Archie ‘on the rocks’
Dark clouds signalize the approach of a thunderstorm in ‘Yellowstone’ which makes it easier for us to leave this magnificent park. Taking the north entrance automatically leads us into Montana and the names says it all: mountain ranges as far as we can see indicate that we have arrived in the ‘Rocky Mountains’.
The lively town ‘Bozeman’ is almost an oasis amidst the impressive but sparsely populated scenery and we take advantage of it by eating out in a restaurant. We spend another night 150 kilometer south of the ‘Glacier National Park’ next to a river where also Lewis & Clark stayed the night about 200 years ago. The romantic beauty of this remote place cannot be beaten by any hotel room! On our way we traverse forests that burnt down a few years ago. Although it is sad to see the remains of the trees we later learn that a forest fire is often necessary for young and healthy trees to replace the old ones.
The ‘Glacier National Park’ welcomes us with sunshine which is mirrored in the crystal clear ‘McDonald’ lake. However, soon is becomes crystal clear to us that we are not the only ones who are longing to discover the beauty of the landscape. Thanks to our Land Rover “Archie” we are able to escape the crowd and hide in a very remote campground next to ‘Bowmen Lake’. Our neighbor swears to high heaven the next day that he could hear wolves howling during the night. While we are having breakfast a deer joins the breakfast table, as we report the Ranger about this incident he confirms our neighbor’s story: “When wolves move into an area the deer escape and often look for protection among human beings because they sense that wolves avoid the presence of humans at any cost. That’s good news! All the more we are taken aback as a small black bear passes by our campsite. No one has ever entered a car faster than I did that moment – but the bear does not even look at us and strolls away. We were lucky – a bear is not necessarily an amicable animal.
After all these encounters with the wilderness we return to civilization leave the ‘Glacier Park’ on the “going-to-the-sun-road”. The narrow road winds slowly over the snow-covered mountains, from time to time its edge drops away. Unfortunately there is a lot of traffic, motorbikes and buses are all over the place, and people jump out of their cars to shoot the perfect picture. That was actually not the kind of civilization we were looking for and thus we decide to follow the invitation of Pascal & Louise who invited us to the ‘Banff National Park’ in Canada.
Pascal & Louise are Luxembourg fellows who became aware of our journey by reading the newspaper ‘Luxemburger Wort’. They contacted us spontaneously by email – and here we are! “We wanted to emigrate to Canada for quite a while but we did not know which location it would finally be”, says Pascal. “While we were traveling this region with our RV we were surprised by the early winter and got stuck in the snow. We thus had to spent a few months in Banff and fell completely in love with it. When it turned out that the ‘Blue-Mountain-Lodge’ was looking for a new owner we did not hesitate and bought it.”
That is now three years ago. “In the beginning every day had 15 working hours and it was not easy, but in the meantime we are well established, even hired staff and are finally able to spend more time climbing several of the 3000-meter peaks and to snow-ski in wintertime.” People in Banff refer to this region as the ‘Canadian Alps’ – and the landscape reminds us indeed in the Swiss’ Alps, only tenfold as big. No one has to wait for ski-lift here, ever…
To climb the 3000-meter peaks we gladly entrust to our athletic friend Pascal as we remember clearly the muscle pain after our last hike on a 2000-meter peak. It is not easy but finally we say ‘fare-well’ to our new friends and head for the Pacific coast. As soon as we leave the ‘Canadian Alps’ the temperature starts to rise and as we reach the beautiful city Vancouver it is almost 40 degrees Celsius hot.
Vancouver, superbly located between the mountains and the sea is badly suffering from a heatwave – and we suffer as well. We thus decide to curb our city program to the absolute minimum and spend the rest of our time in some fabulous botanical gardens, parks and on the beach (greetings to Damien & Alissa!!!). Numerous construction sites remind the visitor that Vancouver is hosting the Olympic winter games in 2010. Unfortunately we cannot stay until then. Mexico is now in our sights and we hit the road south – towards eternal sunshine…