fun yet??? Hope the weather clears up soon.

    1. Fun does not fully explain i, you know that... And you are much wider, longer and taller than we are, I think it will be easier for us when we hit those tight spots. I was surprised how these steep upgrades would come along without any warning whatsoever, and no area to pull over if someone is behind you, but with less traffic I guess they don't want to spend the dollars to create turnouts. Weather will good till Thursday when we will get some rain for a day.

    2. I remember at one point on the Alaska Highway when the washboards were so bad and I was telling my hubby to Please Slow Down and he replied, "if I go any slower, I'll be stopped". Marcia, I know how you feel. I'm loving your brings back so many memories.

  2. Snow!!! Yikes! It looked like that person was awfully close to that wild bear. I'm really enjoying your trip.

    1. Yes, that person was WAY TOO CLOSE to that bear. What if there was a cub with it?? Had it turned and ran toward him, as he was trying to focus, how long would it have taken for him to realize it??? Both of us thought about all this as we drove on.


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