Canada, oh, Canada. Arriving at the border around 10 A.M. we were greeted by Bambi wandering through the lot. We waited for our turns like good little boys and girls and were ushered through single file.
Border crossing from the U.S. to Canada can go a few different ways. Every person that crosses has a bit of varied experience. Especially those of us with questionable driving histories. Travis had been convinced for months that they would turn me away at the gate. I never lost the positivity that I was, in fact, going to explore Canada on my motorcycle. Turns out I was correct.
Three short questions and I was rolling my Indian into British Columbia. Travis was behind me in line so I pulled over to wait for him just within earshot of the guard shack. In all of his subtlety, he wheels up and yells through his helmet, “I can’t f###ing belive it!”
Shaking my head and giggling I gave him “the look” and said, “maybe you could be just a bit louder for everyone to hear you.” By his reaction, you or anyone listening would have thought we just smuggled an entire cartel across the border. Ah boys, whatever will we do with them. After a second Travis calmed down and we rolled on into the great wide open.
We had both been rather caught up in the days adventures and had skipped breakfast. It was getting to be close to lunchtime before we came upon anything resembling civilization. Luckily the first place we arrived at was just opening their doors for the day.
Roughly 5 minutes after parking we had all of our gear unzipped, unsnapped, and unbuckled. We grabbed our Canadian map and headed inside for some much-needed food and coffee. It was a tad on the chilly side and we had been riding for a few hours already.
I had converted my Indians digital dash to kilometers and liters but neither of us had a clue on currency conversion. The restaurant took American dollars but only on par and the waiter had no idea on the conversion either. Time for the Google machine to get to work. We fumbled our way through the transaction and were out the door. Full bellies and a well-studied map along with half a plan. Let’s ride!
A Soak And A Sunset…Life Is Good
Our first night we stayed in Radium Hot Springs at a wonderful mountain top campground. The sunset was splendid and the hot springs were even better. Earlier in the day we had done some camp shopping and gathered a set of dishes along with some foods. There was not a thing we could have needed out there. By the way, did you know that bookstores in British Columbia do not sell reading glasses? Odd.
While still in the states we had noticed smoke from the Colorado, California, and Oregon wildfires. This was nothing compared to the 600+ fires burning in B.C. Wow. We made our way through the Kootenay National Forest on HWY 93 and were literally in a fog the entire way. The scenery I’m certain is out of this world however we did not get to enjoy much of it.
Somewhere between Radium and Banff, we found a few pullouts and attractions that were open. We witnessed the firefighters dropping water bombs from helicopters and refilling in the river. And, we made our way down the Painted Pots trail. This is A natural phenomenon where the ground turns bright orange and water fills the craters.
Next stop, Lake Louise. This is one of the many world-famous attractions in this area. Stunning aqua colored water backdropped by massive mountains. The crowd was just what you may expect at such a place and we were happy to be on two wheels when it came to parking. The smoke hindered our view but it was still a sight worth seeing. Too bad tourists insist on littering the grounds with garbage and toilet paper. Some people have no respect for Mother Nature.
Eventually, we happened upon a little burg called Field. There was a small gas station, a bar, and a liquor store in town among the small number of houses. We decided this would be a nice area to set up camp for the night. We rode out of “town” a bit and turned off on a road marked Takakkaw Falls, the first two campgrounds were full for the night so we rode on up this crazy kinked curved road and were suddenly greeted by a gigantic waterfall.
Never did find the 3rd campground but decided we would return to explore the falls the next day. As we traveled back to town we stopped to ask about other local campgrounds and the park ranger informed us there was a primitive campground with openings about 20 minutes back the other direction. Away we went, setting up for the night in a gravel lot with pit toilets and absolutely nothing else.
Guess We Will Rough It…
Camp was set and it was time for dinner and a water refill. Instead of heading back to Field we hopped on the old beamer and rode into Golden. What a beautiful trip along the river and through the hills. We found a bar and grill for dinner and drinks then strolled the boardwalk over the covered bridge in town. The local 7/11 was open and we filled up on water and a few breakfast items.
As we rolled back up out of town I spotted a road running down into a valley under a gigantic bridge and I wanted a picture. So, I convinced Travis to drive me down there, and, of course, we were greeted by a not so happy construction site worker informing us this was a work zone and we needed to be more courteous and slow down. Ooops! But, I got my photos anyway and we went back to the main road to continue back to camp. I noticed a sign for a waterfall about a mile from our camp road and thought we should probably go check that out the next day.
Rolling into camp we found we had new neighbors for the night and, as luck would have it, they were motorcyclists on a canoeing journey from the UK. Needless to say, between motorcycles and their large selection of whiskeys Travis made new friends. We sat up sharing stories for a few hours and then turned in for the night.
A Dozen Eggs And A Pot Of Coffee Later…
Morning arrived with a chilly wet smokey feel and we fumbled our way through making coffee and eggs. After breakfast, we filled the Yetis with coffee and headed out on the Indian to find Wapta falls and let camp dry out a bit before packing up. There was a long gravel road leading up to a parking lot and a tiny foot trail heading off into the woods. It was super damp and cold, I opted to leave on my gloves and riding jacket for the walk. The forest was thick and green and smelled fantastic. It was about a 40-minute hike to the falls and well worth the walk. There, in the middle of nowhere, was a miniature version of Niagara falls gushing over the edge of the world in front of us! WOW!
Returning to camp we found our neighbors gone and our things much drier than when we left. After packing up we headed back towards Field to explore Takakkaw falls. Along the way, both of us spotted Emerald Lake Rd. As we sat at Truffles for lunch before continuing to the falls we decided that a trip up Emerald Lake Rd. might be in order and we should probably secure a campsite for the night before getting much further into our adventures.
Our lunch was amazing, after finishing we headed to the campground where we had stopped for directions the night before. We rented a site and set up the tent then headed out on the beamer to explore for the day. As we pulled out of camp around 1 P.M. the sign had changed to “No Vacancy,” talk about timing!
Emerald Lake Rd. turned out to be a magnificent find. It not only led to Emerald lake but also Hamilton falls and the natural bridge. Walking back to the bike after checking out the lake I noticed a sign for Hamilton falls, it said .6 KM so off we went into the woods. Roughly twenty minutes later there we stood at the base of a lovely cascade surrounded by lush forest and spectacular rock formations. Next up was a stop at the natural bridge which proved every bit worth the while.
Our day was slipping away from us and it was time to head up to our original destination, Takakkaw Falls. A short ride and a half mile hike and we found ourselves beneath 800 feet of rushing water being sprayed from yards away.
On the way back down to camp there was a sign for spiral tunnels. Not having any idea what this was we pulled over to check things out just as a train sounded up above on the hillside and then began disappearing into the mountain. Spiral tunnels are a way for trains to make a turn inside of the mountain. What a crazy cool thing to see!
Camp had showers calling our names and we had raided the local gas station for some camp cooking dinner options. My shower was cold as ice but hey, clean is clean. Sitting at the picnic table cooking up some pasta for dinner Travis grabbed the bottle of wine and began arguing with the cork trying to open it. This is when I received a “face-shot”….not in that way, get your mind out of the gutter. But, I
did, in fact, have a face and jacket full of red wine. We are still laughing about that one.