August 13-16, 2012

On Monday the 13th, we drove up to Magrath, Canada.  We stayed at the Covered Wagon RV Park.  All grassy with lots of shade trees….and yes we checked to make sure we would fit without scraping the roof line.  I would have stayed there a couple of days, but we had reservations in Lake Louise for Tuesday.
Magrath is where John’s Dad was born and raised.  Population 2,310; location – one hour east of Waterton Lakes National Park on Hwy 5; elevation – 3,199 ft; average temperature – 28 degrees in January, 78 degrees in July.  Nice little farming town.  John wandered through the cemetery, but could find no relatives by the name of Searle buried there.  Most of the countryside was acres and acres of wheat fields and huge silos.

Tuesday the 14th we headed for Lake Louise.  It took us about six hours and the scenery was spectacular.  Lots of glaciers, beautiful turquoise rivers and lakes.  We checked into the Lake Louise Campground and had a hard time finding a camp spot that would accommodate our long trailer.  The problem was that by the time we pulled in, the electrical outlet was too far away for the cord we have.  We could pull forward, but the door to the trailer would be in the trees and we would not be able to use the awning.  We tried three different spots before we found one that would work. 

The hookups in all the campsites was for 30 amp electricity.   Our trailer takes 50 amps to run the two air conditioners, microwave, hair dryer, electrical outlets and TV’s.  At 30 amps we are limited to two electrical items at any time.  Turning three electrical items on and we blow a fuse.  They do have bathrooms with showers in various locations for the public to use.   However, we hold a lot of water and so we are considered “self-contained” and therefore didn’t need to use the public amenities.  They had dump stations close to the camp ground to use whenever the fresh water, gray (sinks and showers) and black (toilet) storage tanks were full — or empty (water). 
On Wednesday we toured the Lake Louise and Moraine Lake area.
Lake Louise:


Why does a fresh water lake turn turquoise ?  Rock flour, or glacial flour, consists of clay-sized particles of rock, generated by glacial erosion or by artificial grinding to a similar size. Because the material is very small, it is suspended in river water making the water appear cloudy. If the river flows into a glacial lake, the lake may appear turquoise in color as a result. Examples of this are Lake Louise and Peyto Lake in Canada and Gjende lake in Norway.

Natural rock flour is typically formed during glacial migration, where the glacier grinds against rock beneath it, but is also produced by freeze thaw, where the act of water freezing and expanding in cracks helps break up rock formations. Although clay-sized, its particles are not clay minerals but typically ground up quartz and feldspar. Rock flour is carried out from the system via meltwater streams, where the particles travel in suspension. Rock flour particles can travel great distances either suspended in water or by the wind, in the latter case forming deposits called loess.

Fairmont Chateau on the shore of Lake Louise
Scenery on the way to Moraine Lake:

This is the most interesting peak. I took a picture of this sign to show you the elevation. It looks like the ground caved in on one side and jutted up into the air.

Moraine Lake:

Huge log jamb at this end of the lake.  People were walking over the logs and climbing the rocks on the other side

Bow Falls — Banff Hotel in the background

Banff, Canada

 Eating lunch on the second floor of Tony Roma’s Restaurant in Banff, Canada

We took a ride on the Banff Gondola
This was an 8-minute ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain.  Elevation at the top was 7,486 feet.

Banff Hotel

This squirrel is the only wildlife we saw the whole time we were in Canada!!

Banff hot springs

Scenery on the way to Kelowna, Canada – our next stop

Holiday Park Resort, Kelowna, Canada

Kelowna is in Okanagan Valley aka Lake Country.  I took a picture of the area map so you could see that this whole area is surrounded by fresh-water recreational sites.  There are homes and boat docks along all the shores.  What a recreational paradise!

Ken – this picture is for you.  I couldn’t resist.  Remember when Dad had this type air conditioner in his car.  I do.  Dad drove to California with the three of us in the back seat and it dripped on me the whole time.

On our way to Spokane, WA, we passed the Grand Coulee Dam.  What a spectacular sight !  It’s huge

Grand Coulee is the largest dam in the Columbia River Basin and one of the largest in the world. Everything about the dam is large: it is 550 feet tall, measured from its foundation in solid granite, or approximately 350 feet from the downstream river surface to the top of the dam. It is 5,223 feet long, or 57 feet short of a mile.

Grand Coulee Dam is the largest concrete structure ever built. Several other dams in the world are larger, but they include earthen berms.  Grand Coulee is 450-500 feet thick at its base and 30 feet thick at the top, and it contains 11,975,521 cubic yards of concrete, three times as much as Hoover Dam.

Grand Coulee is located at river mile 596.6 in central Washington about 90 miles northwest of Spokane near the place where an ice floe dammed the river during the last Ice Age. The ice forced the river to rise from its historic channel and flow to the south, where it carved a giant canyon — the Grand Coulee. Eventually the ice retreated, and the river returned to its old channel

Grand Coulee impounds a reservoir, Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, named for the president who authorized construction of the dam, which began in 1933.  Lake Roosevelt backs up the river almost to the Canadian border, a distance of 151 miles.

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