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Kootenay National Park

2010 September 10
by shana

Kootenay National Park, Canada

As Waterton diminished in my side view mirrors, I had every intention of driving to Fernie, British Columbia and stopping for lunch. Maybe I could find a delightful little cafe where I could sit down for a bite while tapping out some work on my laptop. Yes, that sounded lovely. But, it didn’t happen that way.

And, just as I had planned on stopping in Fernie, I had planned on stopping and camping somewhere before I reached the entrance to Kootenay National Park. I wanted to find out if I would be able to pull my camper through to Banff, and wanted to be able to spend most of the day in the park and not most of the day driving there.

I stopped at one RV park between Fernie and Kootenay, but they only rented by the year. I almost stopped at another, but ended up forging white-knuckled through a big rain storm. (Good trailer pulling training.) And then, before I knew it, I was at the town of Radium Hot Springs just outside the park. I was coming up on an intersection, and for some reason, I turned and drove toward the park. This wasn’t a conscious decision.

It was getting to be evening, and I didn’t know if I would even be able to find a camp site since it was a holiday weekend, but there I was pulling up to the park entrance kiosk.

She said there were a couple campgrounds, and she couldn’t guarantee but they probably still had sites available. And, I could drive my camper through. Ok, here I go… I guess. The roads in Kootenay were nothing like the roads through Glacier National Park in Montana. They were four lanes and nice wide shoulders. I felt more comfortable driving, but you could almost forget that you were in a national park too.

I pulled into the first campground I came to, and saw that there were plenty of camp spots available in the first loop. I stopped, used the bathroom, and then decided to tempt fate by driving deeper into the campground to see if maybe there was a better spot. I didn’t even know what might be “better” about a better spot, I just was still feeling the urge to keep moving, just as I had all day. I thought I was running out of luck, because many of the loops were full. I envisioned the first loop filling up and finding myself back on the highway headed for the next one. But, I just kept driving through the loops until I found an empty spot. Loop K, Spot 2. Phew.

I got settled into K2, filled out the registration, and then started a late dinner. I grilled the salmon I had picked up in Fernie with halved zucchini and slices of onion on a cedar plank. It was delicious. De-lish-ous. I was in camping dining bliss.

The only way this moment could have been more perfect, is if I had been able to share it. There are times when it is nice to go solo, to have peace and solitude, and then there are times where the good company of friends, family, or even strangers makes the experience even more extraordinary. This is one of those times.

Kootenay National Park, Canada
Just as I finished my dinner, I looked up and saw the mountains turning pink above the tree tops. I hastily put all of my dinner stuff away, grabbed my camera, my dog and set out for the trail we had briefly ventured on to stretch our legs before dinner. We walked out on the foot bridge and soaked it all in. The sunset. The beauty. The magnificence. The sensation that there are not even words for… just as there are views that photographs can not begin to capture.

Sunset in Kootenay National Park, Canada
It was amazing. I was almost brought to tears standing there taking it all in. And although my photographs do not do justice to the experience, I took a few to share what little glimpse I could.

The next morning, we ventured further down the same trail to Dog Lake. It was a nice little hike before we hit the road again.

Dog Lake, Kootenay National Park

I am not sure what compelled me to keep driving, to pull into the park, to look for a “better” camp spot, but I am glad I did. It was one of my favorite camp spots, my tastiest  dinner, and one of my favorite evenings so far.

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. Lisa permalink
    September 11, 2010

    I think this is one of my favorite posts yet… LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!

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