The Duffy Lake Road was fine, no construction line-ups, no snow, spectacular views, and even a rainbow.
I stopped to look at Seton Lake near the end of the Duffy Lake Road; this lake connects to Anderson Lake at its far western end, and D'Arcy is at the south end of Anderson.
On my first day on the road I got as far as Valemount on Highway 5, just before the Yellowhead Highway.
Just before Valemount I stopped for gas and the attendant there eyeballed the stickers on my windshield. One is my Nova Scotia safety sticker, the other is my Toronto parking sticker.
He recognized Toronto City Hall on the parking sticker and asked if I worked for the City of Toronto.
I said, No but I used to live there.
He said that he used to live in Ontario too, in Kingston. He liked Toronto he said, he felt safe there.
He said he'd walked the streets of Toronto at night---he rhymed off a few---and he never felt unsafe there. Vancouver, he shook his head, is a different story. Downtown Eastside...
I agreed with him.
He said, You know, Toronto is multicultural, but Vancouver is,
...is just mean. The people are just mean.
Hmmm, haven't heard that one before, I wondered what his experience was. It's a beautiful city set in a fabulous landscape, but some parts of that city are very hard.
He wished me a good trip.
The next day I drove through Robson Provincial Park and Jasper National Park on the Yellowhead.
The boundary between the two parks is also the border between British Columbia and Alberta.
I think Jasper is way more interesting than Banff National Park just south of it, but not nearly as famous. I saw lots more wildlife in Jasper Park than I did on my trip through Banff on the way to Vancouver in August. But that may have had something to do with all the road construction going on then.
I saw mostly elk and mountain goats, hanging out close to the road. In Jasper Park, the valley between the mountains is relatively broad so you can get wonderful views of the mountains without craning your neck upward. There are broad swaths of grass along the highway and I think that attracts the elk and goats in the fall, they appeared to be fattening up for the winter. On one occasion the cars slowed to almost a halt, passing by a couple of nonchalant mountain goats on the shoulder. They seem unafraid of vehicles, or of the people that emerge from them with cameras in hand. And they are huge, easily as big as large deer, almost as big as the elk. And fat.
I stopped in the town of Jasper just to see it, and also to deposit a cheque that Sam gave me in exchange for cash to hold him over till the next time he got near a bank machine.
The next town on the highway after Jasper Park was Hinton. Passing through Hinton brought back memories. It is the gateway to the Rockies on the Yellowhead, it is also the CN train station where the Mounties used to come on board westward headed passenger trains to remove the drunks. For all I know they still do, but it's been a long time since I travelled on that train.
In 1969 I headed west on the train with my boyfriend, for the grand price of $50 for a one-way ticket from Toronto to Vancouver. That got you a seat in coach class for the 3-4 day trip. They were bench seats, if you were lucky you snagged two facing benches so you could sleep more or less lying down. Everyone smoked and many drank. The air was pretty gross by the time you got to Vancouver.
The drinkers got their come-uppance in Hinton, the worst of the lot being removed by the aforementioned Mounties. I am not sure why they did that in Hinton, maybe it's OK to be drunk in the north woods and across the prairies, but not in the mountains. Or maybe it took that long for them to become obnoxious enough for the train people to be fed up with them.
And that is pretty much all I know about Hinton.
In a rest stop somewhere after that an old dog was wandering around. There were a lot of vehicles there, but after a few minutes most of the vehicles were gone and the old dog was still there. An older fellow in a car gave the dog scraps and asked me if it was my dog. I said No, and we looked at each other and the one other truck still at the rest stop. The fellow in that truck didn't own the dog either. The truck driver tried to read the dog's collar, but the dog growled at him. The old man phoned somebody to report the stray dog.
Aside from growling at the truck driver, the dog seemed friendly. If I wasn't planning to spend the night at a friend's place I would seriously have considered picking him up. He let me look at his collar but there was no tag. I hope whoever the old man called came to get the dog.