NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC LIVE
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC LIVE
Shortly after Calgary we find ourselves in the middle of the mountains. After the long drive through the prairie this view is simply breathtaking. As Swiss, we are used to high mountains. But these here seem to be bigger and wilder than the Alps at home. There are glaciers, crystal-clear lakes in all sorts of colors and rushing waterfalls.
This beauty has also a small downside: the two national parks Banff and Jasper as well as the Icefields Parkway which connects them are very touristy. Busloads full of Asian tourists and heaps of rental camper are storming this area at the start of the season. In addition to this, the camping-addicted Canadians are only too happy to leave their cities on the weekends to spend time in the wilderness. But the nature here is justifying its reputation. Whenever we leave the famous sights and just a few steps off the beaten track we have the feeling of being in the middle of a National Geographic’s documentary! We hike to many small mountain lakes and Stefan as a photographer falls completely for the reflections in the few windless moments. Again and again he finds water surfaces and even if he has to lie down in the dirt to get a photo that doesn’t stop him.
But also between our hikes there is a lot to see along the highway: we often have to turn on the warning lights and stop abruptly because of black bears or white mountain goats eating dandelions right beside the roads. We even spot a brown bear which is fortunately a lot less shy than the moose and isn’t disturbed by our presence at all.
In the national parks, we comply strictly to the bush camp ban and stay in one of the official campgrounds. They offer nothing but a compost loo and a cold water tap but with our off-road home-on-wheels, every evening when we switch off the lights we have the cozy feeling to be «at home», no matter where we are.
In Jasper, our first Canada highlight comes to an end. It is a small town that gave the national park its name. We restock our supplies, report back to civilization after days without internet and do profane things like cutting hair and laundry – yes, the grim reality of everyday life also catches up with us sometimes … ?
The next stop on our journey is Edmonton. One of the few Toyota specialists in Canada can be found there. This much we can say: the guys in the workshop not only change the oil, but also rinse our engine with a magic medium so that our smoke problem seems to be finally gone. The Toyota Landcruiser’s are quite exotic and rare here in Canada and just as we are in the workshop a special delivery arrives: a Japanese fire-fighting vehicle based on a Toyota Landcruiser. Of course we have to take a souvenir picture of this awesome get-together of our Danish and this Japanese firetruck. We leave the civilization as satisfied customers and continue our way north to the Yukon.