Sack and Sponge on the Road: Week 1

Days: 1-7
Kilometres Travelled: 1,785
States Visited: 2
Total Kilometres: 1,785

The end of July marked the beginning of our epic road trip, which would take us on a grand tour of the United States via the Canadian Rockies. We set off from Vancouver after a day of mechanical preparations, and consequently ended up driving into the dusk of late evening (seriously, the sun sets so late!) to find a campsite. After several terrifying forestry road drives and the complete exhaustion of our patience, we finally found a patch of dirt near Helmer Lake that did the job. The next day we lifted our road tripping game with a visit to the Noble Pig in Kamloops (for pulled pork and our first growler), ice creams and a lake swim in Clearwater, hundreds of kilometres of heat and wide sweeping roads, and a prime camping spot on a river bank with a couple of friendly locals. That night, after several beers, we watched the moon rise and discovered the rabbit is upside down - and there really is a face in the moon!

Finally we made it to Jasper National Park, which was not as impressive as we expected and overrun with tourists (once again, thanks to our impeccable timing, we had arrived on a long weekend). We continued driving south on the Icefields Parkway and discovered waterfall-mania -  even the unnamed ones on the side of the road were incredible, and Sean the Mountain Goat had a great time exploring. That afternoon we saw the Columbia Icefield and nearly froze to death while exploring the glacier and yet, for some unknown reason, we decided to camp nearby in the RV carpark... The drive to Banff the next day made up for any lacklustre moments, with the most incredible scenery and looming mountains. We didn't quite make it to Lake Louise (thanks to a traffic jam) and only stopped briefly in Banff, leaving time to visit Canmore and explore the Nordic Centre and MTB scene. 

Our route took us through Kananaskis Country next, which rewarded us with our first sighting of a bear! Already thrilled, we also scored a great campsite and realised at the visitors' centre we had also seen an elk and mountain sheep on our travels. As if that wasn't enough, we visited the Kananaskis Lakes and found our own private beach to relax, before hitting the road and driving through some of the most Australian-looking terrain we have seen in a while. We also got to indulge in our first shower all week. It was a blissful time. 

With another day or so up our sleeves, we enjoyed some mountain biking near Crowsnest Pass before heading towards the idyllic lakeside village of Waterton and meeting some very charismatic bison along the way. Simultaneously reminiscent of Europe and Coral Bay, we soaked in the views of the lake that straddled the border between Canada and USA. We were almost there...