Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Yellowhead Hwy (Hwy 16): Jasper to Burns Lake

Mount Robson Park

I got up early on July 7 and packed up my campsite so I could do the tourist thing in Jasper.  I stopped at a local bakery to eat breakfast and picked out my lunch before I left.  Since many of the shops were not open yet I wander around town waiting for the camera shop to open.  I only had one polarizing filter for three lenses.  I brought a macro, 18-70mm Zoom (mid-range) and 70-300 mm Zoom Lenses with me on the trip.  I mainly used the mid-range and 70-300mm Zoom.  At each stop I needed to unscrew the polarizing filter and transfer it to the lens I had attached to the camera.  I spend a lot of time at each stop transferring things around and decided to make life easier by buying a second polarizing filter. 

I also needed to find a currency exchange since I did not run cross one in my travels.  After I exchange American dollars for Canadian dollars it was late enough for some shops to open.  I wanted to buy bear spray in an REI store in Montana but was not sure I could bring it over the border because it is made of mace and in Canada a can of mace is illegal.  So I stopped at Everest Outdoor Store and picked out bear spray. While talking to the clerk I found out you can bring bear spray across the border if it is labeled as bear spray and you declare it when crossing the border. 

Daisy in Mt. Robson Park Meadow
Jasper has a beautiful Visitor Center in the center of town.  The gardens surrounding it were in bloom and a pleasure to view.  I went to see what brochures were available for the Yellowhead Highway.  Any of the campgrounds near Jasper would make a great base to explore the area.  There are many trails that would make a fun day hike and I missed exploring Hwy 93A off Icefields Parkway but I needed to keep moving toward Alaska so I left Jasper around 10 AM traveling west on the Yellowhead Highway.

Moose Lake off Yellowhead Highway
Once I left Jasper Park I entered Mount Robson Provincial Park.  This park was incorporate into Canadian Rocky Mountains World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1990.  The park is named after Mount Robson which is the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies.  I stopped to take a picture of Moose Lake since the highway runs along the lake's northern edge.  I drove on until I came upon  Mount Robson Headquarters and Visitor Centre. There I spend my time wandering the meadow behind the centre and took many pictures trying to frame Mount Robson in the meadow.  You can view several mountains from the centre but the sky was hazy that day so I only took pictures of the park's namesake.  Soon after I got into my car and left the mountains behind me with the goal of getting as many miles behind me before the day's end.

Mt Robson from the Visitor Centre Meadow
Slim Creek Rest Area makes a nice place to have a picnic lunch.  The rest area is just east of Slim Creek Provincial Park.  I had fun photographing a family of Stellar Jays.  The young were old enough to be in adult plumage but the way they were begging, they reminded of teenagers. 

Stellar Jay
After lunch I drove to Prince George and stopped at the city's Visitor Centre.  They had a very nice centre and the two guys were very helpful on recommending places to stop.  One of them recommended Fort St. James National History Site; it was out on my way so I passed it by.  I filled my gas tank before hitting the highway again.  I called it a day when I reached Burns Lake.  I was under the mistaken impression that Burns Lake Provincial Park would have camping but the park is undeveloped so I stayed in the town's municipal campground.  I do not recommend staying there, the camping area was dirty and the outhouse was really bad.  The town did have a pool nearby and you could use the clean toilets but they closed before 8 PM.  There were some homeless looking guys and a drunk sitting around but they left the area after I had come back from dinner.  I was trying to decide whether I should get a motel room before I meet two other groups trying to decide if they too should stay the night.  We decide to stay and keep an eye out for each other.  I still felt uncomfortable enough to rearrange the car so I could sleep in passenger seat with the doors locked and the car's alarm on. 

I love the Canadian Wildlife Signs.  There so much better then the diamond warning sign in the US.
Stellar Jay
I did get some sleep that night but woke up at 5 AM.  I straighten the car and pulled out on the highway hoping to find a Visitor Centre to wash up and change my clothes.  That day, 7/8/2012, I would drive the Yellowhead Highway to Kitwanga and turn on to Stewart-Cassiar Highway (Hwy 37).  This is what I will be writting about next.

Stellar Jay

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