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Week 4 of 14 - Edmonton, Jasper, Columbia IceFields, Banff

We've been gone a full month! I haven't travelled for a month since well before my children were born. Here's a few truths about longterm small trailer travel. 1) Long hot showers don't exist. 2) Clean laundry is as exciting as a strong and free wifi signal. 3) Everything you need in life can actually fit into a 21 foot tin can....and I bet I can still purge so much of what's in here.

Ive been to the Rockies a handful of times in my life, and every time they get me! I always think that they won't, but they do! Its amazing to watch my girls see them for the first time and gasp at all the much raw, wild beauty.

This week has been another good one. It started with a quick visit to another Judson household and some much needed catch up. We parked our trailer on the street in suburban Edmonton and slept for the night under the street lights while plugged in to our cousin's house. Unfortunately, spent the two following nights in an industrial area trailer park. A nice reminder to spend the extra 10 minutes to research where we are going (duh). It was basically a trailer parking lot. Nearly all occupants worked on the oil rigs. The diesel engines revved at 5-6 am each morning and then the park was pretty much emptied. The weather was gross and it was the first time I didn't take a picture of our campsite. Edmonton itself seemed a beautiful city, however. As this virus presses on though, I'm so much less interested in travelling to the big cities, like I used to be. It was strange going from Saskatoon where no masks were required anywhere, to Alberta where sometimes no one is wearing one in a store, or other times you're required to wear one in the street. As much as I will remember all the great things happening on this trip, I will certainly remember the fact that we did this during a pandemic. It's so sad to see how the country has changed because of it. One thing I hope is that the girls remember what the world was like BEFORE covid. It wasn't perfect, but it was certainly better.

Ok, fast forwarding to the part about the mountains now....

The second we became close to Jasper the air smelled differently, and there was that mountain freshness that could never get old for me. We visited the immense park and town of Jasper, had a field trip to the Planetarium and eventually moved SouthEast toward The Columbia Icefields and Banff. Ive always wanted to see the icefields. So small compared to what they were 100 years small compared to what they were even in the 90s. It dawned on me that someday my girls may bring their own children on this same trip and those glaciers may be reduced to nothing worth stopping to see. Aside from this flashing neon reminder of the human impact on nature, this part of the world seems otherwise visibly untouched. The wildlife is so abundant that the Elk are running about in the town of Banff (still the case from another visit I had 22 years ago) and campers and hikers are warned about daily grizzly sitings. In fact yesterday, on our hike up Tunnel Mountain, we were a bit frightened by the God-awful sound of a male Elk (a bull) groaning his mating call. Trust me when I say it's a terrifying sound and one you don't want to hear while you're on a narrow and steep path on the side of a mountain with your kids. I thought at first it was a grizzly, then remembered the warning about the bulls being in heat now (...What? Isn't it the female who goes into heat???).

We have been feeling the wildfires burning in Washington here. Weather has called for clear skies the last two days but we have this blue-grey hue in the air. When I checked the air quality, sure enough it is labelled as "poor" due to forest fires in the NorthWestern part of the States. Yuck! So much for the mountain freshness that we had during our first few days here. I hope they are able to control the fires soon. Sad to think of all the devastation that's happening right now South of here.

Thats all for this week. We are on our way to Lake Louise tomorrow and Revelstoke after that. We are way ahead of schedule by the way. Can't seem to be able to reserve anywhere more than 1-2 days. Camping is very booked up everywhere in this area. Apparently many booked their dates a year ago, so my two-days-in-advance-booking is getting us the undesirable sites leftover and just for a couple nights, forcing us to continue moving all the time. That's the only real issue we've had so far (knock on wood please) and its pretty minor. On the good side of things, I couldn't ask to have better travellers in my company. My kids are really good while travelling. They are curious and easily made content. I remember discussing with Andrew while my stomach was stretched to oblivion about what we'd do if it turned out we had a couple of little jerks on our hands. Not the case. We are so very blessed. It is because they are such great kids, that we are able to make this trip possible. We are enjoying every minute. Oh and an honourable mention goes to Sadie. She's pretty awesome too!

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