August 27, 2015

This was a day of hardcore driving…sort of.

After a short walk and some tropical oatmeal, you know to mix things up, we hit the road. We actually got going a little later than I had wanted to. Taking our time seems to be a recurring theme but it IS the a major part of the trip.

Starting mileage.

We had a couple of quick stops but Jack’s hike in the mountains the day before had taken its toll on him and he was a bit slower than normal.  So whenever I stopped the car, I would get them out for easy walks to help the old guy stretch his muscles.

I also stopped at a couple of farmers stands and picked up some nice bread and cheese and more cheese and jerky and some more coffee. At least I stayed away from the sweets this time. Mainly because I was still working on the fudge (almost all gone by this point) and some cookies I had made before we left that I was planning to bring to my grandparents.  I considered it quality control…to make sure they were still up to my standards.

I was in awe when I finally started seeing full on Rockies. The mountains we had been driving through did not have the same impact. These mountains were magnificent. These were the mountains I had seen on TV and in magazines.  There were several places to pull off the road and I took advantage of many of them; for Jack of course.  In truth, if I had stopped at every scenic overlook or river or lake we would still be in the Rockies.

We ended up stopping at one of the campgrounds in Yoho National Park between Glacier National Park and Banff National Park. The first campground we stopped at was nice and in a protected sunny spot, but it was almost crammed full with trailers.  Just not my thing.

The next campground we found was quite a drive up some very steep and sharp switchbacks that snaked up a mountain.  I loved it before I even saw it.  For a moment I was disappointed when we arrived at the parking lot and it was full of cars until I realized that most of them were parked at the trailhead for some extensive hiking trails.  The actual campground had quite a few vacant sites.  This was another cart in campground and I can tell you that maneuvering a wheelbarrow full of gear and three leashed dogs is quite an experience.

The site that I ended up picking was out of character for me.  Usually when I have options, I like to go as far from main pathways and other campers as I can.  This site was one of the first ones that you came to and was right beside the path.  It was also as far as you could get from the huts that housed the toilets and sink.  I figured that the huts would be the busiest places and the sounds of movement in the dark would likely set my little noise makers off and the sites further away were not as nice.  Besides, I picked a site that was almost directly across from a huge waterfall spilling down the side of  a mountain.  It was true wilderness that we had finally found.  For the first time, I felt as tiny as we truly are.

Setting up camp had gotten almost mechanical by this point.  We walked around the grounds, then had a quick dinner before crawling into the tent.  They had all established their own little spots in the tent and they quickly curled up on their blankets; after a few good night kisses of course.

The sound of the water pouring down the mountain was so loud it almost drowned out the sound of three snoring dogs.