Destinations: Calgary | Banff | Lake Louise | Icefield Parkway | Jasper | Northwest Territory | NW Alberta | Fort McMurray | Edmonton | Drumheller | Fort MacLeod | Buffalo Jump
After driving north on the parkway for a couple of hours (and almost 5 pm), we decided to try and find a motel room at Saskatchewan River Crossing. This area, at junction with Route 11, consisted of a service station, motel with a pub, cafeteria, dining room, and a gift shop. It was a good thing we stopped since we got the next to last room at the motel. As we were getting the bags from the car trunk, we started to talk with another couple. They had a large pick-up truck and said there was a massive mud slide across the road a few kilometers north and they were the last ones to get through. They actually drove over the mud slide and rocks, then the park rangers arrived to close the road.
While eating dinner at the "crossing" we heard the road north would be closed for 2-3 days. They needed heavy equipment to clear the slide. We were also told it was a 7 hour drive around the closed area. We were talking about heading east in the morning to Edmonton, then do the north west part of Alberta the following week. We did drive that evening to see the road closed only about 1 km north of our motel. A few RVs were already camping on the side of the road for the night.
Tour bus drivers were discussing having the passengers walk over the mud slide to another bus on the other side. ???? We never did find out exactly what they finally did. At one point about 5 or 6 buses were stopped at the "crossing" trying to head north.
This Crossing Motel had a spa with a hot tub, 2 sauna rooms and an exercise room - funny to see this in the middle of nowhere. We were just delighted to have a hot shower after the hiking we did earlier in the day.
When checking out of the motel, the road was open - only one lane with 15-20 minute delay. We drove north and immediately told to proceed - no lines - no waiting - no traffic. A bulldozer was busy cleaning the road of rocks/boulders and mud.
We made numerous photo stops along the way. At one stop I talked with a guy from Edmonton. He told me about the mudslide. He witnessed the pick-up truck going over the mud slide. He says the slide was about 5-10 feet deep and about 100 yards. He waited in his RV about 4 hours then decided to stay at this pull-out to camp for the night. It was a beautiful view of the valley and wonderful sounds of water.
One of the stops we made was Bridal Veil Falls - a waterfall on the side of a mountain. No one else stopped while we were there. The pull-out was not paved but a small sign had the name of the falls.
The next stop was the famous Columbia Icefield. There is a wonderful visitors' center that had a great view of Athabasca Glacier. The snocoach was leaving every few minutes to take visitors for a short drive on the glacier. Hikers could walk up to the edge of the glacier. Overall interesting. While at the visitors center, we spoke with a lady from CA - she saw a black bear the day before. He ran into the woods when the car approached. (We looked and looked but did not see any bears on our trip.)