May 2016 – We wanted the theme for our RV travels this spring to be “Snowcapped Mountains” and, if possible, “Cool Wild Animals.” So far we had seen a little of both in northern Utah, southeastern Idaho, the Bitterroot Valley and in Glacier National Park in Montana. But we knew some of the most impressive mountains and close-up wildlife sightings were probably to be found even further north, so we drove over the border into Canada.
Our first stop was in Fernie, British Columbia, a mountain town in the Canadian Rockies that is home to a popular ski resort.
We asked for snowcapped mountains and we got ’em!!
Even though we had rather threatening skies, the mountains framed every view beautifully.
The town of Fernie has a hip and youthful vibe. Lots of kids come here to take advantage of the outdoor sports, and they live on the cheap in shared apartments so they can spend their days on the ski slopes or on the mountain bike trails. We saw almost no gray hair around us as we walked the streets!
Up by the ski resort there were elegant Swiss style lodges.
Fernie is tucked into a bend in the Elk River, and a lovely path skirts the edge of town on the river banks.
We wanted to walk the whole path, but just a little ways into our walk it began to rain. The mountains began to fade away in the mist!
Fernie is a great town, but we had Canada’s national parks on our minds, so we pressed on into the mountains. It was early May, and a heat wave had just passed through the area, but our arrival was heralded with cold. We stopped in one visitors center and as we were told about various wonderful things to go see, the gal joked, “Well, we’ve already had summer and now we’re back to winter again.”
Fortunately, the sun came out and the snowcapped Rocky Mountains filled our view as we drove.
As we drove north we saw road signs for big horn sheep. We were hopeful for a sighting or two, but didn’t get lucky. “Hah, there aren’t any big horn sheep around here!” We joked with each other.
We stopped at an overlook at Columbia Lake which is the headwaters for the Columbia River that flows down into the US, between Oregon and Washington and out into the Pacific ocean.
In the town of Invermere we got a glimpse of Windermere Lake. This is probably wonderful in the summertime, but it was a bit forbidding when the skies clouded over and more rain fell.
Just before we reached the first park in the cluster of national parks that make up the heart of the Canadian Rockies, we saw another sign for big horn sheep, but this one had flashing lights on it!
There were cars pulled over ahead of us, so Mark pulled the rig over along wtih everyone else. Then I looked out my window and found myself staring right at a big horn sheep!
There were a few other sheep near him on our side of the road, but suddenly he marched out into the middle of the highway.
Then he stopped.
Crazy sheep. Why was he hanging around in the middle of the highway?!
Then we noticed that there were a few sheep on the far side of the road waiting to cross. He stood in the middle of the road while the other sheep began to cross the highway in front of him.
He was like a crossing guard for them! When they’d all passed him, he joined the last one and came across with it.
We looked back across the highway and there was one more sheep. This was a beautiful big ram with a huge pair of horns.
What a fantastic big horn sheep sighting.
Back in Arizona we’d been excited to see a pair of big horn sheep lying around sunning themselves at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. Seeing them here with their shaggy, shedding coats in the wild of the Rockies — or close to it on the highway — was a total thrill.
It turns out that wild animals are actually a lot more street smart and highway wise than you might think. When we got to Banff National Park, we discovered that a bunch of overpass bridges have been built for the animals so they can cross the Trans-Canada Highway that traverses the national park. And they use it!! (Who wouldn’t — it looks pretty nice up there with trees and bushes — and a view of the traffic from above!!).
More info about these area in the links below…
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More info about this area:
- Tips for RV travelers heading to Canada – Gas prices, border crossing, internet access, etc.
- Our route from Glacier National Park MT into the Canadian Rockies of BC
- Fernie, BC Tourism Website
Blog posts from our RV travels with similar themes:
- Big horn sheep and other beautiful animals of Arizona
- A fabulous Elk Herd sighting in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley
- Our RV travels in Canada
Other blog posts from our RV trip to Canada’s National Parks in the Rocky Mountains:
- Waterton Lakes Nat’l Park – Starry Skies, the Milky Way & Wildflowers 08/09/16
- Waterton Shoreline Cruise – A Classy Tour of Waterton-Glacier NP 08/05/16
- Waterton Lakes National Park – Rocky Mountain High! 07/28/16
- Kananaskis Country – Canadian Rockies Beauty Off the Beaten Path 07/23/16
- Canmore, Alberta – An Outdoor Lover’s Town in the Rocky Mountains 07/17/16
- Jasper National Park – Columbia Icefields & Athabasca Falls 07/12/16
- Hot Springs in the Canadian Rockies – Swimming in Giant Hot Tubs!! 07/10/16
- Banff, Alberta – A Grand Resort Town in the Canadian Rockies 07/03/16
- Yoho National Park – Emerald Lake & Natural Bridge – Aqua Magic! 06/26/16
- Moraine Lake – Crown Jewel of Banff National Park 06/19/16
- Icefields Parkway – True Blue Lakes, Avalanches & Grouse! 06/16/16
- Icefields Parkway – Canadian Rockies Scenic Drive – WOW! 06/14/16
- Lake Louise – RV Travels to the Heart of the Rockies in Banff 06/10/16
- Kootenay National Park Canada – Bears, Mountains & Rivers! 06/07/16
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