Many thanks to all of you who misinterpreted my last post and thought Topher proposed. NOPE!!! I will now think twice before making “big announcements”! 😜
No, our real announcement is a change in directions! On Sunday we drove into Alberta and had a bit of a rude awakening. We really hadn’t done much research on camping in Canada (its Canada, I had assumed it was alot like the US with national forests…) but it seems most of the public lands in Canada are provincial and national parks with no free camping. We stopped three places for gas and realized that our Discover cards (only cards void of 3% international transaction fees) only were accepted at Wal-Mart. After some tears and consideration, we decided to change course. We got some donuts and coffee from Tim Hortons and some poutine (Topher’s major goals for Canada!) and headed back over the border. On our way we drove through BC which was super beautiful! We saw a bald and a golden eagle!
We are now headed through Washington and down to Oregon and maybe Nor Cal. I’m really sad we’re missing out on Banff and Jasper, but the whole point of an adventure is to be adventurous! I know we’ll have an amazing time and am very excited to explore the Pacific Northwest and see some family (my mom included!!!)
We camped for a few nights on Lake Koocanusa in Montana. It was beautiful. We camped on a finger of land above the lake and got to hear little waves lapping at night. Kenzie and I went swimming in the freezing, totally turquoise water. It was relaxing just to stop and reorient!
We’re currently making our way across Northern Washington. In Topher’s words “this is a godforsaken land filled with cabins and loggers where a big town is 1000 people.” Its very beautiful but there is NOTHING up here!
On Friday we headed to Glacier National Park. Its absolutely stunning! If you get the chance, its a once in a lifetime experience. The forests on the west side are these thick temperal rainforests. Absolutely beautiful! Topher read that there are over 800 species of wildflowers in the park! It was raining on and off and the staggering peaks (though less than 10,000 ft in elevation, the peaks are so rocky and steep, no trees grow up there so they look a bit more impressive!) were shrouded in clouds. We drove the Going to the Sun Road, which is a 40 some mile mountain pass. It was amazing! Crazy steep, with waterfalls flowing from the tops of the peaks all the way to the forest floor. There were many waterfalls that the road crossed, so drains had to be installed in the road. We went through tunnels and over arches. Its insane to think how long ago some of that stuff was built! At the top we saw a mountain goat grazing away which was pretty cool!
The car had been overheating on and off for awhile. We had taken it to our mechanic before we left and he had brushed it off, charging us $800 for a steering boot instead. The heavy driving and mountain passes were making the overheating problem worse and it go to the point that unless we were going 60+ on a flat road, it was getting hot and we were having to pull over. Topher is my hero. We stopped at an O’Reilly in Kalispell, MT (which is actually still a nice modern town, albeit in the middle of nowhere) and Topher replaced the radiator in the parking lot with a screwdriver and a $10 socket set (meanwhile Kenzie and I discovered the joys of laundromats and huffed it a mile down the highway to a Wendy’s). So far its holding up! Very glad to have spent under $200 on it as opposed to $400 a shop would charge! My amazing guy is a “renaissance man” as he puts it!
We’re all a little tired, a little bug bit and a little dirty. But we’re in positive spirits and can’t wait to explore what’s down the road.
I’m writing from a really pretty campsite in Northern Montana. Its pretty incredible up here. The forests are tall and dense and the undergrowth is crazy! Big snowcapped peaks and beautiful mountain lakes and streams. Its reminds me more of the forests of the Pacific Northwest than of the Rockies. We are really close to Washington up here, so I guess its not that far off!
Yesterday we spent the day in Yellowstone. I loved showing Topher all the places I discovered with my dad last summer and exploring some new ones together! Mercifully, it was overcast and cool so we were able to leave Kenzie in the car and do some of the geyser walks. We drove through Hayden Park towards the end of the day, a beautiful valley covered in sage and rivers, and saw bison after bison which was really sweet! On our way out of the park, we saw a group of bison with two calves! One was very playful and kept headbutting his mom – heartmelting!
The terror I kept expecting to feel about this trip hit me today. Overwhelmed and scared and emotional. We’re on the trip of a lifetime, but its also really scary. We’re about to leave the US and have no idea what to expect. I’m hoping it’ll be all smooth sailing, but I know we’ll hit rough spots. I’m really glad I have Topher and Kenzie by my side.
Kenzie is loving life. She’s like a toddler even though she’s ten and a half. She wakes up full of energy and ready to go and then is asleep and snoring by 6 each night. I think she likes the trip so far. “So we live here now?” has been the confused and happy look on her face every time we stop.
Random learnings so far:
▪Dry ice is expensive, melts fast and makes your fruit fizzy.
▪Finding gyms with a free trial day pass is the key to a free shower.
▪Sleeping in the car is much cozier than the tent and prevents the irrational fear of bears invading camp from occuring.
So this is the first time ive ever done a blog and im not sure what to do. So first of all this is Topher. Just so we know who is penning this sparatic collection of thoughts.
Yesterday was the fourth of july. Independence day. We had come from veadawoo the previous day and had pitched camp outside of alpine wy. About an hour south of Yellowstone. There were an insane number of bugs when we woke up and we quickly abandoned ship in search of someplace less insect inclined. We found refuge at a day use area where we set up a camp hammock Mik had purchased between two trees. To say is was a relaxing day is an understatement. Napping in the shade of a tree, reading “The Night Circus”(a very excellent book so far) and listening to the sounds of a happy dog playing in the Grey river. To end an otherwise lovely freedom day we found a new camping spot of a tributary to the grey river. I think called the little grey. A much less bug filled night was had.
Today Tuesday the fifth we continued our treck northward. Heading through Jackson. A small ski town very much like aspen that i rather liked. And eventually into Grand Teton Natinal Park. The mountians were staggering. Like nothing we have in Colorado. And the meadows between peaks, things i had only seen in movies. We spent a leisurely day driving through the park. (Kenz isnt allowed any where in american national parks so no hiking to be had). Stopped for lunch and headed on out. We headed down a dirt road called Grass Lake road and found freaking awesome camping. Pit toilets bear proof trash cans and even bear boxes all fo-freeee. So thats where we are tonight camped under the teton mountians. Next to i think the snake river. With Yellowstone on tomorrow’s plate.
Ok this last paragraph is for all the wildlife I forgot to mention. In alpine on the 4th we saw a fawn a hummingbird and 2 pika and some really cool birds we have yet to identify. And today just a cute ground squirrel.
After a 23 hour day moving and cleaning our apartment (we literally pulled away from the curb at 430am!) and a few hours of sleep, we drove to Vedawoo, WY outside of Laramie and tested our sleep-in-the-car situation as it poured rain all night. Topher removed the back seats bwfore we left and built an insert for the hole with a hinge so we can fold it back and store things underneath. We’ve decided we probably brought way to much food as our bins are too heavy for one person to lift. Costco is evil. We moved the bins and cooler on the roof and laid out sleeping pads, a sheet and then a thin comforter and had a cozy little space in the back for the three of us. We’re headed north today. Enjoy the beautiful sunset from last night in a break from the rain!