Monday morning dawned with rain as we set out northeast towards Jasper - a very long drive but worth it so we could spend 4 nights at the Jasper Park Lodge and really get a feel for this Canadian Rocky Mountain park.
We quickly got into the mountains with the road following the river valleys as we climbed in elevation.
We saw many wildlife on this trip. Our first sighting (not photographed) was of a black bear. Then we saw this grizzly with her cub. Later in the trip we saw elk, moose, deer, big horn sheep, bald eagles, herons, seals, the fins of orcas, loons, and lots of Canadian geese.
We learned the tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies was this giant Mount Robson.
We took lots of hikes including one to see this canyon carved by the Maligne River ...
which came from this famous Lake Maligne which we discovered was still frozen so there were no boat trips out to the Spirit Island which figured in a Bing Crosby movie.
We bathed in the hot springs pool which were fed by the extremely hot water gushing from these waters. As we floated we could look up to see mountain peaks covered with snow. What a contrast in temperatures.
We traveled by a tram gondola to the top of Whistler Mountain where the temps were below freezing and the snow drifted covering the trail to the tiptop so we took a pass on that since we weren't dressed for winter.
Here's the lodge where we enjoyed the fitness room every morning. Our room (below) was in a cabin that included this lovely fireplace that we put to use 3 of the 4 nights.
It was early spring in the mountains and there were a few wild flowers. This lichen on a tree caught my eye on one of our hikes.
Our favorite breakfast spot and we had one dinner there which included elk.
From Jasper we drove west across British Columbia and soon learned that the snow capped mountains were not just something in the Rocky Mountains.
We broke up our trip west by staying over night in Prince George where we had one of the best dinners of the trip at the White Goose Bistro.
Tim Horton's was always a good place to stop for coffee and the bathroom.
We spent the night in Prince Rupert on Saturday where we rose very early Sunday to catch the BC Ferry for the inland passage from there to Port Hardy on the northern tip of Vancouver Island, a 15 hour trip.
The ferry was huge and the number of passengers were out numbered by the crew. They said it was early in the season.
It was a cloudy wet trip with the sun showing itself infrequently. We did see seals cavorting as the waterfalls emptied into the channels and there was a sighting of orcas, at least their dorsal fins were visible as they sped by. Our seats were in the front row almost at the bow so we didn't miss seeing much.
We arrived late that Sunday night at our accommodations. The place will remain nameless because though we were to spend three nights there, one was sufficient to realize that it wasn't the best for what we wanted. Monday morning we passed this log truck as we headed south to Victoria and other accommodations at a Best Western in Sydney very near The Butchart Gardens.
I took tons of photos of the gardens on Tuesday. They were lovely!
That afternoon we visited Victoria, toured the province parliament building and met Queen Victoria, the only previous monarch to have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee.
Another ferry took us off Vancouver Island on Wednesday and over to Vancouver
where we enjoyed a visit to Chinatown, a Chinese lunch and purchases at the Chinese bakery. From there we drove back to Seattle to spend the night close to the airport and
Thursday, May 31 we were airborne east on our way home.
A most unforgettable trip which we will remember for many years to come.