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Alberta Trip report part 2

John Cummings

TUG Lifetime Member
Jun 6, 2005
Reaction score
Murrieta, California
At long last here is the next installment of our adventures in Alberta last month.

August 14, 2005.

We awoke to a partially cloudy day that would turn to heavy rains later on. We ate breakfast at the Georgetown Inn and then headed off for Jasper. There was nothing special about the morning. A lot of beautiful mountains with snow. We stopped at the restaurant at Saskatchewan River Crossing for lunch. We ate the lunch buffet that was mediocre at best and at $15.50 per person was pretty expensive for lunch. Very limited selection. Next stop was at the Columbia Ice Fields. We decided to skip the excursion and instead parked at the bottom of the ice field and hiked up to them. The ice fields where much more extensive when I saw them back in the 1950's. A little farther north. we came across a herd of deer grazing in a meadow by the road. The mountains have a lot more snow and glaciers than down around Banff. As we got a little farther north it started to rain very hard, in fact it poured and was very cold. Unfortunately we were not able to stop at Sunwapta falls nor at the Jasper Gondola because of the weather. You could not see the mountains.

We arrived in Jasper around 4:00 pm and checked into the Park Place Inn. The Park Place Inn is a unique small boutique type hotel with just 12 units that are all different. It is family owned and very nice. It is located right on the main street of downtown Jasper. The staff, who are mostly the owners, are very friendly and helpful. I strongly recommend the Park Place Inn. We wanted to drive to Maligne Lake but were leery of the weather. The hotel receptionist checked her computer and said that it was not supposed to rain that evening. Knowing that computers don't lie, we set off for Maligne Lake. It was a nice drive. We stopped at Maligne Canyon on the way back and hiked down to the canyon. I had just finished taking some pictures when we discovered that the receptionist's computer was not very honest as it started to pour rain as we were standing on the bridge over the canyon. We got soaked as we hustled back to the car. It rained all the way back to Jasper. We stopped to eat dinner at the L&W Restaurant in Jasper. The staff at the Park Place Inn recommended it. It turns out that the same family owns it. However it was pretty good and we were able to enjoy our first decent meal since arriving in Alberta. We then went back to the hotel.

August 15, 2005

We awoke to guess what, more rain. We ate breakfast and set out on our way back south. We did stop at the Athabasca Falls which were very nice. I got some good pictures of the falls and my wife freezing to death. After that it started to pour rain again with low clouds so we couldn't see the mountains. As such, we had to skip the Sunwapta falls again. Just south of the ice fields we came across a black mother bear and her 2 cubs grazing by the side of the road. I was able to get a picture of them. Several people had stopped. That is how you tell if there is any wildlife. There will be a bunch of cars stopped along the road. We then arrived at Saskatchewan River crossing where we turned east and took the David Thomson highway to Rocky Mountain House. It was pouring rain again and very cold. We passed a very large lake but we couldn't see the mountains because of the clouds. Pretty soon the mountains disappeared and the land became pretty flat. It sort of reminded me of Kansas. We arrived at Rocky Mountain House and checked into the Holiday Inn Express which was not our choice but was all that was available when I booked our reservations. This was our first encounter with unfriendly people and poor service. The Holiday Inn Express is right next to a strip mall with a Dairy Queen. My wife and I went to the Dairy Queen and got a couple of cones. It was a standard Dairy Queen though the prices are much higher than we expected. After that we went out to dinner. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the restaurant. The meal was pretty decent so we lucked out 2 days in a row now.

August 16, 2005

This morning we ate the continental breakfast at the hotel and then set off for Drumheller. It was still raining. Nothing much to report about the trip as the country side has been pretty well the same since leaving the mountains. We arrived in Drumheller around noon and checked into the Travelodge, which again was not our choice but was all that was available. We then drove through town to the other side which is all new. We ate lunch at the Boston Pizza which is a Canadian chain of sports bar type restaurants that was started in Edmonton. The lunch was just OK but again quite expensive. One thing we observed is that many restaurants charge extra for items that we consider to be included. Senior discounts are also very rare. In any event, after lunch we drove back to the Travelodge and my wife did some laundry. It was still raining. Just before 6:00 pm, Pat Mulgrew, a fellow Tugger, arrived to pick us up for a tour. Pat is an owner of Wild West Jurassic Tours. Rather than me describe it, I have included the link to the web site below:


The rain had eased up. We took the Wild West Tour that evening. It was very interesting. The high point for me was the visit to the Buffalo ranch where we rode on a hay wagon right out among the Buffaloes. The tour was very good and Pat is a very gracious host.

August 17, 2005

This morning we awoke to guess what, more rain. We ate breakfast and waited for Pat to arrive to take us on the Badlands Tour. However, Pat and us decided it would be best to cancel it as it was raining very hard. It was very unfortunate because I was looking forward to seeing the Hoodoos. We then set off for Calgary in the rain.

This is the end of part 2. The last part which will be about our week in Calgary comes next.


TUG Member
Jun 7, 2005
Reaction score
Indio, CA
John, thanks for the trip report. We are planning a similar trip for next August or September.

Sorry it rained so much while you were there. It disappointed me (as I'm sure it did you) and all I was doing was reading your report! I'll send my email; I'd like to see your pictures. :(