Lake Louise Campground, this morning: we woke to the whispering patter of snow falling onto Hanna’s roof. The already-snowy landscape took on another level of quiet as the campground’s few tire tracks and foot prints were filled in by the night’s snowfall. We turned on the heater and lay in bed until the van heated up. It was -5C last night but we’re pretty cosy under our two duvets. It’s not quite the beach holiday we dream of but the winter beauty makes it worth it. For now.
After breakfast we did our pack-down. We’ve got pretty quick at it now: remove our homemade ‘window duvets’ (insulated silver screens) from the cab windows; start the engine to warm it up before driving; turn the gas off and switch the fridge over to battery power: fill the fresh water tank; empty the cassette (I’m a bit squeamish about this, but I’m trying to toughen up). All done and ready to go in under 30 minutes.
We headed off to speak to a super helpful Lake Louise information centre employee, after which we abandoned our plan of driving down the 93S to Radium Hot Springs – it was likely to be too icey. Instead we decided to start heading down from the mountains on Highway 1. Highway 1 is the first road to see the snow ploughs and so seemed the safer option for us snow-shy English softies. We’ve both been nervous about driving in Canadian winter conditions, just because we haven’t done much snow and ice driving, and definitely not in a 5 tonne van.
As it was, Highway 1 had areas of compacted snow anyway so we had to overcome our fears. We drove VERY slowly! When we saw our first long line of artic lorries and cars driving very cautiously at 15mph I felt less like a wimp for my scaredy cat driving and more like we were right to take the conditions very seriously. It was stunningly beautiful though, with everything in black and white: black glacial streams and fir forests in a white landscape shrouded in white mist. Gorgeous.
After 3 hours of this we got to Revelstoke, where the snow turned to rain and we were suddenly in Autumn again. It’s a mere 2C this evening and it feels warm after the minus temperatures we’ve been experiencing. After another of driving, in the dark, we have now arrived at Enderby’s winter campground. We’re about to settle down and watch Star Wars 🙂 Tomorrow we’re off to see Kim in Kelowna.