Welcome to summer!

            June 21 – The first day of summer in Glacier National Park.  We woke up to a light mist in the air and up in the peaks it looked like snow.  We packed up the campsite and started on our way out of the park.  As was the case the day before we had to drive the Going to the Sun road through Logan Pass (elev. 8680 feet).  On our way we saw a bear cross the road right in front of us.  He didn’t stop for a picture.  As we neared the pass the light mist turned to sleet and then to snow.  Snow, on the first day of summer!  We stopped for pictures and then continued on our way north to the Canadian border.

            At the border we stopped at the gate and were asked the usual questions – any guns, pepper spray, alcohol, etc.?  We were given a yellow slip of paper and told to pull into slot #1 in a covered area.  The car next to us was completely unpacked and two officers were going through everything.  This didn’t look like it was going to be easy (not that we had anything to hide).  We were told to enter the building and go to the second floor.  Once there we turned in the yellow paper and were told to have a seat.  After a few minutes later an inspector came out and took Dave away to an office to re-ask all the questions the first inspector asked and some more like “Have you ever had to defend yourself in court? Have you ever been convicted of a felony? Do you have any DUI’s?”  Then came the money questions – “Do you have enough money to sustain yourself while in Canada?  How much money are you carrying?  Do you have any credit cards?  Any debit cards?”  The inspector then finished by taking Dave’s driver’s license and saying “I had another question, but I forgot it.”  Dave was returned to the lobby and Stacie got dragged in and was asked the same questions.  Once Stacie was returned the inspector told us to wait and she’d get back to us.  Fifteen minutes later the inspector returned our driver’s licenses, told Dave he had two overdue library books, and asked us to go back downstairs and into the glass office.  We complied and were met at that desk by the same officer who originally questioned us in the truck.  She looked at us and asked if we were done, but before we could answer she turned over the yellow paper and stamped it “admitted”.  We were told to enjoy our stay.  As we got in the truck we noticed that the 2 guys from the car next to us were handcuffed and several officers were debating how much the bag of marijuana they had found weighed.

            We sped away from the border and headed towards Calgary, where we turned west towards Banff.  As we entered the park we had to stop and pay an admission charge at the cutest little booths.  We wound our way through the park, surviving a wrong turn (the Canadians have the oddest definition of straight) and stopped at the Columbia Icefield Centre because we had missed the turn for our campground (turns out a snowplow had hit the sign in a storm a few days earlier).  As we got out of the truck for directions we found out that it was very cold out!  We went inside and looked around.  The exhibits were closed, but we did find a map telling us where the campground was.  We also stopped by the front desk of the hotel that was in the Icefield Centre to ask about a room since it was frosty out, but at $150 a night we decided to break out the extra blankets!  We got to the campground and picked out a nice site by a waterfall that ran through the campground.  As Stacie was doing dishes after dinner a few snowflakes fell.

                        June 22 – We didn’t freeze to death that night – Dave’s brothers had given us both some excellent sleeping bags and we were actually quite warm.  However, when we got out of the tent we got a surprise – those few snowflakes from the night before brought their friends and there was a half inch of snow on everything! (on the second day of summer)  We had oatmeal for breakfast and then dusted off the tent and canopy and packed up.   We stopped by the Icefield Centre again and spent some time looking at the exhibits.  Our next stop was the Athabasca glacier, conveniently located less than a mile away (about a hundred years ago the glacier was at the Icefield Centre, but it has been melting steadily).  We walked out onto it, and took some pictures.  As we pulled back onto the main road there was a “sheep ahead” sign – and they weren’t kidding.  There was a group of 5 hanging out on the cliff next to the road.  We stopped for pictures (see wildlife) and while we were there they came off the cliff and walked down the road like they owned it (and we all know that Clio owns everything!)  Our next stop was Sunwapta Falls, a neat little spot where a massive river of melt water has to squeeze through a narrow pass in the rocks.  We drove on and about 10 miles later saw a few cars pulled over with people gawking.  We joined the crowd and got to see an elk across the river.  About 15 miles later there was another pack of cars pulled over and people were running with cameras.  We stopped again and were treated to a coyote hunting some cute furry creature.  It was not more than 50 feet from the road!  It was so consumed by the hunt that it didn’t even care about the crowd of people watching.  In the end the cute little furry creature got to live another day and the coyote move on.  About 20 miles later Dave wanted to pull over and pretend that we saw a snipe to see how many other people would stop and look.  Stacie didn’t like that idea.  About an hour later we exited Jasper park and headed west through Prince William and to a provincial park near Fraser Lake, BC.