We left Lake Louise reluctantly and started the scenic drive north toward Jasper. The light was beautiful in the morning so we made a short detour to Moraine Lake. I was surprised at how different the land around the lake was from when I was here in 2014. I guess the constant movement of the glaciers and stuff they leave behind does alter things but it was interesting to see it first hand. When I was there a couple of years ago, you could quite easily walk to the side of the lake to get photos and now it is a huge pile of boulders and fallen trees.
The title of this post should actually read Ice and Fire because that's what the next two days were about. First, we drove up the Icefields Parkway and the Columbia Icefield. Our first glaciers of the trip. On the way north we saw some incredible scenery. Then we started west on Canadian Hwy 16 and, although we were north of the active wildfires in British Columbia, we definitely saw and smelled the effects. There were times when the air was hazy and we could smell wood smoke but what was most striking was seeing the military presence and signs of evacuee relocation in the cities we passed through.
We had a couple of wildlife sightings (elk and moose) on our way to our overnight stop in Prince George where we stayed at a Walmart. The next morning we continued west to the Cassiar Highway (Hwy 37) where we were going to start heading north.
At the junction of Highways 16 and 37 was a first nations town called Kitwanga. I had heard about a collection of totem poles here so we drove into the small community to find them. Jeff is always interested in seeing the Catholic church in these small towns so, when we saw one, we stopped to check it out. There was a group of local Indians outside so Jeff asked if we could go into the church. The elder said he would love to let us in but the pastor was out of town and he didn't leave a key. He explained that the pastor was in Ontario competing in the North American Indigenous Games - not sure what his sport is but it was really interesting to discover that such a thing exists. We did see the totems and it was a really worthwhile stop.
We spent the night in Mezidian Provincial Park at the junction of Hwy 37 and Hwy 37A which would lead us into Alaska in the morning! This foray into the extreme southern part of Alaska was a very anticipated stop because, if the salmon are running, you can see bears fishing in the creek.