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.

ROAD TRIP. Washington to Jasper Canada

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.

Andrea's Bachelorette Party


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.

Athabasca Glacier

Jess is all the Way to the right & Megan’s in the middle

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.


Beginning the Road Trip

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!)

Mount Rainier State Park Washington 2Young, 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.

Mount Rainier State Park Washington 3

The cascade mountain range has been volcanically active for millions of years thanks to its closeness to the North American tectonic plate. The mountain range is relatively young in geographic terms, having formed about 500,000 years ago. Like Mount Saint Helen’s  and other cascade volcanoes, Mt. Rainier has the potential to erupt again, but with ample warning. — Mount Rainier Brochure

Mount Rainier State Park Washington 4If you go for a day trip there are plenty of places up here to have a picnic, so make sure to pack some food for the drive up.

Mount Rainier National Park Montana 30

Breathing in the fresh mountain air of Mount Rainier

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.

Mount Rainier State Park Washington 5This guy wanted to join in on the fun too. 

Mount Rainier State Park Washington 6 There’s some loops to hike up here and as we just made a short 10 minute circut we saw more avid hikers setting off on the trail.

Mount Rainier State Park Washington 7On the webpage linked above, there are options for camping.

Mount Rainier State Park Washington 8Instead of Be Aware of Bear, Be Bear Aware.

Mount Rainier State Park Washington 9Take a look at that world travel truck! Now that would be a way to take a world trip. I want one..

Mount Rainier State Park Washington 10 Mount Rainier State Park Washington 11“Why hello there, do you know which way to the exit?”  “No?” “Thought I’d ask anyway because it seems like you grew up here.”

Mount Rainier State Park Washington 12That mountain range. I’m always looking for my next mountain to summit. I feel like Kilimanjaro was just the beginning.

Mount Rainier State Park Washington 13Jess was over there trying to get a selfie, but I turned it around on her and took a photo of my own.

Mount Rainier State Park Washington 14 Mount Rainier State Park Washington 15The color of this lake is so beautiful next to the tree line. I mean seriously, this world has so much to offer.

Mount Rainier State Park Washington 16Just a quick photo with Mount Rainier. We must hurry up because although its hot down at sea level, it was pretty chilly up here and I was only wearing shorts and flip flops.

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.

Chasing Trains roadtrip to CanadaChasing trains on the highway, looking for the front.

Found the engine, chasing trainsFound it.
Welcome to IdahoWelcome to Idaho, a bit blurry but its hard to get stead photos at high speeds ya know.

Welcome to MontanaNot long after came Montana, we weren’t in Idaho very long.

Sunset on our way to Glamping in MontanaA couple hours later the sun set, looks like we would be getting to our tent in darkness.


Glamping at Under Canvas in MontanaGlacier 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.

Glamping at Under Canvas in Montana 2There were 4 beds in one tent! We used one to store all of our stuff for the night.

Glamping at Under Canvas in Montana 3 Glamping at Under Canvas in Montana 4I truly love Glamping!

Reading a book while glampingHanging out reading a book and glamping, how can you go wrong?


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.

Glacier National Park MontanaStopping at the Glacier Lodge down near the bottom we walked down to the dock fro a view of McDonald lake. BE-A-UTIFUL.

In 1895 there were no roads along Lake McDonald. Tourists arrived at this dock by wood-fired steamboat after getting off the train at Belton Depot and bumping along in a wagon to Apgar Landing. The steamboat F.I. Whitney, was the first boat to transport visitors and supplies on Lake McDonald. According to one passenger, “It was too hot below deck by the boiler, and if you road topside, sparks burned holes into your clothes.” It was an adventure in transportation just to reach the threshold of the mountains. In 1906 the Emeline was the first gas-powered commercial passenger boat on the lake.

Glacier National Park Montana 2 Glacier National Park Montana 3Such a beautiful lake in the early morning light.

Glacier National Park Montana 4Over 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.
Glacier National Park Montana 5Admiring the flowers as we walked back to the car to continue our journey upward.

Glacier National Park Montana 6One of the fancy cars you can hire out for a drive around the park.

Glacier National Park Montana 7 Glacier National Park Montana 8Climbing 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.

Glacier National Park Montana 9 Glacier National Park Montana 10“The mountains are calling and I must go.”
Glacier National Park Montana 11Ahhhh, nature.

Glacier National Park Montana 12Its just so beautiful.

Glacier National Park Montana 13Yeah she did. Jumped right into that pic.

Mountain Goats in Glacier National ParkWe had been searching for the iconic mountain goat the entire way up to the look-out, just to realize they were up there putting on a show for everyone anyway!

Glacier National Park Montana 14We’d reached our dead end. Those fires were really jamming us up, not to mention the destruction they have been doing in the national parks.

Mountain Goats in Glacier National Park 2Billy goat gruff.

Glacier National Park Montana 15Heading back down the way we came, it was time to get back on the road and continue North toward Canada.

Glacier National Park Montana 16


Crossing the boarder to CanadaBoarder patrol. With just a passport you will be on your way.

Ohh Canada!Wow, Canada. Wow.

Ohh Canada 1These colors mix so well together.

Icefields Parkway Canada 2 Consulting the Map CanadaNeeded to consult the map Jess brought with us to make sure we were on the right trek. We were about to enter the Icefields Parkway continuing our trek up into Alberta the final destination Jasper.

Icefields Parkway Canada 3


Winding 232 glorious kilometers through the heart of Jasper and Banff National Parks, the Icefields Parkway has been called one of the world’s most scenic drives. Around every corner, the route offers fresh wonders– from waterfalls, pristine lakes and broad sweeping valleys to ancient glaciers flowing down from the rugged mountains. –Icefields Parkway Brochure

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 beginning of Icefields Parkway 2Right after jumping onto the highway we came to our first stop, Lake Louise.

Lake Louise beginning of Icefields ParkwayLake 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.

Lake Louise beginning of Icefields Parkway 3We are surrounded by so much beauty out here!


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.

Athabasca Glacier Canada 2Walking up the road to the glacier itself.

Lake Louise beginning of Icefields Parkway 4We didn’t learn and are still wearing shorts! It was quite chilly out here. Remember a jacket, gloves, the works.

Lake Louise beginning of Icefields Parkway 5If the glacier continues to recede at its current rate, there will be very little left in one hundred years. A new forest will begin to grow where the ice is now; A large lake may even form.

Lake Louise beginning of Icefields Parkway 6Within 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.

Lake Louise beginning of Icefields Parkway 7Pulling some moves at the Glacier.

Lake Louise beginning of Icefields Parkway 8Yoga? Idk, because I don’t really know yoga.

Athabasca Glacier Canada 7Hey Ladies!

I'm Driving. ROAD TRIPMy turn to drive!


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.

Athabasca Falls 7Truly beautiful I don’t know if I can speak any higher of Nature in this area. Its the truth when they say the Icefields Parkway is one of the most scenic areas around. 

Athabasca Falls 8A 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.

Athabasca Falls Canada 2 Athabasca Falls CandaHanging out at Athabasca Glacier.

ELK! in CanadaOur first encounter of wildlife as we came into the town of Jasper. oooooo. ahhhhhhh.

ELK! in Canada 2Hey there Mrs. what are you up to?

ELK! in Canada 3Look how close some tourists get to the wildlife! Don’t worry, rangers keep a close watch and shoo the elk back to the woods when it looks like they are getting themselves into a dangerous situation.

Jasper CandaShortly 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.

Sunset driving from Jasper to Hinton CanadaEven the drive over there was breathtaking.

ELK! in Canada 4“Don’t turn away from me when I’m talking to you!”

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.