We have been enjoying clear blue skies as we start out each morning but as we get closer to Lloydminster and the Alberta border the smoke on the horizon grows significantly and by the time we arrive at Elk Island National Park just outside of Edmonton the sun is an orange orb in the sky and it is hot again. We have been mostly bug free for the last week or so but we have moved into wasp season. When we stopped at a rest stop, wasps swarmed over the van; it was almost impossible to get back into the van to leave. It was not a pretty sight.
We stopped in Fort Saskatchewan for an early breakfast with our friend Jill who is visiting Edmonton, then had a great phone call with an old friend Evelyn from many years ago and with Mitch who moved there a few years ago. After that it was a trip down memory lane to see the first two houses we lived in in Edmonton (and brought our girls home to from the hospital). We could not believe just how much Edmonton has grown in the intervening 30 years. Traffic was incredibly busy and the development on the outskirts of town was beyond what we ever thought would happen. We got away from the city after noon and still had a 4 hour drive in front of us as we hoped to make Jasper later that afternoon.
So we put to the test our theory that we would never have a problem finding a campsite in one of the many parks near Jasper because after all Alberta is smoked in and surely tourists would have fled Jasper National Park because you really can’t see the mountains! Wrong! Jasper was teeming with people and there were campers and RV’s of all sizes parked everywhere on the streets. I let Bill off near the Tourist information to see if there was anything available as Bowie and I drove around town (there was no place to park the van). To our horror every site that could be reserved was so I guess my theory for travel in the busiest month of the year wasn’t quite correct. As suggested by the harassed and harried tourist info person we started looking for the one site that might be available in one of the older campgrounds south on the Icefields parkway. So we filled up with gas (it could be a long drive tonight) and we headed south. Luckily we did find a spot in a little know site at Kirkelsein campground where the maximum length for an RV is 25 feet (as we watched a 40 foot bus try and squeeze into a small site). On a side note one of the craziest things we have witnessed is the National Parks are still allowing fires in their campgrounds and even provide free firewood to campers in spite of the extensive smoke everywhere in Western Canada! How this makes any sense is beyond us. And so another long day on the road and sadly given how smoky it is there was not much to see.