Tuesday, November 11, 2008

September 2008 Road Trip (45)

September 2008 Road Trip
Day 1 September 13

Yes - we do like our road trips. And there seems to be a trend where we put Craig on a plane one day, and a few days later take off for a holiday! This time, we put him on a plane on September 11 and we left on our trip September 13.

As usual, we didn't have detailed plans, only the idea that we would head west with the ambition of eventually getting to Seattle and Vancouver Island. Our first stop would be Kelowna and Peachland. We loaded up our little Mazda 3 hatchback with as many of Eric's belongings as we could stuff into the little car and off we went.

Most of you would know that Calgary is on the east side of the Rockies, and Kelowna and points beyond are on the west side. This meant that we had to drive through the mountains on our first day. If the weather is bad, this can be challenging and downright dangerous. But as you'll see, the weather was terrific and we had a very nice drive.

Many of the pix were taken while driving - I snapped them through the windshield. Considering that - they didn't turn out too badly!

Just outside of Calgary - mountains in the distance.

Mount Yamnuska.

This mountain is the result of a thrust from the Mcconnell Fault. This resulted in there being 80 million year old rock in the face of its cliff and 8 million year old rock at the scree slopes near its base. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Yamnuska

(I don't know the names of most of the mountains, but I do this one.)

Exshaw limestone quarry and the Lafarge cement plant. This has been here since I can remember. They continue to cut into the mountain to mine the limestone. Exshaw is a small town just east of Banff/Canmore.


By now we are just in the park gates at Banff National Park.

These are the wildlife overpasses constructed over the highway to allow wildlife to cross the highway without being killed by traffic. The highway has been fenced on either side all through the park (Banff National Park) so the animals cannot go onto the highway, so these overpasses have been constructed for them. Apparently they work, as more are being built, as you will see in the following pix.

Wildlife overpass under construction.

Train by the highway.

Near Field. Now we are into British Columbia.
Craig likes this place as it is known in paleontological circles for the Burgess Shale which is located up on one of these mountains.

Over the past few years A LOT of construction has taken place on this particular stretch of the Trans Canada Highway. It was formerly extremely windy and dangerous with serious accidents happening there every year. It has been straightened, and the Kicking Horse Canyon now has a very impressive bridge over it. It's still pretty new, so hard to say if the number of accidents will be reduced (mostly people should just drive more carefully).
Here is the bridge, looking back. When you go over it, you'd never know - at least in our small car, we couldn't see over the side of the bridge - maybe in a taller vehicle you'd be able to get a view. I expect the high sides are an intentional design feature to minimize driver distraction.
Kicking Horse Pass, elevation 1627 m, straddles the CONTINENTAL DIVIDE on the BC-Alberta border, 10 km west of LAKE LOUISE. Sir James HECTOR and a party of the PALLISER EXPEDITION explored the pass in 1858. The peculiar name derives from an incident in which Hector was kicked in the chest by a packhorse. The pass was selected as the route for the transcontinental CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY, despite its severe inclines; construction was completed in 1884. The steep rail grades of 4.5% on the BC side of the pass were lessened to 2.2% by construction of Spiral Tunnels (1909), now a popular tourist attraction. The pass, which connects Yoho and Banff national parks, is also crossed by the TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY.

There is a You Tube video of the construction of the pass at:
More at:
These little mountain goats were near Golden, BC.

It was so calm that I made Joe stop so I could take a pix of this little lake by the highway. The water was like a mirror.

There is a train tunnel beside the lake. There are many such tunnels.
Joe waits patently while I take pix.
We stopped for dinner at Eagle Pass Landing in Sicamous.
It was evening by the time we were back on the road and the sun was going behind the hills so no pix after this. But we did arrive safely in Peachland after a great drive through the mountains.

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