A relaxing wake up with the singing birds and the sun already up in the sky – here sunrise and sunset are really far away from each other, mostly in these days.
Today schedule is mostly driving, a lot of driving and car hours.
We get up, pack evrything really quickly – we have a 20 day camping experience of last summer, travelling around between Spain and Portugal, and we have quite some records of packing and unpacking our base camp – and here we are, ready to get in the care again.
But our first stop is totally not far away, just outside the park. We did not stop here when we arrived the day before yesterday because we were tired, but it is not time to go and see them: bisons are waiting for us!!!
We head to the Bison Paddock Loop Road, a loop just at the boundary of Waterton Lakes National Park in which it is possible to drive and watch, from a nice and safe distance, these huge furry animals.
And actually here they are, just minutes after we are on top of a hill watching bisons rolling up on the ground, so beautiful. But dangerous too, better stay at a safe distance at any time.
We get again in the car. There is a lot of route to go today, almost 700 kilometers to get to Radium Hot Springs, a town where there is a hot spring, from which the town actually takes its name. It is right at the beginning of the Kootenay National Park, where we will spend our next few days before going into the Banff National Park.
We don’t have planned stop, not for now still, and we just decide to drive and enjoy the landscapes, stopping where we will eventually find something interesting.
And we quicky find an interesting place: its name is Frank, we were told about it by the family we are hosted by, a show with a sad story behind.
Frank, April 29th 1903
It is 4.10 A.M., a freight train pulled out of the mine and was slowly making its way towards the townsite when the crew heard a deafening rumble behind them
The engineer instinctively set the throttle to full speed ahead and sped his train to safety across the bridge over the Crowsnest River.
He still does not know it, but he has made it to one of the biggest slides ever documented in Canada. That tragic morning, from the top of the Turtle Mountain, around 82 million tons of rock broken off and cover almost all the valley in less then 2 minutes, travelling at the incredible extimated speed of 112 km/h.
Citizens of Cochrane, more then 200 km east, told they were able to hear the rumble, something as a big explosion taking place.
The slide buried part of the town of Frank, all the buildings of the mine and the rail, which had been reopened in the record time of just three weeks.
Today, Frank s famous as Frank Slide, the huge slide certainly caused by the limestone compactness and from a really wet winter, but also the mine should have contributed to that. The city had been then repositioned in a more secure place, just near the slide, and then definetly abandoned in 1917 from the miners, due to the closure of the mine.
It had later become a touristic place under a heritage program and it is now one of the many Provncial Historic Sites of Alberta. It still raise deep emotions to pass there and watch what nature is capable of, the gigantic piles-up of rocks all over the place, in every direction, around the road.
We cannot stop in Frank, it would take so much time, time we don’t have since we have so much to drive to arrive at our final stop, and surely we cannot stop in the middle of the road.
We stop some kilometers after, along the Crowsnest Lake, for just a short stop and to take some photos. And while we are there, a typical american truck arrives to show off with the lake as a background.
A quick snack and we hit the road again, we still have a lot of hours from our final destination and we decide better to try not to stop so much.
We let us just a brief stop every one or two hours, some steps out of the car, a photo of a lake, one to the red train which slowly goes on and on producing an extremely loud but nice noise, always sourrounded by the endless peaks.
We don’t stop in particular places, there is only the road and us: we drive along the road n.3 and then the n.95 direction north, the east access to the parks.
Once we get the route 95, the landscape changes, mountains get higher and we begin to see the snow on top of the peaks.
Our destination gets closer, little by little. The air gets cooler and turn get moltiplied.
Finally, after so many kilometers, we see the sign we were expecting for: Radium Hot Springs 5 km. Just the last hill s between us and our goal, but a last not expected problem is forcing us to stop one more time.
Some ten big horn sheep decided to take the side of the hghway as their perfect spot to graze, so they just continue to cross the road stopping all the cars, all of them really respectful, fearful of the possible headbumps on their fragile cars.
We pull over in a stop place and the herd comes closer, grazing just near the door of our car. At once, we think we would be head bumped, when one of the big horn sheep begin to back off and bent its head down, probably annoyed by our noise.
We leave them alone and really slowly, lining up behind the horned ones, we finally get closer to the hot springs. With our great disappointment, it just just a big classic swimming pool with a trampoline and another one with hot water up to 40 degrees, water coming from the underground source.
Probably for some sanitary reason, the water is filled with chlorine and the usual bed smell of sulphurous hot spring is gone. Indeed, we just enjoy an hald an hour there, in the hot water, realxing and a nice shower – after two days it is a big pleasure finally! – and then we go to the camping, regenerated and ready to pitch our tent right here, in between these trees!
It is time to fill up our bellies now, so we fire the barbecue and begin to cook our steaks – already half cooked after the whole day in the car – and we have a side with carrots and corn.
Right while we are beginning to roast our first marshmellow, a redish light warn us it is sunset time. We run fast just two turn down the hill along the road, to be on the terrace over Radium town, and easily we enjoy the incredible show.
There is nothing more to add to this day, once we are back to our tent, we finish our dinner with the now unavoidable dessert, marshmellows, we clean the whole camp and goodnight!
This article is available : Italian