I was flying into Seattle Washington late made even later by an almost 3 hour delay inside of the airplane sitting at the runway. Yes, I’m not sure how many people this has happened to but I have now been on 3 flights with long delays after already boarding. The only perk we were afforded was instead of having to pay for TV, we got it for free.
Coming into Seattle Washington at almost midnight was not how I intended to start the evening but getting there the same day was all I could ask for, so after quickly collecting my luggage and meeting up with Jess we were on the road back to the hotel and where I would be meeting up with Megan after almost a year and a half!
The next morning we woke early, packed our bags, settled into the car, and our Road Trip began.
**WARNING. This post is full of MOUNTAINS, TREES, WILDERNESS, and a whole lot of Nature.
According to the Roadtrippers website, this Road Trip was 1,260 miles, 27 hours long, and $216 in gas. Luckily there were 3 of us and we had 3 days to drive up so we could split the driving, gas, etc. That made this trek very enjoyable.
Before I jump right into things, let me explain how we even dreamed this up.
A friend from High School, Andrea was getting married in Jasper Canda and she asked me to be the Maid of Honor.
Since I was coming in from Italy to visit home anyway, I thought it would be nice if I was able to see a few other friends along the way, heading up to the wedding. Jess jumped right onboard and its a safe bet that Megan would never let me come to America and not see her, haha.
Jess I knew from my second tour in Japan, we were both stationed in Japan together onboard the USS Germantown. She’s now stationed in Everett Washington. Megan and I have known each other since 2005. We’ve been best friends since we wound up living right next to each other in the dormitories at WVU, we were both forensic science majors, attached at the hip in everything we did at WVU (except she wasn’t in the Marching band. ha!)
This trip occurred at the beginning of August 2015. During peak summer months, one of the best times of the year to visit these destinations, even if you have to deal with the crazy tourists.
Now that you know how we came up with the idea, time to begin.
FIRST STOP MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK
First and foremost THANK-YOU so much Jess for mapping out our route. Although I travel often and plan most of my trips, Jess really out did me on this one. She came prepared with snacks (SO MANY SNACKS), atlas clippings, informational books on the state parks, and she even let us use her car! She had us covered, and it was awesome! Marked #1 on the road trip photo, we were headed about 2.5 hours South of Seattle to Mount Rainier National Park.
Park Fee: $15 per car.
With Active Duty Military I.D: Free (Ballin!)
Young, Wild, & Free is what I see in this photo. Only our first stop and we were already having a grand time. There’s Jess sitting on top of her car. After entering Mount Rainier National Park we drove all the way up to Sunrise (6,400 ft. above sea level) to see the mountain and do a small walk around. Sunrise is open from July to late September.
I couldn’t get enough of the fresh mountain air of Mount Rainier. This was the proper introduction to nature I’d been looking forward to.
That mountain range. I’m always looking for my next mountain to summit. I feel like Kilimanjaro was just the beginning.
After the photo shoot we hit the road again. We had quite a bit of a drive to make it to the #2 on the road map. We would be Glamping right outside of Glacier National Park in Montana and we were still in Washington, with Idaho in between. Let’s hit the road jack.
GLACIER UNDER CANVAS GLAMPING
Glacier Under Canvas was the perfect glamping spot for us, especially since it was only 7 minutes away from the entrance to Glacier National Park, where we would be driving in the morning.
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
The next morning we were up early, packing up shop and hitting the road. So many scenic things to see all at once. First up, Glacier National Park.
Fees: $25 per person, not per car. Some holiday’s constitute free entry, check the link.
Active Duty Military I.D: Free entry for that person
But we ended up driving early enough (before 8am) that they weren’t manning the booth and we just drove in, none of us paid that morning.
Over at the lodge some people were just awaking to come outside and snuggle under blankets on rocking chairs with their morning coffee. We figured it was best not to disturb them and just be on our way.
Admiring the flowers as we walked back to the car to continue our journey upward.
Climbing up into the mountains we were headed as far as we could go. If you have been following the news over the past few months, there have been some rampant wildfires blowing through this area. We wanted to climb the trail as far as we could get, where the fires hadn’t yet touched the mountians.
These colors mix so well together.
Fees: $9.80 per day per car and yes this includes just being in Jasper. Its part of the Icefields Parkway/national parks of the area.
Lake Louise is protected for all time in Banff National Park. For thousands of years, people have gazed at this scene with all. She’s an icon of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. She became a part of Canada’s first national park in 1902. Banff National Park is now part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks Wold Heritage Site.
Next stop, Athabasca Glacier. Just off the road, once you park you have to walk the loop road to the Glacier for a closer look. There were also bus rides out onto the ice but I think just walking up to the Glacier is enough.
Within the next 3 generations, the Athabasca Glacier and the water it provides to communities across North America may almost disappear. Strong scientific evidence points towards human activities as the primary climate change.
One of our last stops right outside of Jasper. We were almost to our destination! Turning off the main road about 30 minutes from town, we wanted to see the Athabasca waterfalls and it seems nothing around these parts is disappointing.
A different world survives in the canyon itself. Erosion carves narrow steps and cracks where tiny plants and huge trees manage to find a root-hold. Bathed by constant mist and shaded from sunlight, the canyon can be up to 10 degrees colder than where you are standing up above.
Shortly after getting back into the car, we reached our destination. Parking on a side street we marched right into the quaint and happy town that is Jasper Canada. Having dinner at one of the top rated trip advisor restaurants we headed back to the car. Did I forget to mention that Jasper had been fully booked for months.
We would be driving to Hinton, the next town over to spend the night before coming to stay in Jasper for the rest of the time.
This is where I’ll leave you for now, but I’ve got another post coming to explain the rest of the week in Jasper.
This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.